Gus Van Sant's 1998 remake of Psycho was an interesting experiment that failed, despite being a reverent, shot-for-shot remake. The reason was simple: It's impossible for us to be that shocked, surprised and horrified a second time. Not just because we know what's coming, but because we can't forget what we know and imagine what moviegoing was like before 'Psycho' changed the rules. We live in the world 'Psycho' made, and we can't go back.
I'm not a big fan of remakes. Occasionally you'll get a decent remake, but most times you just can't beat the original ... unless the original sucked pretty bad. Of course, the reason so many remakes get done is because the studio (oftentimes) already owns the rights and hope they can capitalize on a film that had done well previously. Some movies just can't be remade, though I'm sure people have thought about it and some will try. Like Citizen Kane and Casablanca. You just can't remake those. And Psycho, you can't remake that either, right?
But they did, and I'll admit I went and saw it, though now I wonder why. I disagree with the assessment in that article that says the reason the remake bombed was because it's impossible for us to be shocked again. I think we can be shocked again. Just as long as it's done right. But a shot-for-shot remake? What's the point? The idea behind remaking movies is remaking them. Doing something different. Trying to improve upon. Otherwise if you're just going to copy exactly what was done before, but with new actors and make it in color ... that's just a waste of time. And hence, that's why I believe the Van Sant Psycho is the worst remake ever.
But whatever. Be sure to check out the article. Some really interesting fun facts. Like how Hitchcock "bought the rights to Robert Bloch's source novel on the cheap, then bought as many copies of the book as he could to keep the plot twists hidden from potential moviegoers." Hey, at least the book was selling well, right?