Wednesday, March 22, 2017

She Might Have Fooled Me, But She Didn’t Fool My Mother, or Thoughts on Psycho IV: The Beginning

Like Psycho III (1986), Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) was a Showtime made for TV production that follows Norman Bates as he’s once again released from the nut house (with SANE stamped on his forehead) and now married to his therapist and expecting a child with her.  Coincidentally, late night talk radio host Fran Ambrose, as portrayed by the great CCH Pounder is interviewing Dr. Richmond from the final scene of Psycho (1960), who has written a book on matricide.  The role of Dr. Richmond was originated by Karl Kolchak’s long-suffering editor Tony Vincenzo,  or Simon Oakland.  In Psycho IV he’s portrayed by Warren Frost.
The late night talk show acts as a framing story for a flashback involving Henry Thomas from E.T. (1982) as young Norman Bates, and Olivia Hussey as Norma Bates.  The prequel is told in broad strokes, you don’t have the benefit and the luxury of 5 seasons of Bates Motel to really dig deep into that mother/son relationship.  I will say that comparisons to Bates Motel, and in particular Vera Farmiga are inevitable.  Olivia Hussey does have the hot mom/bipolar crazy lady going for her, but I do think Norma Bates has to be a blonde.  It’s an elegant way to explain why Norman was triggered by Marion Crane in the first place, and dovetails nicely with Hitchcock’s obsession with blonde leading ladies.
Directed by Mick Garris, who would go on to direct TV adaptations of Stephen King’s The Stand (1994), The Shining (1997), Quicksilver Highway (1997), Riding the Bullet (2004), Desperation (2006) and Bag of Bones (2011).  This was one of Anthony Perkins’ last films, he’s in less than half of it and it looks like all of his scenes were filmed in one day. He would pass away 2 years later.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).