Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Psycho III (1986, Anthony Perkins)

"Norman is still running the Bates Motel. Things are going fine until Norman falls in love with a fallen nun, takes in a greedy drifter, and a nosy reporter sticks her nose where it doesn't belong. Soon after a series of murders begins once again. "

Psycho II is in my opinion one of the best sequels ever. It was respectful to the source material and understood how to control the audiences expectations and keep them on the edge of their seats. It was a perfect mix of popcorn entertainment while being somewhat artistic and not lowering the bar to just shocks and scares. It was just great in every way to me. However, Psycho III is nothing like its previous sequel.

The film picks up one month after the events of the second film and we are once again reintroduced to the tormented world of Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins is also once again able to play the character straight and not make it a self parody. It seems that by now Perkins understands the character in every single way and because of this he is a lot of fun to watch in every situation in the film. Jeff Fahey who plays one of the "villains" to the film is also great fun and is nice to see him interact with Bates as he is hired to take care of the Bates Motel.

Everything is going fine for Bates until an ex nun stays in the Motel for a night. She happens to look exactly like Marion Crane, you know the woman in the shower from the first film, and this sets off Norman Bates off once again. There is also a nosey reporter that is brought into the mix along with a weekend party that a local college is throwing at the Motel where of course dead bodies start to appear.

Psycho III sounds like a great idea on paper and it actually is, it's the execution of it all that is weak. Maybe it's because Perkins himself directed the film or maybe its because the studio wanted a different kind of film but in the end the film feels slightly off. There are odd scenes of black humour during death scenes and this time out the killer is treated more like a type of "slasher" killer. Plus when the film starts out with a nun trying to commit suicide but instead kills another nun by accident you know you are not watching a movie like the first two films.

The way the story is handled is fun though. We get to see Norman Bates go out on dates and fall in love, and if you are a fan of the first you cant help but smile in these scenes. The scenes dealing with Norman are still top notch and the climax of the movie is still pretty fun although its not as shocking as the previous two films.

Psycho III is far from the bad film most film buffs think it is. It just isn't as great as the previous two installments and you cant help but feel disappointed because of it. I still wish people would give these sequels a chance though, you will be surprised by them guaranteed.

- ***

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