In pale roses, pastry and foie gras, the opening to 'American Psycho' is dressed to kill

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In the opening moments of American Psycho (2000), Director Mary Harron presents a perfect amuse-bouche for the satirical horror to come.

The controversial adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel of the same name opens with bloody drops falling in elegant slow motion in a stark white vacuum. An uncomfortable hum lingers while they fall, each red drop punctuated by a sharp trill of violins. The tone is elegant and sleek, the pacing slow and ominous. When Harron’s credit appears, the music quickens, the blood spattering over a pristine white surface. The title appears, the squat letters tracked wide across the space. The red keeps coming, now in rivulets, snaking itself across the void. A knife, raised high, gleams silver in the light — a nod to Hitchcock, of course — and hacks into a hunk of meat, turning notions of murder and violence into something ordinary — a culinary gesture. Plump raspberries bounce onto an exquisitely plated dish of late ’80s-era nouvelle cuisine. This ballet of blood and visual trickery is our entry into American Psycho, its sense of humour and its commentary: sharp and cutting, viciously playful, and all a matter of taste.

Read a discussion with American Psycho Director Mary Harron and Title Designer Marlene McCarty on Art of the Title.