Psycho II (Richard Franklin) 1983
Its strange that we talk about sequels and remakes as being sacrilege and this series is ruined and that series is ruined and blah blah blah. But if you mention the Psycho series, at best people will remember the brain fart of a remake directed by Gus Van Sant. People don’t seem to remember there was a Psycho II, Psycho III, and even a IV. IV is a more a prequel than a sequel. So really, we have the original, two sequels, a prequel, and I guess you could say a reboot in 1990. I’m waiting for the sequel to the remake to tell you the truth. I recently bought the Psycho three pack which has 2, 3, and 4 and it was simply a deal too good to pass up. So you can thank Circuit City going out of business for the following reviews.
Psycho II was made a whopping 23 years after the original by Hitchcock. What is truly surprising about Psycho II is how well it was received both critically and financially. It was the #2 summer movie prompting the next two Psycho movies and critics gave it good reviews saying that while it was not Hitchcock it was alright. The story picks up exactly 22 years after the original. Norman is being released from the mental institution as fit for society. I question the logic of sending someone with a psychotic break back to the scene of the original trauma and seven murders he committed but hey, I’m no psychiatrist! Norman is trying to put his life on track but is starting to see flashes of his mother and eventually murders start happening again. Is Norman going psycho again or are the victims families getting their revenge on him.
Now at its core, I can see the makers were trying for a legitimate thriller and simply not a retread of the original movie. They were really going for tension with questioning if Norman is really going crazy or not. The story also has some good points to it. So on that note I am not so quick to dismiss it as being a quick cash in. That being said, Psycho II fails in its execution. All of the actors go way over the top with their roles and their performances come off as rather silly. The writing, while good in some areas, falls apart in the end when they can’t really explain all the plot twists. Also the ending is hilariously bad. It is just downright funny. I am also not going to compare Franklin to Hitchcock, but he is still not quite up to the task of making a suspenseful thriller. On the whole, this is a movie with good ideas, but fails to capitalize on them.