Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Havoc: OFFICIAL PSYCHO PARODY (2010)

There is nothing worse than film class theorizing and I endured my fair share of it while at college.  The idea that film directors could fill their works with allusions and motifs would often lead kids on wild rides of speculation.  99% of the time their hypothesis revolved around sex.  Murderer uses a knife? That’s sex. Eyeball sliced with a razor?  That’s sex. Main character writes with a pen? That’s sex. True story: I heard the greatest pulled-out-of-my-ass conjecture after a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO (1960).  Naturally, it was about sex.  There is no doubt Hitchcock infused his film with perversion, but this particular student was looking in every celluloid nook and cranny for double meaning.  So it was truly a shock to me when they delivered this gem: “The main character is named Norman Bates.  He is the master of the house.  Master…Bates…MASTURBATES!”  No, just no.  And while they may have been way off base with that one (or a relative of Gus Van Sant), I’m sure that student will be delighted to know that their analysis finally fits a PSYCHO film with the inevitable XXX parody.

PSYCHO XXX opens with some decidedly PSYCHO looking credits backed by some decidedly non-Bernard Herrmann sounding music (more on that in a bit).  The film begins in black and white but quickly shifts to color as Marion Crane (Sara Sloane) and her lover Sam (Michael Vegas) are lying around in a hotel room.  Amazingly, the filmmakers don’t, uh, insert a sex scene here in their scenario.  Odd.  Anyway, Marion goes to her job and is soon excusing herself with a bagful of cash.  This drives the boss irate when he finds out. Ha, just kidding.  We just get a random threesome as the boss and his client get it on with another secretary (Katie Jordan).  Marion makes her way down the road with her stolen loot and decides to stop for the night at the Bates Motel.  The owner is a quirky guy named Norman (Ryan McClane) and we know he is an odd bird right off the bat as Marion spots him sporting a pair of women’s heels.

Regardless of Norman’s apparel, she decides to check in. After having a short dream of her boss spanking her for her transgression, Marion takes Norman up on his offer for some dinner.  Bad move as she overhears Norman and his mother arguing about crotch-less panties.  Once in Norman’s company, she remarks how she is impressed by his taxidermy skills.  He points out his prize is Jezebel, the old maid (literally) he has stuffed sitting in the corner.  Somehow knowing that Norman stuffs things gets Marion turned on and we get sex scene #2.  Post-coitus, Marion goes to her room and gets into – you guessed it – the shower.  It is here we get a recreation of one of cinema’s most famous kills and, uh, it sucks.  Seriously, the filmmakers really drop the ball here.

Meanwhile, a detective (Lee Stone) shows up to investigate Marion’s disappearance.  He quizzes Norman and notes he is wearing women’s panties.  He opts to spend the night at a hotel down the road.  It is here the private dick reveals he is anything but that as he gets it on with a girl (Kagney Linn Karter) in his room.  He’s never heard from again (yes, they refused to parody his famous death scene).  Naturally, this is where Sam and Marion’s sister Lila (Breanne Benson) make their journey to the infamous motel.  They don’t get far with Norman so they opt to visit the local Sheriff (Mark Wood), who gives them the back story on why Norman is so bent.  In flashback, we find out that Norman’s mother (Tabitha Stevens) was a domineering type who scolding him by saying, “Norman, you don’t have any fashion sense.”  The horror!  After the investigating duo leaves, the Sheriff gets it on with his wife (Francesca Le) while he wears high heels.  When Sam and Lila get back to motel, they head up to the family house to spy on Norman and discover he is in his parlor having a tea party with his stuffed mother and Marion (both played by the actors posing motionless)!  Such a shock to the system can only mean one thing – Sam and Lila head back to their room and have sex!  The film then ends with footage of mother from the past telling Norman something like life is fashion.  The end.  Seriously.

Master…Bates…MASTURBATES!  Oh sorry, I don’t know what came over me.  As you probably have guessed from my write up so far, this PSCYHO XXX parody is a dud.  Director Gary Orona previously got on our “nice” list with his spirited FRIDAY THE 13th XXX and HALLOWEEN XXX parodies, so it pains me to put him on the “naughty” (and not in a good way) list.  It is doubly painful because it is obvious he and his producer/wife Tabitha Stevens made great pains to be faithful to the material (in fact, the DVD offers a bonus B&W version of the film for purists).  A good cast is hired and everyone seemed committed to their roles.  The filmmakers keep it in a period setting and attempt to be faithful to the characters; somewhere during the middle though the film goes completely off the rails.  Hmmm, I wonder what point that could be.  Could it be their interpretation of the iconic shower scene?  Any parody of PSYCHO – normal or X-rated – is going to live and die on how the shower scene is done.  It is literally cinema’s most famous murder. Orona apes Hitchcock’s famous style a bit, but goofs it up more than one should.  First, it appears Norman is attacking her with a big black dildo.  We can’t tell because we’re never given a clear shot of it (yes, they avoid copying the famous “knife to belly” shot).  Even worse is the music.  How do you do this scene and not try to copy the “ree, ree, ree” violin screeches?  The music employed here sounds more like an '80s Richard Band score.  The only thing sadder than a poorly done PSYCHO shower scene imitation is someone complaining about the merits of one in a XXX parody like me.

Even worse is their commitment to the parody angle.  There are the seeds of good ideas (like everyone noticing Norman’s cross dressing), but they never seem to go far enough. The script only had one funny line (Norman saying to dead mother, “Mother, I’m going to have to disagree. Cher is sexy.”).  I get the feeling Orona and company were thinking, “Jeez, this is hard to parody” and just threw their arms up.  It shows as they pretty much just slap sex scenes with the famous characters on the screen.  Nowhere is this more apparent then the ending.  I say ending, but I should say the film really doesn’t have one.  You know that big confrontation where they find out Norman has been dressing up as his mother?  Well, I guess the PSYCHO DVD that Orona was using for his source material froze up because that is nowhere to be found here.  There is no final confrontation.  The film just ends after Lila and Sam have sex. Perhaps they were hoping for a PSYCHO II XXX parody, but three years later it hasn’t arrived and Orona has seemingly left the hardcore world.  It is a shame as few filmmakers in this genre opted to go – ahem – balls out when it comes to the porn parody like Orona previous did, so maybe he just got burned out?  Either way, the PSYCHO parody is kind of like Norman in the original Hitchcock film in that it never goes all the way.  In closing, the only real positive thing I can take away from PSYCHO XXX is that it is better than the Gus van Sant PSYCHO remake.  Also, Master…Bates…MASTURBATES!

Moments of Clarity:

6 Reactions:

  1. Well, this hasn't gotten me excited for Orona's spoof of The Silence of the Lambs.

    Best horror porn parodies I've seen would probably be Evil Head, The Texas Vibrator Massacre, and Bonesaw (a gay one that opens with the killer slitting a woman's throat with the peeled-off lid of a can of cat food; awesome).

    ReplyDelete
  2. My question is: how can something be an "official" XXX parody? Are major studios seriously signing off on OFFICIAL porno parodies of their product? Did the Hitchcock estate OK it? BONESAW is indeed a lot of fun, probably because its director Jett Blakk, who is a friend of mine, is a huuuuuge horror nut.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well this is all an interesting read. It amazes me at how ridiculous these so-called serious reviews of adult movies are. We're expected to produce million dollar results on a $25,000. budget. Really? You're taking these things way too seriously. I challenge anyone to produce this production value with about $10,000. in budget (I've removed the cost of the performers). I mean seriously. Consider yourself challenged.

    Bla bla bla. Lighten up a little.

    And by the way there is a full length black and white version as swell and it's actually very cool.

    Oh and one more thing... the Silence of the Lambs Parody worked out nicely. And I'm sure with the $20,000. I had on that one it's REALLY close to the original movie. Jesus... what a bunch of idiots.

    Good Thoughts,

    Gary Orona

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well this is all an interesting read. It amazes me at how ridiculous these so-called serious reviews of adult movies are. We're expected to produce million dollar results on a $25,000. budget. Really? You're taking these things way too seriously. I challenge anyone to produce this production value with about $10,000. in budget (I've removed the cost of the performers). I mean seriously. Consider yourself challenged.

    Bla bla bla. Lighten up a little.

    And by the way there is a full length black and white version as swell and it's actually very cool.

    Oh and one more thing... the Silence of the Lambs Parody worked out nicely. And I'm sure with the $20,000. I had on that one it's REALLY close to the original movie. Jesus... what a bunch of idiots.

    Good Thoughts,

    Gary Orona

    ReplyDelete
  5. Damn, Gary, don't get too mad at me now. If you notice, I gave great reviews to your FRIDAY THE 13th and HALLOWEEN parodies. And I mentioned a lot of positives about this film. I just found this one a little bit lacking compared to your earlier work. I don't expect million dollar results, but something with a bit more emphasis on the parody wouldn't hurt. I'll have to check out the SILENCE one, even if I am an idiot.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, wonder if that was the real Gary Orona, and how he came to find this review (and if he even read all of it).

    Nice to see he's still around, at least.

    ReplyDelete

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