*** This comment may contain spoilers ***
...read the introduction of Psycho III on TV. I was excited to watch Anthony Perkins's directorial debut, but I must say that this film had so much more potential to be better than it was.
Psycho III in several ways, is better than Psycho II. It reveals much more about Norman as a person, not just a crazy old man with a mental illness. Anthony Perkins once told David Letterman of the Psycho franchise that "They're not really horror movies. They're tragedies." I really felt sympathy for Norman in this sequel above all the others. There is not a better word to describe everything about Norman than tragic.
Psycho III contains a lot of 'familar' scenes. The bell tower scene at the beginning inspired from Vertigo, when Norman's 'girlfriend' Maureen fell down the stairs of the home, done exactly the same way Detective Arbogast fell in the original film; 'floaty' like. After Norman 'saved' Maureen from her attempt at suicide, they have a quick heart-to-heart, in which Norman says "We all go a little mad sometimes," a famous quote from the original. Clearly Perkins wanted to pay homage to the Master of Suspense.
On to his performance - wonderful as always, but I can't help noticing that a lot of the Bates trademark movements and facial expressions were brought back in this sequel, some unnecessarily so. Sometimes it seemed as if Norman was parodying himself. Jeff Fahey as Duke, a musician with a cocky surfer boy personality was an interesting contrast.
Overall, I think Perkins should be given more credit. Sure, it isn't perfect - but I think it has a lot more heart. I think if certain scenes were removed, it would have been a lot better, particularly the end of the film where he brings back the infamous grinning 'stare.' It counteracts with what Norman overcame only a scene ago. But Psycho III doesn't deserve such a low rating. It's definitely worth a look - but don't expect a masterpiece. 6/10.
Action / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Action / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
The film begins with Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid), a mentally unstable young nun, on top of a bell tower about to commit suicide. When another nun tries to get her to come down, Maureen accidentally pushes her over the railing to her death. Another nun tells Maureen that she will burn in hell for what she did. She is forced to leave the convent after this ordeal.She walks through the desert for a while, and finally reaches a highway. A beat-up car approaches and passes her, but backs up upon seeing her. The driver, Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey) offers her a ride. She puts her suitcase in the backseat and in doing so, bumps his guitar. He tells her to be careful with it, because it is his "bread and butter"--he is on his way to Los Angeles to make it big as a rock-n'-roll singer. She says that she's having car problems, and that the problem is that there is no car.They continue driving into the night during a heavy rainstorm. Duane can barely see ahead of him but keeps on driving aggressively, and the car begins to weave between the lanes. The car is having engine problems, and a loud popping sound causes Duane to swerve the car to the other side of the road. Duane pulls the car off the road, and tells Maureen that they aren't going any further, due to the storm. He advises her to try to get some sleep. During the middle of the night, it is still raining, and Duane makes a pass at her. She struggles to fight him off, and slaps his face. She gets out of the car, and he angrily tosses her suitcase out into a muddy puddle. Duane drives off, leaving Maureen sobbing.The next morning at the Bates Motel, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) collects some dead birds in a paper sack from the ground, thanks to some poisoned birdseed he kept in a birdfeeder, and stuffs them in the kitchen using his taxidermy supplies. On the table is a newspaper opened up to an article entitled, "Spool Still Missing." Norman has a flashback of him killing Emma Spool (Claudia Bryar, from the end of Psycho II), and when he looks down at the bird he is stitching up, he instead sees a hand and arm being stitched together! He is startled when the paper sack moves along the tabletop by itself, and is relieved to see a healthy bird pop out. Norman carefully grasps the bird in his hands and releases it outside. He hears a car horn blaring, and comes down to meet Duane. Duane is interested in the "help wanted" sign posted on the office window. Norman offers him a job as an assistant manager for the motel, and Duane accepts, mentioning that he only wants to stay long enough to earn money to fix his car to go to L.A.Norman goes off to the diner (Statlers) where he used to work to get some food. At the diner, Ralph Statler (Robert Alan Browne)--the owner--is having a conversation with Sheriff John Hunt (Hugh Gillin) about Emma Spool. He is confused as to why she would suddenly not show up for work a month ago and disappear, after normally being a stellar employee since he took over the diner from the previous owner, Harvey Leach (Hugo L. Stanger) seven years earlier. --Sheriff Hunt says that her apartment has been searched and nothing seems out of the ordinary. Ralph hopes that nothing serious has happened to her, displaying a worried look on his face. Tracy Veneble (Roberta Maxwell), a nosy magazine reporter, chimes in and suggests that Norman may have had something to do with her disappearance. She came from L.A. to interview Norman about the subject of the insanity defense and the rehabilitation of mentally ill murderers.Sheriff Hunt and Ralph argue with her and tell her to leave him alone in peace. Just then, Norman walks in and sits down in a booth. He orders a meal and gets an order of burgers to go. Tracy sits down across from him and starts to ask him some questions. He opens up to her and explains that what happened to him in the past stays with him and he can't escape the reality of what he did. As they are talking, Maureen gets out of a semi truck and comes into the diner. Norman is horrified to see her initials on her suitcase--"M.C." Norman has a flashback to the murder of Marion Crane from 22 years earlier-he notices that Maureen is almost an exact look-alike to Marion. He pays for the food and quickly leaves while Tracy keeps droning on and on.Back at the motel, Duane sees an exhausted Maureen walking toward the highway. He apologizes to her for his behavior the night before (he says he was road-weary) and offers her a motel room that she can rest in. She pays him $25 for the room, and he gives her the key to cabin #1. As she leaves, Duane keeps the $5 bill she gave him, folds over the edge of one corner, and puts it in his pocket. Norman walks by and sees her going into the room. He freaks out and goes back to the house. Norman has a conversation with "Mother (Virginia Gregg's voice)," the stuffed corpse of Mrs. Spool. He tells "her" about Maureen resembling Marion, and "she" tells him to get rid of her if her presence upsets him. He refuses, and Mother says that maybe she will do it instead.Maureen unpacks her suitcase in cabin 1. She sees a copy of the Bible on the nightstand, and she has a traumatic memory of her actions at the convent. She starts to cry. In Fairvale, Duane goes into a bar and sees Tracy Veneble. He introduces himself to her and lights her cigarette for her. She initially is turned off by him, but when she sees his Bates Motel matchbook, she decides to have a talk with him.In the motel office parlor, Norman takes a picture off the wall, and looks through a peephole into cabin 1. He sees Maureen stripping and going into the bathroom nude. Norman goes back up to the house and puts on his "Mother" costume and goes back to cabin 1 to kill her. Maureen is in the shower, and "Mother" pulls back the shower curtain. Maureen is sitting in a tub of rising bloody water. A razor blade sits nearby. She lifts up her hands to reveal that her wrists were slit, with blood gushing out of the wounds. Due to her blood loss, Maureen hallucinates that "Mother" is the Virgin Mary coming to save her.Meanwhile, Duane and Tracy continue talking about Norman. Tracy says she will pay Duane for any information he gives her. Unexpectedly, she gets up and leaves. Duane notices a red-haired girl (Juliette Cummins) staring at him.At St. Matthew's Hospital, Maureen is in a room recovering from her suicide attempt. Father Brian (Gary Bayer), a psychiatrist, is sitting by her bedside and introduces himself to her. Outside her room, Norman and Sheriff Hunt are waiting. Tracy shows up and claims that she happened to be passing by the motel and saw the ambulance leaving and decided to follow it. She asks how Norman found out about Maureen. Sheriff Hunt chimes in and says he was bringing fresh towels to Maureen's motel room when he found her in the bathtub after she cut her wrists and he used her room phone to call for an ambulance, repeating what Norman had told him. Father Brian comes out and tells Norman that Maureen wants to see him.Maureen thanks Norman for finding her and calling for help. He is just glad that he was looking out for someone else. He tells her that she can stay at the motel for free as long as she wants until she gets better and can sort her life out. He leaves her room to let her rest, and goes back home. He accuses Mother of hurting Maureen, and says that he is glad that Maureen didn't die. Mother replies, "She will!"Duane brings the red-haired girl back to the motel. They overhear Norman yelling at Mother. They just assume the noise is due to a loud TV. Red tries to open the ice chest next to the office to get some ice, but it is locked. She bumps into Norman and falls to the ground. He opens the chest for her and she gets some ice and asks him to join her and Duane; he politely declines.Red and Duane make love, and later she comes out of the shower. She goes over to Duane to kiss some more and he isn't interested anymore. She is upset because she wants this relationship to be more than just a one-night fling, and he tells her to leave and gives her $5 for cab fare, the same $5 that Maureen used to help pay for cabin #1. He tosses her and her clothes out the door. She puts her clothes on and goes into to a phone booth nearby to call for a cab. She realizes she put her shirt on backward and takes it off to put it back on correctly. Suddenly, Mother's hand bursts through the glass door, opens it, and stabs her over and over again. Red struggles to fight off Mother's attack, and she severely cuts the bottoms of her bare feet from stumbling on the glass shards on the floor, blood squishing out. Red crumples to the ground and Mother turns around and leaves. Back at the house, Norman cries, "Mother! Oh God, Mother! Blood! Blood!"The next morning, Duane comes out of his cabin and sees Norman scrubbing the glass walls of the phone booth with soapy water. Duane goes into the office and sees that the $5 bill he gave Red for cab fare is in the cash drawer.At the hospital, Maureen is having a counseling session with Father Brian. She tells him that it was her idea to become a nun, but that as the time grew close to take her final vows of celibacy, she became scared and was dwelling on lustful thoughts. Father Brian asks her why she didn't just leave the novitiate, rather than be tormented by those thoughts.Duane talks to Tracy at the motel about the $5 bill he discovered in the drawer. She tells him it may have helped solve the mystery if he knew the girl's name. The motel is bustling with activity because Fairvale's homecoming football game is later in the day, and several guests have checked into rooms. Norman and Maureen arrive in a cab, and he sees Tracy going up to the house. She wants to continue her interview with him, but he stops her and tells her to leave and never come back. Norman goes into cabin 1, and Maureen is pleased to find that Norman had her wet clothes sent to the dry-cleaner's. He tells her that she'll look good in her pink dress on their dinner date later on.At Mrs. Spool's apartment, Tracy talks with the landlord. He says that other than coming and going for work, Mrs. Spool stayed home. The landlord leaves, and Tracy decides to stay and snoop for a while. She glances at some magazines on a coffee table and a single phone number is written on the covers several times. She dials the number on the phone, and she discovers that it connects her to the Bates Motel.That evening, Norman takes Maureen out to eat at a fancy restaurant in Fairview. After eating, they get up to dance. At first, Maureen doesn't feel comfortable, but Norman teaches her the basic "box" step movements.Back at the motel, a cab drops Maureen and Norman off. Maureen goes into her room, and Norman follows soon after. He sees her staring toward the house. He asks her what is wrong, and she says that she must have had too much to drink--she thought she saw a woman up in the window at the house. Uncomfortable, Norman goes to tell Duane that he can take off for the night, and then goes back to Maureen. She tells him she enjoyed her time with him earlier. They lay down on the bed and kiss. Norman stops kissing her, and he says he doesn't feel right about this. Maureen eases his discomfort by suggesting they just lie on the bed and hold each other.Later that night, Maureen is asleep and Norman is gone. Patsy Boyle (Katt Shea Reuben), a guest from another cabin, comes in to wake her and warns her about the door being left wide open. She tells Maureen that she'll close it for her, in case one of her drunk friends might happen to wander inside.Up at the house, Mother scolds Norman for letting Maureen come between them. She starts whispering something to him, and he is about to put on the dress and wig. Maureen comes up to the front door and calls out his name. Mother tells him to bring her the knife. He is shocked to see her dead body sit up in bed. Norman takes the knife in his hand, wraps his fingers around the blade, and slams his hand down on a table. He yelps in pain. Concerned, Maureen asks what is wrong. He feigns ill, and tells her to go back to her cabin and lock her door. Soon after, Norman leaves, dressed to kill.Meanwhile, Patsy Boyle is looking for a bathroom to use. She sees the one in the parlor, and sits down on the toilet to relieve herself. Suddenly, she looks up in surprise and sees Mother standing directly in front of her. She tells Mother that the bathroom is "occupied," and Mother thrusts the knife, slitting her throat, and stabbing her in the stomach. Patsy keels over and falls to the floor. Later, Norman goes into the parlor looking for Duane, and he recoils in shock from seeing the bloody mess. Norman takes her body out of the bathroom and tosses it out the window behind the motel. Some partiers are chasing each other around the building, and Norman hides himself and the body momentarily. The guests all get into their cars and leave, burning rubber on their way out to the highway.The next morning, Maureen comes out of her cabin to see the sheriff's car outside. Worried, she asks about Norman. Tracy is there too, and she decides it's time to tell Maureen the truth about Norman. Sheriff Hunt and Deputy Leo (Steve Guevara) are investigating the disappearance of Patsy Boyle. She didn't ride home with the other revelers, and they go up to the house where they question Norman about it. Norman figures that Tracy assumed he was involved. Deputy Leo searches the first floor level, and then goes to search upstairs. Terrified that they'll discover Mrs. Spool's corpse, Norman runs up after him, with Sheriff Hunt in pursuit. Norman sees that there is no body in Mother's room. Bewildered by Norman's antics, Hunt and Leo leave.Shortly after, Norman is sitting by the ice machine by the motel. Sheriff Hunt apologizes to Norman for their intrusion, and he opens the ice chest to grab a couple of ice cubes to suck on. There are human fingers sticking up out of the ice, but he doesn't see them. He puts bloody ice cubes in his mouth (he doesn't notice this-he grabs them without looking at them) and vehemently ignores Tracy's pleas to take Norman in for questioning about the disappearances of Mrs. Spool and Patsy, because there is no proof that he did anything. Maureen lies to Hunt, and claims that she was with Norman until 6:00 that morning, so he couldn't have done anything wrong. Hunt and Leo leave, and Tracy waits for Maureen to get in her car--she told her everything about Norman, and Maureen tells a disappointed Norman that she'll stay with Father Brian for a while. They drive off.Norman looks around the house looking for Mother. She is nowhere to be found. In the kitchen, he sees a note from Mother: "Norman--I'm in cabin 12. Come see me." Norman walks along the front of the motel and approaches cabin 12, which is Duane's cabin. On the TV is a Woody Woodpecker cartoon. Mother is sitting in front of the TV. On the bed, Duane--high on drugs and alcohol--plays his guitar."What are you doing with my mother?" Norman asks him.Duane replies, "Don't you mean, Mummy?" in a mocking tone. Norman asks him why he took her and left the note for him to find."I'm just looking out for you Norman," says Duane."And yourself," Norman says.Duane continues, "I have ambitions--dreams, but dreams don't come cheap these days. I could've turned 'mom' over to the cops this afternoon, but all I would've gotten was a pat on the back for doing my civic duty." He tells her that Tracy would've payed him a big sum of money, but figures that she would lie and take all the credit and earn a big salary and earn a news position somewhere.Duane blackmails Norman into selling the house and motel in order to give Mother over to Norman. Norman tells him that he wants Mother back. Duane tells him he can take her--Duane says, "You know what I want, and you know what I'll do if I don't get it."Norman hits Duane in the head with an ashtray. A violent fight breaks out with Norman hitting Duane with a lamp, and ultimately, hitting Duane with his own guitar. "Watch the guitar," Duane mumbles. Norman hits him with the guitar repeatedly, until the guitar is broken into several pieces. Duane crumples to the floor, unconscious.At the diner, Ralph, Myrna (Lee Garlington)--a waitress, and Tracy are discussing Mrs. Spool. Ralph tells Tracy that Mrs. Spool was a good employee, and was already working there when Ralph bought the place. Tracy asks about the diner's former owner, Harvey Leach, in the hopes that she can find out more about Mrs. Spool from him. Myrna says that Harvey is in a nursing home outside of town. Tracy visits Harvey, and she asks him about Mrs. Spool. He tells her that Emma had been put in an asylum for killing someone.At Father Brian's office, Maureen has decided to forgive Norman and wants to be back with him. She has failed other people before, but she won't fail him.At a library, Tracy looks through old archived newspaper articles, and is shocked to see a headline reading: "Sister arrested in Bates Murder-Kidnapping." Below it is a sub-heading: "Child Unharmed in Love Triangle Tragedy."In Duane's motel room, Norman removes his belongings and wraps his body in the shower curtain. "I'll be back for you mother," Norman says. Norman opens the ice chest and tries to remove Patsy's body from it. One of her arms is wedged against the top of the chest and won't move, and Norman tries with all his strength to pull it loose, but the arm snaps off. He finally gets the body out of the ice chest, and he kisses her on the lips before putting her in the trunk of Duane's car. Norman puts Duane's body in the back seat of the car and drives it over to the swamp. On the way, Duane wakes up and wraps a cord around Norman's neck. Startled, Norman slams his foot down on the brake pedal and the momentum causes Duane to lurch forward into the front passenger seat.Norman pins Duane down on the floor of the car with his foot, and the other foot accidentally presses down on the gas pedal, sending the car into the swamp. As the car fills with water, Norman sees Duane drowning. Norman manages to escape the flooding car and swims away from it. He struggles to see in the murky water, navigating through underwater weeds. He lets out a scream when he sees Red's body--her pale, expressionless face staring back at him. He surfaces, and crawls his way out of the swamp.Meanwhile, Tracy shows copies of the newspaper articles to Father Brian, hoping that if Maureen would see them, she could change her story to the police. He tells her Maureen already left and went back to the motel.In her room, Maureen has showered and put on a nightgown. She hears Norman running up the steps to the house, and she calls out to him. He ignores her and runs into the house. She walks up to the house and enters it. As she walks up the staircase, she calls out to Norman again and explains that she has returned. She says that she never should have left and she forgives him for what happened to him in the past, and emphasizes that he saved her life. Norman appears at the top of the stairs. She asks him what happened. He lies and says that he slipped in the mud.She says that she regrets hurting him by leaving, and asks for his forgiveness. They hold each other's hands and have a brief tender moment. Suddenly, Mother yells, "Norman!" Surprised by this, Norman lets go of Maureen's hands, sending her falling backward down the stairs, arms flailing. At the bottom of the stairs, her skull is pierced by the arrow of the cupid statue against the wall. She crumples to the floor... dead. Norman, in shock, runs down the stairs and sees that blood is pooling around her head. He angrily yells "Mother!!" at the top of his lungs.Tracy drives up to the motel, and, carrying a tire iron, checks Maureen's cabin. She overhears Mother saying to Norman, "You get that whore out of my house. Throw it out in the muck and filth where she belongs!" Norman says, "I'll get you for this, Mother." Mother replies back, "You haven't got the guts, boy!"Tracy goes up to the house and tries to open the front door, but it's locked. She goes around the back and enters the kitchen. She slowly walks through the hallway into the foyer, and sees the living room lit up with dozens of candles. She sees Maureen's body laying on the couch, with a lit candle positioned in her grasped hands. With pity, she says, "You dumb, stupid naive girl." She turns around and is shocked to see Norman dressed up as Mother, his mouth fixed in a wide, skeletal smile. "Why can't you leave my poor son, my Norman, alone?" says Mother. Tracy drops the tire iron and tries to escape from him. She begins to go up the stairs, with Norman slowly in pursuit."What set you off again, Norman? Was it Mrs. Spool? You killed her, didn't you? What did she do--come to you and tell you she was your mother? She was crazy, Norman--she wasn't your mother, and neither are you!" She reaches the tops of the stairs, Norman still following her. "Mrs. Spool was your aunt, Norman. She was in love with your father, but your mother stole him away from her! Emma Spool killed your father in a jealous rage and kidnapped you when you were just a baby!" In Mother's room, she turns around and lets out a horrified shriek when she sees Mrs. Spool's corpse sitting in a chair. "She killed your father because she thought you were her child--the child she should have had with him! She was crazy--they locked her away!"Mother says, "It's lies! It's all lies! She's a lying whore. She's a slut! Don't let her talk about me like that!" Norman, seemingly free of Mother's spell, takes off the wig and dress. "Get her boy, get her! Just like all the others!" continues Mother. Norman raises the knife, and it looks as though he is going to attack Tracy, but instead, Norman stabs Mrs. Spool's body at the neck. "Norman! Can't you do anything right?" says Mother. Norman continues hacking at the neck, with sawdust spraying out. "How dare you treat your mother that way!" The corpse slides out of the chair and onto the floor. Norman hacks with the knife until the head is completely severed and rolls to the side. "So I don't have the guts, huh?" taunts Norman. Exhausted, Norman rests his head on the chair.The next morning, Sheriff Hunt leads Norman away from the house in handcuffs. A TV news crew is there filming. Tracy and Father Brian are both in shock. Hunt is in total disbelief with Norman, telling him that he believed in him and had faith in him and now that Norman, as "Mother" killed more people. He puts Norman in the back of the squad car, and tells him, "You'll never get out again! They'll lock you up forever!" In response, Norman replies, "But I'll be free. I'll finally be free."As the squad car drives along the highway, Norman reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a victory trophy: the severed rotting hand of Mrs. Spool. He gently caresses it as he smiles as the image fades to black.
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October 09, 2013 at 12:07 PM