Movie Name: Psycho II
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date(s): June 3, 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) has been released from the hospital to the objections of Lila Loomis (Vera Miles) and others in the town where he committed his crime. Going back to the Bates Motel, Norman faces problems with his manager Toomey (Dennis Franz) and a haunting feeling that he is being stalked. When a young coworker named Mary (Meg Tilly) moves in, Norman begins to worry that he’s slipping and his mother is coming back.
Directed by Richard Franklin, Psycho II is a follow-up to the Alfred Hitchcock horror classic Psycho (1960). The movie does not adapt the sequel book by Robert Bloch which was released in 1982. The film was relatively well received by critics and a box office success.
Robert Bloch who originally wrote Psycho didn’t like the idea of a sequel and made a book that has Norman escaping the institution in an attempt to stop a movie being made about his life. The Psycho II movie disregarded this concept because the studios hated it. Instead, the movie crafted a sequel with a bit more horror than the first film, but also containing a mystery.
The movie does a good job having you question what is going on with some legitimate twists and turns. It also has you siding with Norman Bates who appears to be trying to do his best to hang on to his sanity…it just isn’t working. It does also pose an interesting question about the likelihood of relapse of mental patients and sexual predators who are released from prison when they aren’t accepted by society and they are facing a recurring instability.
Though it is hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t think Bates was crazy, Anthony Perkins does a good job making him a sympathetic character. Likewise, it was nice to see Vera Miles return to her classic role with Meg Tilly as Norman’s potential romantic lead. Robert Loggia plays Norman’s overly understanding psychiatrist and Dennis Franz is the scuzzy Warren Toomey.
Visually, the movie is much more graphic than the original one with scenes like Vera Miles getting stabbed in the head and much more blood and guts. It is interesting in that these scenes are mixed in with some of the classic Alfred Hitchcock Psycho imagery that made the original famous (the director Franklin was an obsessive Hitchcock fan and friend of the director).
Psycho II is a pretty good horror film with a nice mystery tied into it. It is fun and fast paced and keeps you guessing as a viewer. Quentin Tarantino said he liked this film better than the original, but I wouldn’t go that far. Psycho II is followed by Psycho III in 1986.
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