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Psycho II (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
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Anthony Perkins makes a terrifying homecoming in his roles as the infamous Norman Bates, who, after years of treatment in a mental institution for the criminally insane, has come home to run the Bates Motel. Vera Miles returns as the woman who is still haunted by her sisters brutal murder and the ominous motel where it all occurred many years ago. Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia and Dennis Franz co-star in the terrifying sequel to Alfred Hitchcocks classic film.
For this second sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's genre-defining thriller Psycho, star Anthony Perkins not only reprised his role as the personality-conflicted antihero Norman Bates, but also made his directorial debut, with often surprisingly solid results. Perkins wisely takes his cues from the master himself for Psycho III, tipping his hat to Vertigo with an opening sequence in which novice nun Diana Scarwid's failed suicide attempt results in an accidental death. The defrocked Scarwid takes to the road with a would-be musician (Jeff Fahey, Lost, Machete), only to end up at the Bates Motel, which is still presided over by the seemingly rehabilitated Norman. But one look at Scarwid, whose character not only resembles but shares the same initials as Norman's most famous victim, Marion Crane, and the wheels are set in motion for another murder spree to break out on the grounds of the now notorious motel. The presence of Perkins in the director's chair for Psycho III proves to be one of the film's greatest assets, as he not only pays tribute to the original but keeps matters moving at a brisk pace with more than a few stylistic flourishes. The script by Charles Edward Pogue (The Fly) also attempts to layer levels of psychological complexity into the picture, but their best efforts are frequently undone by unnecessarily gratuitous levels of violence and cheap sleaze introduced in the belief that viewers would not sit through a bloodless horror film. The exploitative elements don't mix well with the craftsmanship attempted by Perkins and Pogue, resulting in an off-kilter final effort that pleased few, as evidenced by the picture's low box-office take. Viewed over a quarter century later, Psycho III is a fitfully interesting picture hampered by the desire of competing parties to present a movie that would appeal to all audiences. The Scream Factory Blu-ray is highlighted by a feature-length commentary track by Pogue, who discusses his collaboration with Perkins and their frequent run-ins with Universal over the direction of the film, including proposed alternate storylines and endings. Interviews with a gregarious Fahey, actress-turned-director Katt Shea (who played one of Norman's victims) and B queen Brinke Stevens, who served as Scarwid's body double, are full of intriguing anecdotes and should please fans of the film. The disc is rounded out by a talk with special makeup effects creator Michael Westmore, who describes the construction of Mother, among other designs, as well as a trailer and TV spot and a staggering amount of promotional and publicity stills. --Paul Gaita
Vintage interviews with cast and crew including Anthony Perkins and director Richard Franklin
Vintage audio interviews with cast and crew
Original Theatrical Trailer
Top customer reviews
The Blu-ray features commentary by writer Tom Holland who is engaging but sometimes goes off on a tangent when answering direct questions, but still is quite entertaining and informative. Vintage interviews and a 1982 EPK round out the features here. Solid blu-ray presentation for a solid movie.
Admittedly, it is likely to be assumed that the sequel to such an iconic film would be "horrible." I've often wondered over the years, if such an attitude helped lead this movie to better reviews. The old: expect less, surprised by more...
Also, it was this movie that introduced me to Jerry Goldsmith, famous composer, who wrote the Original Sound Track. It was reported that after Anthony Perkins listened to this music, he actually wept, he enjoyed it that much. I would go on to listen to many more soundtracks by this composer.
The Blu Ray transfer is better than I expected, but I honestly thought it was a little dark, and washed out. The special features were good, but I was very confused by the "Audio Commentary" by famous celebrities attached to the project, including several actors, and the producer (but alas, nothing from Alfred Hitchcock, the director of the Original Psych.) The movie starts, and on a certain audio track,you hear a volume come up,and an introduction from an announcer...then you hear an audio interview from each person, several, throughout.
There's no "commentary" on the scene you are watching; each celebrity is reintroduced, and the words you hear him announce, are repetitive. It's very poorly done, in my opinion. It seems like "Special Feature fluff." I've never experienced anything quite like it.
I will still award it 4 stars, but I was not super thrilled with the special features, especially the one described.