Psycho II (1983) reviews and overview

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Psycho II is a 1983 American slasher horror feature film directed by Richard Franklin (Link; RoadgamesPatrick) from a screenplay written by Tom Holland (Rock, Paper, Scissors; Child’s PlayFright Night). It is obviously the belated sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and stars Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Robert Loggia and Meg Tilly. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen).

The film did well financially and moderately well critically. Several critics noted that the film worked hard to sustain the suspenseful atmosphere of the original. Inevitably, it was seen lacking the unique Hitchcock touch, with the plot weakened by the contrivance of leaving the door open for further sequels. Further direct sequels  Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) followed. Bates Motel (1987), starring Bud Cort, was a TV movie pilot for a planned series. A series titled Bates Motel ran for five seasons from 2013 to 2017.

It is unrelated to the 1982 novel Psycho II by Robert Bloch, which he wrote as a sequel to his original novel Psycho.

Plot:

Twenty-two years after the events of the first film, Norman Bates is released from the mental institution and returns to the house and Bates Motel to attempt to live a normal life. However, Marion Crane’s sister, Lila Loomis and her daughter Mary Loomis try to put Norman back in the institution by attempting to drive him crazy again…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Franklin does a fine job of building suspense and while there isn’t a scene in here to rival the intensity of the infamous shower scene from the first movie, there are a few stand out moments in the movie that, when judged on their own merit and not compared unrealistically to Hitchcock’s film, are very well done and nicely executed.” DVD Talk

” …it does contain a bit of ‘80s-style violence, which helped put the film on the radar of those people renting Friday the 13th VHS tapes back in the day and also helps update the overall story, but thankfully Richard Franklin holds back and only gives us what we need to see at the precise moments we need to see it, much like what Hitchcock did in the original…” Flickering Myth

“Psycho II boasts an increasingly compelling mystery at its core that ensures the film grows more and more engrossing as it progresses – with the inclusion of a few unexpected twists lending the movie’s third act a surprisingly engrossing quality that proves impossible to resist.” Reel Film

“It is a craftsman-like piece of filmmaking with a suitably flaky performance by Perkins, but it isn’t really a sequel to Psycho. It continues the story, but not the spell. And it never really establishes the other characters very well. Meg Tilly, as Norman’s friend, is just a little too laid-back and dreamy to hold her own against Norman Bates and a fresh slasher mystery.” Roger Ebert

“Without belaboring the point, one can say that Psycho II, like many Psycho clones, is the work of another Hitchcock aficionado to whom being influenced by the master of suspense extends only to borrowing shots and plot devices from his films.” John McCarty, Psychos: Eighty Year of Mad Movies, Maniacs and Murderous Deeds, St. Martin’s Press, 1986

“Franklin manages to pay homage to the Master’s style without ever falling into the redundantly baroque excesses of, say, De Palma. Scary and fun, it’s as worthy a sequel as one might reasonably expect.” Geoff Andrew, Time Out

Blu-ray release:

On July 31, 2017, Arrow Video released Psycho II on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time.

  • Digital Transfer from Original Film Elements
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Stereo Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with writer Tom Holland
  • never-before-heard audio interview with director Richard Franklin
  • Archive Interview with star Anthony Perkins
  • Vintage EPK material featuring interviews with cast and crew
  • Trailers & TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais
  • Collector’s Booklet with new writing on the film alongside a reprint of the Psycho II chapter from Richard Franklin’s unpublished autobiography

psycho-ii-madman-ad-mats

Image credits: Scenes from the Morgue

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