PSYCHO 2. 1983. BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY ROBERT BLOCH AND THE ORIGINAL MOVIE BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK. WRITTEN BY TOM HOLLAND. DIRECTED BY RICHARD FRANKLIN. ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE BY JERRY GOLDSMITH. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY DEAN CUNDEY.
STARRING ANTHONY PERKINS, VERA MILES, ROBERT LOGGIA, DENNIS FRANZ, CLAUDIA BRYAR AND MEG TILLY.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God!!! This is the most excited I've ever been about a sequel to any horror movie. To any movie, full stop. Or period, as my American buddies would say.
The original PSYCHO (1960) is widely regarded as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finest movies. It's widely regarded by me personally as the film that scared the living daylights out of me when I was eighteen and that's literally haunted my nightmares ever since. It's easily the one film that I'd single out as having had the most profound effect on me. I doubt if you'd get such results from, say, a film like HOT TUB TIME-MACHINE. (No offence to fans of that particular movie.)
I wouldn't dare to say that PSYCHO 2 is even better than its predecessor for fear of being killed by outraged Hitchcock fans (myself included!), but I'll venture to say that it might possibly be more fun. Is that okay to say? It's a glorious Technicolor romp from beginning to end. It has everything you could possibly want from a horror film. Here's what it has.
A protagonist deeply damaged by traumas in his earlier life and who still has trouble telling fantasy from reality. A dead mother whose deceased status is always slightly in doubt. That house, oh God, that house, that marvellously, wonderfully, splendidly menacing house with evil lurking behind every doorway and spyhole! Spyhole? Yeah, it's got spyholes...!
The house is the real star of PSYCHO 2. We didn't get to see half as much of the Bates house in the original film but we're surely being compensated for it in this film, which is apparently not based on Robert Bloch's sequel to his novel PSYCHO but on something created instead by UNIVERSAL. Well, I never...! I haven't been fortunate enough yet to get my grubby little mitts on Bloch's sequel to his fantastic novel but I'm sure it was brilliant. Humph...!
Norman Bates is out of the mental institution and back living in the house on the hill, by the way. He's much older now but he still retains the boyish vulnerability that drew us to him in the first film.
Apparently, he's served his time and is now deemed fit to re-enter normal society. God alone knows how the medics came to their conclusions but how-and-ever, Normie's back, he's looking good, if a bit strained, and he's trying hard to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. If folk would only let him, that is. It's always other folk who cause the problems, isn't it? Stupid other people. (Grumbles Homer Simpson-style...!)
He's got a job in a diner and a nice young female lodger called Mary, brilliantly played by Meg Tilly, sister of Jennifer (God, they look so alike!) and things are slowly looking up at last. Except for one thing. He has reason to believe that a certain special lady might be back in the picture. That's right, it's Mother and this time, she won't rest until she's driven Norman clean out of his mind and back into the insane asylum...
Dennis Franz (NYPD BLUE, SIPOWICZ, PORTRAIT OF AN ASS-GRABBER-THE SIMPSONS...!) is terrific as the tubby and obnoxious temporary manager of the Bates motel in Normie's absence. Robert Loggia shines as Norman's head-shrink from the asylum. Shame about what happens to him...!
Vera Miles, whom I love, famously reprises her role as Marion Crane's sister Lila, and guess what desperate hussy's only gone and married her poor dead sister's man? I'm just saying, is all. Of all the guys in the world, she had to latch onto that one guy.
Oh well. Maybe they were a comfort to each other, given that they each loved poor tragic Marian, who surely didn't deserve what she got just for being misguided enough to steal forty thousand dollars that rightfully belonged to her boss. She did it for love, after all.
Anyway, Vera Miles's presence here lends an authenticity to an already brilliant film, and she's looking terrific too. Well-preserved and trim with a still-shapely ankle, haha. I sound like Mr. Burns from THE SIMPSONS there. I'll be sneaking a peek at saucy French postcards from the nineteenth century next...!
The film opens with a recap of Lila's sister's death-agonies from the first film, by the way. It's a great scary way to open a great scary film that's positively loaded with spooky scenes and shocks and twists and great scary scares. And, again, the house...!
We're in and out of that fruit-cellar like a Jack-In-The-Box. The first time I watched this sequel, I remembered only too well how genuinely frightened I'd been of the original film from 1960. Every time the camera made its way down to the basement again, I hid, heart pounding, behind the TV Guide. It left smudgy black ink all over my face and you could read the times of the late-night news-and-weather report and the late-night film off my forehead. Happy days.
Favourite scenes...? The two dopey teens breaking into the fruit-cellar, of all places, to smoke dope and have sex and, instead, meeting an unexpected destiny. The fruit-cellar...! No force on earth would induce me to set foot in it, never mind to get nekkid and make the beastie with two backs there. God Almighty, what a chilling thought.
I love it too when we think it's all over and then the sturdy figure of Mrs. Bates in her black dress and stern iron-grey hairstyle can be seen climbing the steps from the motel to the house against the backdrop of the night sky. Is she real? Is she un-real? We shall soon see, dear readers, we shall soon see.
The ending is terrific and neatly paves the way for another sequel, of which incidentally there were two more. The third one in particular is easily as good as PSYCHO 2, with Diana Scarwid doing an excellent job of playing a troubled ex-nun unlucky enough to find herself seeking refuge from her demons at the Bates motel. I don't even know where to begin with that one, haha. Boy, is she ever barking up the wrong tree...!
After you watch it, you'll definitely go to sleep with the figure of Mother outlined in her bedroom window imprinted on your mind. What...? What's that you say, Mother? You want me to kill all my readers...? But... But, please Mother, I can't! I love them both...!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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