Psycho III (1986)

psycho iii poster 1986 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Not a disaster

Dull sequel

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Psycho III

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 2, 1986

MPAA Rating:  R


Whatcha lookin’ at Norman?

Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid) is a nun on the run.  Haunted by her past, she finds herself alone and needing shelter…she finds the Bates Motel and Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).  Norman is living under a cloud of suspicion with the disappearance of Emma Spool, and a reporter named Tracy Venable (Roberta Maxwell) is nosing into Norman’s personal life with the help of his new employee Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey).  To Maureen, Norman is a gift from God, but to Norman, Maureen could be his key to atonement…if Mother lets him.

Directed by Anthony Perkin, Psycho III is a horror sequel following Psycho II in 1983.  The film was relatively well received by critics but performed poorly at the box office.


He’s good with a blade…

The Psycho movies released in the ’80s were the artsy versions of the slasher film.  While the movies were much more gory than the original Hitchcock film, they also featured smarter storytelling and some writing twists.  While Psycho III is entertaining, it isn’t as good as either of the previous entries.

I liked Psycho II.  In Psycho II, there was a bit of a mystery and murder, and I could see Psycho II being something that Alfred Hitchcock might have made in the ’80s.  While a direct sequel to Psycho II (it is supposed to take place a month after the events), Psycho III just lacks the punch that Psycho II has.  As a stand-alone, it isn’t a bad movie, but the straightforward thriller of Psycho III just feels pale in comparison.  The movie could have been something very different in that it went through multiple rewrites before making it to the screen.


Maybe he just wants to give you oatmeal cookies?

Part of the reason is that Anthony Perkins is no longer as believable as Norman Bates.  His subtle hints to his guilt seem less subtle.  The fact that he directed the movie does give him some credit and it was during the course of shooting Psycho III that he was diagnosed with HIV.  The supporting cast for the film just doesn’t feel as developed as some of the other Psycho characters and this adds to the problems of the story.

The movie lacks style.  Perkins supposedly admitted that he was a bit out of his league directing this movie and it shows.  There are some nice throwbacks to the other films peppered throughout the movie, but it doesn’t feel like it has the class of Psycho or the gruesomeness of Psycho II.

Psycho III is a bit of a let-down after a rather solid sequel.  If you are a fan of the Psycho movies, it isn’t The Godfather III, but it also doesn’t soar as high as you hoped it would.  Psycho III was followed by a direct-to-TV sequel in Psycho IV:  The Beginning in 1990 (which partially dismisses aspects of both sequels).

Related Links:

Psycho (1960)

Psycho II (1983)

Psycho IV:  The Beginning (1990)

Psycho (1998)

Bates Motel—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Bates Motel—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Bates Motel—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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