This month’s What’s the Difference? from Cinefix tackles the disturbing book and the amazing movie, American Pyscho.
I can’t remember the exact reason, but after hearing about the novel American Pyscho I decided I should read it. To the library! Where they didn’t have it. To the bookshop! Where they didn’t stock it. To the indie bookshop! Where I was able to find one copy being sold in shrinkwrap.
There’s a point to be made here about the value of indie bookstores. And having all the sick and twisted novels available for sale probably isn’t the point I intended.
And this is a sick and twisted novel. There are some scenes in there that would make a horror fan blanche – break free little rat, break free! The “satire” of the novel doesn’t feel like satire, it feels like gratuitous sadism that is there as an extreme juxtaposition to banality in a lazily made point about yuppies.
Which is why I regard the movie as far superior. It manages to skim through and grab the major elements of the book and put them on screen without becoming horror porn for vore fans – don’t look up that word, you don’t want to know. Ellis may not be a fan of the movie – because it is hard to tell if Bateman got away with it or imagined it – but his complaints are far too typical of the precious artists I’ve commented on in this series many times.
The irony is that many people would say that the movie is still ultra-violent. In which case, don’t read the book. Don’t do it. Or keep some lye on hand.
Update: Wisecrack did a great breakdown of some key differences between the book and film: