- Movie Rating -

Psycho II (1983)

| June 3, 1983

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was never calling out for a sequel.  Let’s face it, few classic films really are.  A tightly-packed story doesn’t need a follow-up.  That said, it is to wonder if anyone watching Psycho II will go in hoping for something new.  I know I did, and really what the movie comes down to is nostalgia.  We remember that house.  We remember Cabin #1.  We remember the fruit cellar.  And, of course, we remember what happened on one rainy December night when Marion Crane checked in and took a shower.

Those things hang heavy over this movie and really are the only things propping it up.  Alfred Hitchcock is gone now and director Richard Franklin does a respectable job trying to keep the tone and the mood of that original film alive while obviously knowing that he could never outdo it.

The story picks up 22 years later as the State of Arizona has declared that Norman Bates is no longer a threat to himself or others.  I’m not sure that it was a good idea to immediately dump Norman back into his house, but then how would Psycho II have played out if he spent all his time in a halfway house.  Yet, he’s home, and from the moment that he crosses the threshold, his nerves begin to jangle.  That’s a reasonable reaction.  This was, after all, the house where he and his mother lived alone for so many years.

Norman hasn’t changed much.  He’s older, perhaps a bit more cautious but he’s also vulnerable and apparently suspectable to the haunted nature of his house.  He gets a job at a local diner.  Everyone knows who he is and what he has done but one person is kind to him; a waitress named Mary (Meg Tilly) who agrees to move into the house with him so  he won’t be alone.

The call of his haunted past is all in Norman’s head, he knows this, but then it begins to manifest.  He begins receiving phone calls from his mother.  Murders begin to happen, and Norman fears that history is repeating itself.  There is a plot afoot, of course, and I was happy that it wasn’t laid of the supernatural.

The good news is that Psycho II is not a bad movie.  The bad news is that a movie called Psycho II exists at all.  This is unnecessary, but it is probably done about as well as it could be done.  It is miles under the original, but miles ahead of the current spate of mad slasher pictures which have no imagination and no tension at all.  This rests somewhere in between  It’s a nervous movie, but definitely not one that the great Sir Alfred Hitchcock might have approved.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Horror