Saturday, March 18, 2017

Psycho Sequel, Qu'est-ce Que C'est, or Thoughts on Psycho II

Even in the 80’s Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) was already considered a classic and the idea of a sequel was somewhat sacrilegious.  But this is America and Hollywood’s general response to a hit movie is to turn it into a franchise and that’s how we got Psycho II (1983), written by Tom Holland, who would go on to direct Fright Night (1985), Child’s Play (1998), and Thinner (1996). Directed by Richard Franklin of Roadgames (1981, with Jamie Lee Curtis), the sequel starts with the full 2-minute shower scene from the first movie before switching to color.
Anthony Perkins returns in his iconic role, now declared sane and released from the looney bin after 23 years.  Vera Crane also returns as Lila Loomis, (we all assumed she’d marry Sam after the first movie), now vehemently opposed to Norman’s release and return to society.  Norman does his best to fit in but he keeps finding notes from his mother, and someone keeps calling him and pretending to be his mother.  There’s only so much a fragile man/boy with mother issues can take before he cracks.
Featuring an early appearance by Meg Tilly as Mary, a waitress Norman meets who needs a place to stay.  Meg is rocking a short 80’s/Joan Jett shag that looks good in the shower.  Also with the original house from the Universal City set and another early appearance by Dennis Franz from Dressed to Kill (1980) in another early role, this time as Warren Toomey, the current manager of Bates Motel.
In Robert Bloch’s original 1959 novel Norman was a fat alcoholic loosely based on Ed Gein, who (allegedly/maybe/according to legend) enjoyed dancing in the moonlight while wearing his mother’s skin.   But Norman Bates is more a product of Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins and currently, Freddie Highmore.  He’s part of our popular culture now.  There were two more sequels before Bates Motel (2013) TV reboot; Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990), not to mention Gus Van Sant’s shot for shot, color photocopy 1998 remake starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche. 





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