View Full Version : "Dressed To Kill" != "Psycho"

Joel Groce
01-02-2003, 08:27 AM
Well...maybe a little, but it would be lame to say that it is overly derivative - I really loved the sleaze factor and the giallo touches - the killer's trenchcoat and creepy phonecall come to mind - I'm sure there are other trademarks. I'd forgotten how enjoyable this was and there were several scenes that had my heart in my throat. I will definitely be picking this one up!

01-02-2003, 05:57 PM
I really like Dressed To Kill. I rewatched it recently, and still thought that it held up well after all of these years. A good giallo with good nudity and violence works for me :D

I had forgotten how hot Nancy Allen was back then. It' s easy yo see why De Palma ended up marrying her for awhile.

The DVD has the R rated cut, and the Unrated cut both on it. Thankfully the studio did not decide to just release the R cut. They even talk about the stuff that they had to cut out to put it on TV, which I found fun.

01-03-2003, 04:37 AM
Another great thing about MGM's DVD is that you have the capability of watching particular scenes (the shower-rape-fantasy, for instance..) in their edited and unedited forms - at the same time - in split screen! (how quaint)

01-04-2003, 07:58 AM
I've never been one to complain about DePalma's ripping off of Hitchcock, but DTK annoyed me the first time I saw it. I've always loved CARRIE; it is a classic, one of my all time favorites. DTK though, seemed so derivaive from PSYCHO that I felt DePalma should be paying ol' Alfred royalties. I've watched DTK a couple times more since I first saw it, and I think as far as style goes it is one of DePalma's best, but its plot resemblances to PSYCHO still remain distracting. Still though, I have come to really like and respect the film, and MGM's DVD truly gives DePalma and the film the respect they deserve!

01-08-2003, 07:32 PM
Last time I watched Dressed to Kill was when I reviewed it, and the Psycho thing is definitely too much. And even worse, the title gives a not-so-subtle hint as to the "big secret" (much like Body Double, an unabashed remake of Vertigo).

What bothers me most is that DePalma didn't NEED to make such obvious Hitchcock references. Many of his best scenes were INFLUENCED by Hitch, but certainly not ripped off. In DTK, I thought the whole Nancy Allen stalking scene in the subway station was top-notch, and is not a direct Hitch homage. It has the SPIRIT of Hitchcock, but was not lifted from any one famous scene. The same can not be said for the infamous elevator scene, an almost shot-for-shot redo of the shower scene in Psycho...

01-16-2003, 06:23 PM
I love Dressed To Kill - and I think De Palma gets unfairly lambasted all too often with the whole Hitchcock thing. True - both directors work within the confines of similar narratives, but De Palma delivers. It would be easy to see Bava in almost all of Argento's work too - but people see Argento movies as being works of genius - which I'd agree with.
I think De Palma's thrillers are cool - Blow Out, Dressed To Kill, Phantom Of The Paradise, Carlito's Way, Scarface etc - awesome stuff. Let's just forget about Mission To Mars, Wise Guys & some of those others!

Oh yeh - and Nancy Allen is one of my all time favorite underwear posing females!

01-16-2003, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by BlazingMagnum
I think De Palma gets unfairly lambasted all too often with the whole Hitchcock thing. True - both directors work within the confines of similar narratives, but De Palma delivers. It would be easy to see Bava in almost all of Argento's work too

Well, almost all directors copy and/or homage, and that's a good thing. The reason so many of us rip on DePalma is that his Hitchcock homages are so obvious, and worse, they take from Hitch's biggest films. Dressed to Kill echoes Psycho and Vertigo, Body Double reminds one of Rear Windo and Vertigo, etc.
If he ripped scenes from Saboteur, or Topaz, or Marnie, I'd be more impressed ('cause those movies have great scenes too, and they're way overlooked).

01-16-2003, 11:05 PM
Yeh, but still - De Palma's movies are cool in their own right. I think people forget it sometimes. I admit that some scenes in his movies go beyond homage - like Sisters - but it's still a great movie.

01-16-2003, 11:25 PM
Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, I love DePalma's (earlier) work, and have several of his films in my collection. But you can't ignore the obvious aping of several Hitch films in a lot of his work.
Hell he made my favorite horror film of all time - Carrie. So my criticism is actually from being a fan of his films.

01-17-2003, 10:46 AM
I love Dressed To Kill - and I think De Palma gets unfairly lambasted all too often with the whole Hitchcock thing.


01-17-2003, 06:22 PM
Count me in as one of those guys who "unfairly lambastes" Brian DePalma! Fair or not, DePalma does promote discussion, and I guess that's good thing.

DTK is a deeply problematic film - not to mention unbelievably misogynistic and transphobic.

Hitchcock was an innovator, DePalma is an imitator. It's not about homage - Joe Dante does homage - it's about facile appropriation. IMO, DePalma hasn't made anything of significance since the mid-seventies. How many Hitchcock films can one pillage in a career?

I must confess, however, that I do not respond very well to films that dwell on style at the expense of content, and DePalma is certainly a master at this art.

01-17-2003, 07:39 PM
a deeply problematic film - not to mention unbelievably misogynistic

You can level that accusation at most of the movies discussed in these threads! Most giallos & Euro horror from the 70s - all the way through the 80 were misogynistic, and 'slasher' movies have never been widely regarded as being unbiased or tasteful with regard to the subject of victimisation of men - or women.

Dario Argento himself said in an interview, that 'the death of a beautiful woman is a beautiful thing', and has often been 'lambasted' in much the same manner.
This doesn't mean that De Palma's 'imitations' shouldn't be regarded as beautifully crafted movies.

01-17-2003, 09:48 PM
You left out "transphobic" in the quote. I don't thinkit should be dismissed so quickly.

You are right, some of the films you mention are quite problematic with respect to sexuality and gender issues. But let's not dismiss a whole genre - as many neocons and fundamentalists like to do - because some of these films are particularly nasty to women. I suggest you look at Carol J. Clover's "Men, Women, and Chainsaws" (1992) for a feminist reading of the slasher genre that attempts to look at its sexual ambiguities and gender slippages; it's a critique of those dismissive and reductionistic attitudes to which you refer.

Also, some directors have attempted to respond to criticisms of their films - Argento is one of them, so is Romero. DePalma is not!

Also, Argento plays with gender issues, especially with respect to victim/victimizer positionings, in ways that make his films much more complex and fascinating than anything DePalma has ever conceived. I guess the difference lies again with content: that is, in the ability to use cinematic style as a visual language that imparts complex ideas and subtle ambiguities about human relationships.

Hitchcock wasn't particularly nice to women either - ask Tippie H. - but his films show remarkable insight in the fetishistic obsessions of men in a patriarchal world.

Oh yeah, there is also a wonderful article by another feminist, Tania Modleski, entitled "The Terror of Pleasure," which is a defense of the slasher genre insofar as it represents an "unpleasurable" attack on what you call "tasteful" bourgeois attitudes about narrative cinema. Great article!

I know that it is hard to conceive for those people who understand these issues within a black and white framework, but there are feminists who actually defend some films in the slasher cycle. So it's not always "us against them"!!

01-17-2003, 11:26 PM
Please don't get me wrong Marioscido
- I really wasn't being dismissive to your opinions, the genre, it's sub genres, or anything else.
I'd be more than interested in reading 'The Terror Of Pleasure' so if you can forward a copy to me - or give me some information as to where I can find it - I would be more than grateful.

Perhaps De Palma didn't justify himself or his actions, because he didn't feel he should.
I've read of various occasions where Argento stated that he didn't feel that he had to justify his motives, sequences, set-pieces or narratives to critics or anybody else - which I happen to think is perfectly reasonable.
I still don't feel that De Palma's skills as a film-maker can be dismissed out of hand. Even if he is clearly derivative of Hitchcock on occasion, he has made many films which contain no obvious references to Hitchcock's movies too.

01-18-2003, 12:41 AM
"The Horror Reader", edited by Ken Gelder (New York: Routledge, 2000).

Joel Groce
01-18-2003, 04:04 AM
Well obviously DePalma was a intimate study of Hitch as I'm sure he was/is a force that can't be ignored. Whether some films can be dismissed as plagiarizing the master's works is definitely highly debatable. Though I will admit that he does pull from "Psycho" in key scenes of "Dressed To Kill" - it doesn't lessen the film in my eyes. I enjoy DePalma's willingness to throw in elements of sleaze and the fact that his films were played for a mainstream audience.

As for accusations of misogyny, I don't think it's appropriate to target this kind of film, derived heavily from the giallo genre, and expect it to live up to some kind of politically correct standard. These are films that are intended to shock and alarm audiences. If some disagree with what is represented or implied on the screen, they should avoid the film.

02-24-2003, 06:42 PM
I saw "Dressed to Kill" for the first time last night (Unrated version). I liked the style of the film, but I thought most of the music was terrible and after the killer is shown for the first time the story became way too lame and predictable. The last ten minutes or so seemed like a sad attempt to "save" the movie. Completely overated In my honest opinion.


04-08-2003, 08:56 AM
Never seen Dressed to Kill, but I'm a big fan of De Palma's work so this might be in my interest to pick up. And I noticed that MGM gave it a nice disc so that only helps my decision.

04-09-2003, 02:17 AM
I am a huge De Palma film... Carrie is my all-time favorite movie, as you may have noticed from my avatar... and Dressed To Kill runs a close second.

I love everything about those two films... I think all of the scenes work and I love the DVD treatment MGM has given both of them. Guess who was the first to pick up a copy? :D

04-09-2003, 02:18 AM

LOL, I meant to say I am a "huge De Palma FAN"... not film. I guess I would just about die and go to heaven if I were a huge De Palma film! :D :lol: :eek1: :banana:

04-10-2003, 10:08 PM
DePalma is usually "love him" or "hate him". I'm definitely in the "love him" catagorey and have so far loved every movie of his that I've seen.

Pick up the "Dressed To Kill" DVD, KillerCannabis. Great transfer and awesome sound...not to mention a kick ass movie!

Still, my favorite DePalma film still has to be "Phantom of the Paradise". I grew up watching this weird and wonderful film, with my parents introducing it to me at a young age. Gerrit Graham as Beef...what a riot!!

"I know `drug real' from `REAL real'!"

All you fans of "Rules of Attraction"...look fast for Swan (Paul Williams) as the cheeky doctor at the hospital. Good cameo.

Btw...I guess I'm the only one who thought "Mission to Mars" was awesome. Any one else share this opinion? Or shall I stand here and be berated? :)

04-10-2003, 11:13 PM
I didn't see Mission To Mars, but heard it wasn't very good.

I LOVE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE! I want to pick up the DVD sometime! :)

04-11-2003, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by blairmonster
Btw...I guess I'm the only one who thought "Mission to Mars" was awesome. Any one else share this opinion? Or shall I stand here and be berated? :)

I wouldn't say it was awesome, but it was OK. De Palma's new film "Femme Fatale" is far better.

04-11-2003, 08:32 PM
Femme Fatale is one I haven't seen but I really want to... what's it about? Is it anything like his older classics?

04-11-2003, 09:13 PM
I can't say that I love DePalma all that much. I liked DRESSED TO KILL a fair amount though, it had its moments. MISSION TO MARS was okay.

04-12-2003, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by RyanPC
Femme Fatale is one I haven't seen but I really want to... what's it about? Is it anything like his older classics?

Yes and no. The film starts off with a stylishly directed jewel robbery reminiscent of the robbery in Mission Impossible, there's also a brief Dressed to Kill reference in there too. The rest of the film follows one of the robbers who is on the run and there are quite a few plot similarities to his earlier films such as Blow Out and Body Double. Yet overall the film is more unusual and surreal than most of his films, I can't really say anymore without spoiling the film for you.

In my opinion it's his best film since Carlito's Way.

04-12-2003, 05:18 PM
Wonderful! I'll have to rent it! Woohoo, way to go Brian! :banana:

04-13-2003, 07:53 AM
Just saw Femme Fatale earlier today. Very good film! A lot more subtle than usual DePalma, but with a lot of references to past films. The "Dressed to Kill" homage was nice! I agree with you maringo, his best in a while, and other than that, not much else can be said. This movie has to be seen to be believed!

Plus, the lesbian scene at the first was the bomb! :sperm:

04-19-2003, 09:14 PM
They have two dressed to kills on DDD, are they both the same one? they seem identical.