Tuesday, April 30, 2002

David Lynch's "Psycho"

The following is my response to David Lynch's Mulholland Drive -- which struck me as Psycho edited with gardening shears. Then I wondered what Lynch would do if he actually directed Psycho ...

OPEN, NORMAN BATES in an insane asylum. He’s listening to doctors talk about him. The sound is distorted so we don’t understand what they’re saying.

NORMAN: Why. I wouldn’t even hurt a fly.

ZOOM in on fly on his face. Keep zooming to impossible, microscopic closeness.
Watch fly crawling around for ten minutes.


Ice machine. Static shot.

Audio: Crashing noise. Ice falling down inside. Audio continues (OS) over --

Montage: Stack of money. Blood going down drain. MARIAN screams. MARTIN BALSAM climbs up stairs. Wrecker pulls NORMAN's car out of swamp.
NORMAN’s MOM in rocking chair, a grinning skeleton illuminated by a swinging light bulb. MARIAN screams. NORMAN, on his knees, cleaning and cleaning. Silence.

Sound, ice crashing down. Impossibly loud.


MARIAN leaves BATES motel, walking backwards - film footage in reverse. Her entire journey repeats, backwards, from her arrival at Bates motel to the time she leaves her office with the money she embezzles.

Extreme close up of ice falling backwards, up into the ice machine mechanism, in slow motion of the tune of freaky-deaky industrial synth track.


NORMAN in office, watches MARIAN through peephole. We watch him for twenty minutes. Hold on the same static camera angle. The scene goes on far too long. Andy Warhol would lose patience. Finally, the camera tracks left. Slowly. Keeps tracking.

Zoom up on stuffed MOOSE HEAD.

Zoom in to MOOSE’s nostril.

Keep zooming down long, dark, endless corridor of MOOSE’s nostril.

Weird industrial noises. Get louder and louder.

Pull out into corridor of BATES motel.

Camera tracks aimlessly through motel corridors.

NORMAN’s POV. His mother is screaming at him. NORMAN, being a psycho, doesn’t realized she’s a stuffed dummy in a rocking chair. Neither do we. We have no clue what’s going on.

NORMAN'S MOM: How dare you bring that slut in here! How dare you! I demand respect, Norman! R-e-s-p-e-c-t!

The room burns to brightness in the fierce light of heaven. We see a caricature of a 1960s GIRL GROUP -- sluttier than the real thing, drawing on that coarse, whorish, gum-chewing fetish imprinted on DAVID LUNCH’s mind at the age of 13. One is a dwarf.

They start doing the jerk and singing. Backwards masking effect. I.e.: singers sing phonetic transcription of a backwards song to a backwards music track, then the film is shown in reverse.


Another montage. Stack of money.

Blood going down drain. A commercial for Old Dutch cleaner.

MARIAN screams.

BATES house. MAMMA BATES' voice.

MAMA BATES: (O.S.) Norman! Norman!

MARTIN BALSAM climbs up stairs.

Knife stabbing in shower.

MARIAN screams.

A MOOSE sitting on a couch.

Another shot of the wrecker pulling MARTIN BALSAM’s car out of swamp.

Motel hallway.

Footage of two lane blacktop. Night.

NORMAN looking through hole in the wall.

Endless corridors.

We move to room 99. Enter.


The MOOSE FAMILY is watching TV. The program they're watching is --

MARIAN’s COUSIN and her BOYFRIEND looking for MARIAN. The footage has been edited badly and it’s out of order. The sound is terrible. There are Cantonese subtitles. And a laugh track.

We watch the badly edited Whodunit segment for 35 minutes, almost forgetting that it’s the show on the TV set the MOOSE FAMILY is watching. We're thinking, perhaps, what we're seeing really happening. But there are commercials for taxidermy, unbreakable shower curtain rings, cleaning supplies. and plastic sheeting, MARIAN's insurance company and other crap that doesn’t make sense. Perhaps it’s all in NORMAN’s mind. Perhaps it’s in DAVID LYNCH’s mind.

ANNOUNCER:(almost unintelligible) Will they solve the mystery? Tune in next week.

OLD DUTCH cleanser commercial.

The OLD DUTCH CLEANSER LADY comes to life. It’s NORMAN’S MAMA. She starts shaking her rolling pin.

MAMA: Chase the dirt, Norman! Chase the dirt!

Pull out. Of TV screen. Weird industrial noises.

We’re back in the motel room.

We see the MOOSE family again.

One MOOSE irons a shirt.

We track up to the wall to the mounted head of a squirrel. ROCKY the FLYING SQUIRREL. He laughs.

ROCKY: And now here's something we hope you'll really like!

Camera goes out the door.

The number now says 666.

Laugh on laugh track.

More endless footage of hallway.

Stack of money.

Insurance forms.

MAMA: Norman!

Blood goes down drain.

MARIAN screams.

MARTIN BALSAM climbs up stairs.

Knife stabbing.

MARIAN screams.

MAMA: (backwards) Namron!

ROCKY THE STUFFED SQUIRREL: Ekil yllaer ll'ouy epoh ew gnihtemos s'ereh won dna!

A MOOSE sitting on a couch.

Neon sign. Flickering.

Norman’s record player.

Money blowing in wind.

MAMA: Norman!

NORMAN, dressed as the OLD DUTCH CLEANSER lady. Cleaning and cleaning and cleaning.

MAMA: Norman!

The GIRL GROUP, dancing backwards.

SINGER: Stop stepping on my foot, bitch!

MARTIN BALSAM walks up stairs.

Shot of wrecker pulling MARTIN BALSAM’s car out of swamp.

Shot of motel hallways.

Footage of two lane blacktop. Night.

NORMAN looking through hole in the wall.

Pull back, we go through another hole.

NORMAN is looking through that.

Pull back.

Another hole, another NORMAN.

Oooh. Clever. This goes on for awhile.

Camera moves away from the last NORMAN in the series.

Long tracking shot of stuffed animal heads in NORMAN’s office.

Pull out of motel office.

15 minute static shot of flickering neon sign announcing BATES motel. VACANCY . The NO next to VACANCY flickers to life.

Two lane blacktop.

Endless corridors.

We move into a dark corridor.

Loud industrial noises.

We pull out of the Moose’s nostril.

We see Norman inside it, a tiny figure, two centimeters high. A tiny little human with the head of a fly.

NORMAN: Help me! Help me!

The ice machine rattles.

Ice crashes down.

We zoom in. Go inside the ice machine. Impossibly scaled detail of ice machine mechanism. We see the little crescents of ice pushing out. Pushing out.

We hear a loud CRASH!

NORMAN wakes up in bed. The stock is now color.

NORMAN BATES is now played by VINCE VAUGHN. He sees himself in the mirror.

NORMAN screams.

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