Movie Name: Psycho IV: The Beginning
Studio: Universal Media Studios
Release Date(s): November 10, 1990
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Radio host Fran Ambrose (CCH Pounder) is looking at the world of killers who commit matricide…and she and her guests have a doozy. A man has called in claiming to have killed in the past…and looking at being forced to kill again! The man is Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), and Norman is actually trying to get his life together by facing his past.
Directed by Mick Garris, Psycho IV: The Beginning was a made-for-TV movie that first premiered on Showtime on November 10, 1990. The movie is considered to be a true sequel to Psycho and virtually ignores aspects of the previous two sequels.
While Psycho II was a thinking horror sequel, Psycho III seemed to take the movie back to the basic slasher roots. Psycho IV on the other hand tried to explain Norman’s actions and sought to redeem the character…which had limited success.
The movie’s was scripted by Psycho’s original scripter Joseph Stefano. Many concepts were thrown around (including Norman escaping the asylum and playing himself at the Bates Motel where a horror attraction was set up). The movie settled on an origin film and sought to make Norman sympathetic again. There are a few references that could be construed to be references to Psycho II & III but for the most part this is a stand-alone film.
The movie has Anthony Perkins returning for a fourth and final time as Norman Bates (he died in 1992). The movie also features CCH Pounder as the host of the radio show (with a cameo by director John Landis). The bulk of the movie is flashback scenes with Henry Thomas playing the young Norman Bates and Olivia Hussey playing his psychotic mother. Both Hussey and Thomas do a decent job with a rather over-the-top script.
Visually the movie is very bland. It looks like it came out the late ’80s. There was talk of having the movie be black-and-white for the flashback scenes and this could have distinguished the film a bit, but the filmmakers decided to shoot it like a standard film.
Psycho IV was a rather blasé entry in the series. The movie ended the Psycho “run” though there was talk of picking up the story with Norman’s son. Psycho did return however in the completely unnecessary (but oddly bizarre) 1998 remake of the original film by Gus Van Sant.
Buy it on Amazon.com: