Friday, July 9, 2010

Psycho II (1983)

Fear 2/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5

Twenty some odd years after he was discovered to have kept the rotting corpse of his mother, pretended to be her and taking it to a whole other level of strange in dressing like her, we are placed smack dab in the middle of a court room drama as the judge proclaims one Mr. Norman Bates fit to return to society. The sister of Marion Crane, Lila, vehemently opposes the release of Norman the monster who murdered her sister and a private detective by the name of Arbogast years ago. But her words fall deaf and to no avail.

Norman is released and right away he works to get adjusted and assimilated into every day life. With the help of his psychiatrist, he's given a job at the local diner where he makes quick friends with a clumsy waitress. He's even encouraged to return and again take residence at the scene of the previous crimes: the Bates Motel and his mother's home. Running the joint in his absence, he asks a court appointed caretaker to pack up and get out of dodge after he discovers the motel has been transformed into a hangout for drug dealers and hookers.

In between trying to rid the premises of the pesky property manager and befriending the girl he met at the diner, Norman starts receiving a series of messages and phone calls which leads him to believe that his mother is still alive. With each call and written note he receives, Norman is pushed closer and closer back into being a crazy nut pants. But his new friend does her best to keep him in check and allay his anxieties. Afterall, he's doing his darndest to lead a normal life.

Our waitress is soon put out by her boyfriend and she takes up residence at Norman's home. Without a care about his history, the previously homeless girl almost becomes too accepting of Norman's past and current flirtations with madness. As the body count begins to rise, all eyes turn to Norman and despite him being prime suspect numero uno, the waitress insists it isn't him but rather she reveals a more foul plot is afoot. When Norman's psychiatrist catches wind of the contrived plot to send Norman over the edge, the film ends in dramatic fashion as he goes to the house to warn him. And just when we think things are over and Norman is now left alone to live in peace, another plot twist takes hold and we finally see Norman fall off the deep end and revert back to his 'old' ways.

More than an adequate sequel, Psycho II is a classic. Of course, it will never reach the level of notoriety as its forebearer but it's a fantastic film that keeps you guessing all the way until the very end. It also has some really nasty kill scenes (a knife through the mouth of a screaming woman and the Arbogast kill part deux but much more intense). And it also has one of the best quotes from Norman in the series. When the waitress comes over to the house for the first time, she inquires about a piece of silverware in order to slice a sandwich. A stammering Norman responds with:

'I forgot to bring any cu-cutlery.'

Cortez the Killer

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Mina Jade said...

I was fond of the first part, a shame that I never saw the second one. Now I think I really should - this post made me nostalgic.

C.L. Hadden said...

I have great love for Psycho II, and am glad to hear others do as well.
Perkins is great here, and it's no wonder he was stereotyped after the original, perfection will do that.

Wings said...

Just rewatched this yesterday! How weird...

Anyway, this is a great film on its own, regardless of whether or not it can stand next to the original. It is great to see the characters/setting 22 years later, and acting as one would expect them to act.

And yeah, Perkins just had Bates down perfectly, didn't he?

J. Astro said...

Highly underrated follow-up! Great to see it getting some love.

Cortez The Killer said...

@Mina, definitely check it out. Its a classic for sure and a lot of fun.

@CL and Wings, no doubt. Even in the lackluster parts III and IV he had the part nailed down. I loved it whenever he was interrogated how he'd just go into full on stammer mode. Kind of like a kid who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar before dinner time.

@J, definitely underrated. Its in my top list of most underrated horror films.

Carl (ILHM) said...

This really is one of the best sequels in the genre, and entirely overlooked by maky mainstream Horror fans that are convinced that PSYCHO should never have been sequelized