Psycho 2 (1983)
Director: Richard Franklin
Anthony Perkins/Norman Bates
Vera Miles/Lila Loomis
Robert Loggia/Dr. Raymond
22 years have passed since Norman Bates rubbed Marion Craneâ€™s back in the shower. Having just been released from the Loony Bin, he returns home and gets a job at a diner in the attempt to live a â€śnormalâ€ť life. But with Lila Loomis (Miles) busting his chops and â€śmotherâ€ť back at her old tricks, it becomes a challenge for good old Norm to keep his marbles in his jar. Is â€śmotherâ€ť back? Is Norman going cachou? Or is there more to the madness than the obvious?
"Mary, I'm becoming confused again, aren't I?" â€“ Norman Bates
22 years after Alfred Hitchcockâ€™s PSYCHO stabbed the screen and revolutionized the genre came the sequel PSYCHO 2. Who knew there would be more to tell after the original? Who suspected that it would actually ever come to light (Iâ€™m sure Hitchâ€™s passing had to do with that)? And most of allâ€¦who couldâ€™ve guessed that it wouldâ€™ve turned out to be this damn, freaking good!
PSYCHO 2 grabbed me by the lapel and taught me a dire lesson in table manners. Off the top of my head, apart from ALIENS to ALIEN, I canâ€™t think of one other horror sequel right now that managed to be just as good as its â€śdaddyâ€ť, but in its own rights. PSYCHO 2 stood firmly on its two kitchen knives like a big boy and delivered the macabre goods with smarts and class. First and foremost, I applauded the ingenious and highly engrossing screenplay by then-scribe and now also director Tom Holland (who directed "Childâ€™s Play" and "Fright Night"). Holland expanded on the Bates character masterfully while nodding the original at just the right level (Having Lila Loomis back was genius). Thankfully, at the same time as acting as a solid sequel, the script also had its own warped tale to tell and effortlessly stood tall while conveying it.
Another sharp â€śutensilâ€ť that this sequel carried in its apron was the able acting by all with Anthony Perkins, in particular, slicing away the scenery every time he was onscreen. I was totally bowled over by his frail, naĂŻve, yet potentially deadly, show. Perkins slightly shifted his Norman into a more â€śsympatheticâ€ť direction, running further with the sense of pathos that he displayed in the original. I felt for the dude hardcore, wanted to buy him a beer on many occasions, but at the same timeâ€¦much like my relationshipsâ€¦feared him. The cherry on top of the whipped-creamed nipple was having Australian director Richard Franklin at the helm. Being a student of the Hitchcock, the lad delivered a tension-laced, dread-filled (through its washed out tone) and spine-chilling flick. This is what a horror movie SHOULD look and feel like! Lastly, I commend Franklin for giving the modern audience a side order of yummy red "schlop" to go along with the old school main dish. There were a couple of brutal and graphic kills in here that I didnâ€™t see coming. They had me yelping out loud like a new-born getting the butt-slap.
Overall, PSYCHO 2 was a low-key, absorbing, well acted, brilliantly written and expertly directed horror film. It was filled with mystery, evoked high anticipation from my silly self and sported a twist ending that made me slip on a soap bar and fall out of the shower. If there was to be a sequel to the untouchable gem that is PSYCHO, I am beyond delighted that it came in this package. Really, I donâ€™t know what else one couldâ€™ve wanted. TOP NOTCH!
PSYCHO 2 was far from a gore-fest, but it had its severe â€śouchâ€ť moments. Iâ€™m talking slashes in the face, a knife in the mouth (NICE ONE!), a stab in the chest that ends with a fall that pushes the knife in deeper (NICER ONE!), stabs in the back, a severed head, stabs in the hands and more! Lots of knife action in this flick!
A moment of silence please for the magic performance that Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates) put out in this film. The man had more to play with this time around and gave us a mucho layered Norman. A Norman we fall in love with, one we root for, while at the same time, one we fear due to his mental instability. Nobody plays teething on the edge of sanity like Perkins does. What a show! Meg Tilley (Mary) came through in what was a complex character in terms of hitting varied notes. I bought it! Vera Miles (Lila Loomis) was convincing as the now â€śnutsoâ€ť herself Lila Loomis. Robert Loggia (Dr. Raymond) brings a liter of pizzazz to any project in which he partakes. The man is just that good of an actor and his display in "Psycho 2" was no exception. Dennis Franz (Warren Toomey) played a fat sleeze-ball credibly.
T & A
We get to see Meg Tillyâ€™s bush and tits through a clear shower curtain and we also get a â€ścleanâ€ť ass shot. The ladies get Anthony Perkinsâ€™ twitching face.
Richard Franklin served up a focused, suspense-filled and chilling show. He knew how to generate tension while displaying quite the Gothic moody atmosphere. I so loved the shots of the looming house on the hill with the grey clouds traveling swiftly in the background. What a sight! Furthermore, the washed out cinematography served the film well; amplifying the sense of doom at hand. Gus Van Sant shouldâ€™ve taken notes from this puppy when he created his candy-coated remake.
I was half-and-half on Jerry Goldsmithâ€™s score. When it worked, it went down extremely well, but at times, it felt a tad 80â€™s dated. No biggie though.
I worship the original PSYCHO with every microcosm of my blade and have no shame in admitting that I adore this exquisite sequel just as much, but by looking at it through a different â€śpeep-holeâ€ť. You would think that a follow-up to such a genre staple would be idiotic suicide, but here came Perkins, Holland and Franklin to prove all of us wrong. Sure, PSYCHO 2 wasnâ€™t as revolutionary as PSYCHO was in its â€śhey-dayâ€ť, but it was just as good on every front. This is more than a solid sequel...itâ€™s a standout horror movie as well! The shower lives!!!!
The pseudonym â€śMarie Samuels â€śthat Meg Tilly uses in the film is the same pseudonym that Janet Leigh used when she signed into the Bates Motel.
Robert Bloch (the man who wrote the PSYCHO book) also wrote a book called PSYCHO 2. The book and the film have nothing to do with each other. Two different stories.
Original PSYCHO actress Janet Leigh passed on October 3, 2004. RIP Princess and thank you for the frights.