Psycho II (1983)

Psycho II came 23 years after the original film Psycho (1960) and as a sequel, this is a cut above your average horror film offering (excuse the pun!) released in 1983 and directed by Richard Markham, PsychoI II has a rich vein of history to work from and as a follow up to both a critical and commercial successful original, this sequel tries its damnedest to be a worthy follow on. Anthony Perkins reprises his role as Norman Bates, released form an institution and allowed back into the general populous, cured of his murderous tendencies. As with any newly released inmate, Bates has the obligatory doctor in tow, Dr Richards, played by Robert Loggia, to help him re-adjust to modern life after his long term in an institution. I first watched Psycho II at the cinema way back in 1983, at the Elephant & Castle ABC or Coronet I forget which, during a dark school night with a good friend of mine at the time. The cinema itself was a three screener with and old lady selling the tickets who you could blag your way in if you were slightly under age the film was classified 15 at the time). Being an old cinema, it had creaky floorboards, smelly toilets and old red carpets, perfect for being scared silly in the dark!

I enjoyed watching the film immensely at the time and it left a lasting impression on me, especially the film promotional poster that accompanied the film, which was a great homage to the original film, with the Bates House and Norman in the foreground. See the poster artwork below

Original Cinema Quad Poster; Movie Poster; Film Poster

Quite a striking image I think and one that has stayed with me for many years. 

The plot begins 22 years after the original story, with Norman Bates being returned to specify, cured of his madero us tendencies and under the watchful eye of Dr Loomis (Robert Loggia) who has agreed to regularly visit Norman once he returns to the Bates Motel. At his hearing before being released, mother sister of murdered Janet Leigh (Vera Miles) argues that Norman is still a threat to society but her pleas are ignored as he is finally released into society. Norman returns to the Bates house and begins to get to grips with his familiar surroundings, all the while trying not to slip into his old ways. He is given a job at a local diner, where he meets (Meg Tilley) and kindly old lady June as they help him to readjust to normal life. At the same time, Norman wants to continue with the Motel and decides to fire the current manager (Dennis Franz) who is a bit of a greasy scumbag and does not like taking orders from Norman. The local police sheriff also takes a keen interstate in Norman, but in a more protective manner. 

Strange things begin to happen in the Bates house, from glimpses of Normans Mother, to a peeping Tom and the disappearance of two teenage kids. As Norman tries to hold together his sanity, he becomes closer to Janet as he feels he is losing his sanity. As bodies begin to turn up, Norman is convinced his Mother has returned from the dead and that his very sense of reality is being manipulated by someone to make him return to his murderous ways.

As the plot brings in it’s obvious twists, the story moves along nicely as the viewer knows where this scenario might end and Normans tormentors, real or imaginary, get their comeuppances. How this leaves Norman is probably to most interesting part of the film.

As a nice piece of trivia, the art department on the movie scoured the lots at Universal to find all the original furniture, clothes, kitchen utensils etc that made up the Bates house. Anything that could not be found, or was damaged, were re-built using the original notes from Psycho, so that the sets were as authentic now as they were back then, one of the positives of this film.

For a film that really did not really need a sequel, Psycho II its actually a well made piece of entertainment, very good performances, competent t directing, a sensible storyline and a very atmospheric soundtrack, so all in all for a film which did not really needed to be made, this is an above average sequel.

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