After years of treatment at a mental institution for the criminally insane, serial killer Norman Bates is finally released. Deciding to move back into his long-dead mother's infamous old house, he soon finds himself tormented by "her" demands and begins to question his own sanity.
We all go a little sequel crazy sometimes. 22 years after the murderous and maniacal events at Bates Motel, Norman Bates, freshly released from a mental institution, is back home; and the spectre of ”Mother” is waiting to greet him. We could say it was a cynical attempt at latching onto the coat tails of the 1980s slasher boom, but in spite of having the unenviable task of being a sequel to a masterpiece, Psycho II is a rather nifty sequel. Director Richard Franklin is helped by having Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles heading up the cast list, this gives the film instant credibility, and while the mighty spectre of Hitchcock looms large, Franklin doesn’t copy the maestro and brings his own visual smarts to the piece. Tom Holland’s screenplay doesn’t mimic either, expanding the Bates story with a series of quality twists whilst keeping the mystery element strong and the gripping factor on the high heat. Dean Cundey (cinematography) and Jerry Goldsmith (music) round out the strong points of the film’s tech credits. Not to be dismissed as a lazy cash in, this is well worth a look. Great ending as well! 7/10
When phantoms of the past won’t let you live in peace After 22 years at an asylum, Norman Bates (Anthony Hopkins) is declared sane and released, which is radically opposed by Lila Loomis, AKA Lila Crane from the original movie (Vera Miles). Norman goes back to his deceased mother’s house & motel where he befriends a compassionate local waitress (Meg Tilly). Unfortunately, some unforgiving locals won’t let him live in peace. The first half of “Psycho II” (1983) is a compelling continuation of the classic 1960 film whereupon there’s an unexpected plot development around the mid-point (which is great, by the way). From there, the events tend to bog down inside the creepy house with somewhat contrived twists & turns as the creators try to keep you confused as to who’s killing who. Thankfully, everything is sort of explained at the end with another revelation and what happened makes sense if you think about it. I say “sort of” because the truth isn’t fully spelled out. I appreciate that the film respects the intelligence of the viewer, but they should’ve made it a little clearer IMHO. In any case, “Psycho II” includes several elements of the original while expanding on the story. What’s great about the Psycho franchise is that it has its own story and Norman is a sympathetic character. It’s really a tragedy and not like the typical slasher where the antagonist is a zombie-like killing machine and its victims are mostly partying teenagers. The film runs 1 hour, 53 minutes and, like the first film, was shot at the backlot of Universal Studios, Universal City, California. GRADE: B EXPLANATION ***SPOILER ALERT*** (Don’t read further unless you’ve seen the film) Miss Spool killed Toomey, the boy and Lila. Mary’s killing of Dr. Raymond was unintentional. Lila was a vindictive biyatch, but she wasn’t a killer. The only time Norman kills anyone is Miss Spool at the end. As far as her being Norman’s real mother or not, see “Psycho III” (1986).