Psycho II (film)

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Psycho II
Psycho ii.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Franklin
Produced by Hilton A. Green
Bernard Schwartz
Written by Tom Holland
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Edited by Andrew London
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • June 3, 1983 (1983-06-03)
Running time
113 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million[2]
Box office $34.7 million[3]

Psycho II is a 1983 American psychological horror slasher film directed by Richard Franklin and written by Tom Holland. It is the first sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and second film in the Psycho series. It stars Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Robert Loggia, and Meg Tilly. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

The film did well financially, grossing over $34 million,[3] which in-part led to two further sequels. The film was received moderately well critically, and has a 59% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[4] Roger Ebert noted that the film worked hard to sustain the suspenseful atmosphere of the original.[5] The film was followed by Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).

It is unrelated to the 1982 novel Psycho II by Robert Bloch, which he wrote as a sequel to his original novel Psycho.

Psycho II takes place 22 years after the first film, Norman Bates is released from the mental institution and returns to the house and Bates Motel to continue a normal life. However, it soon becomes apparent that his troubled past is going to continue to haunt him.


Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is released from a mental institution after spending 22 years in confinement. Lila Loomis (Vera Miles), sister of Marion Crane, vehemently protests with a petition that she has been circulating with signatures of 743 people, including the relatives of the seven people Norman killed prior to his incarceration, but her plea is dismissed. Norman is taken to his old home behind the Bates Motel by Dr. Bill Raymond (Robert Loggia), who assures him everything will be fine.

Norman is introduced to the motel's new manager, Warren Toomey (Dennis Franz). The following day, Norman reports to a prearranged job as a dishwasher and busboy at a nearby diner, run by a kindly old lady named Emma Spool (Claudia Bryar). One of his co-workers there is Mary Samuels (Meg Tilly), a young waitress. After work, Mary claims she has been thrown out of her boyfriend's place and needs a place to stay.

He carries Ms. Spool's body upstairs to Mother's room and we hear Mother's voice warn Norman not to play with "filthy girls" and telling him nobody loves him like his mother. Norman reopens the Bates Motel and stands in front of the house, waiting for new customers as Mother watches from the window upstairs.



In 1982, author Robert Bloch published his novel Psycho II, which satirized Hollywood slasher films. Upset by this, Universal decided to make their own version that differed from Bloch's work.[6] Originally, the film was intended as a made-for-cable production.[7] Anthony Perkins originally turned down the offer to reprise the role of Norman Bates, but when the studio became interested in others (including Christopher Walken), Perkins quickly accepted.[8] The studio also wanted Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Psycho star Janet Leigh) to play the role of Mary Loomis.[8] Meg Tilly's character assumes the name "Mary Samuels," which is a nod to the false name "Marie Samuels" that Janet Leigh's character, Marion Crane, assumed when she signed the motel register in the original film.

Director Richard Franklin was hired to direct Psycho II because he was a Hitchcock student[citation needed] and even visited him on the set of Topaz,[citation needed] and because a year earlier, Franklin made a film called Roadgames starring Lee Curtis which was influenced by Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window.[citation needed] Franklin hired writer Tom Holland to write the screenplay after Franklin had seen The Beast Within, which Holland had written.[citation needed] Holland stated: "I approached it with more trepidation because I was doing a sequel to Psycho and I had an overwhelming respect for Hitchcock. You didn't want to mess it up, you really had almost a moral obligation to make something that stayed true to the original and yet updated it the same time. It really was the next step, what happens when Norman gets out".[this quote needs a citation]

Hilton A. Green, assistant director of the original Psycho, was contacted and asked if he wanted to produce the film. Green, fearing that Hitchcock may not have approved of sequels to his films, called Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock and asked what she thought of the film.[citation needed] Patricia Hitchcock gave her blessing to the film; saying that her father would have loved it.[need quotation to verify]


Principal photography of Psycho II at Universal Studios in Universal City, California on Soundstage 24 from June 30-August 13, 1982.[7] The Bates house set was still standing from 1960, but the motel had to be reconstructed.[7] According to Richard Franklin, filming lasted 32 days.[this quote needs a citation] The film was made much like the first film.[original research?] It was mostly shot on the Universal backlot and in a number of sound stages.[citation needed] Several props and set pieces from the original film were found by set designers John W. Corso and Julie Fletcher.[citation needed] The town of Fairvale (seen when Lila Loomis is tailed by Dr. Raymond) is actually Courthouse Square, which is located on the Universal Studios backlot in California.[original research?]

Both Franklin and Holland wanted the film to be a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock and the original film.[citation needed] To accomplish this, they added various in-jokes such as the scene when Mary and Norman first go into Norman's mother's room, before they turn the lights on, Alfred Hitchcock's silhouette is visible on the wall to the far right. Franklin also repeated various shots from the original film such as the shot where Norman walks into the kitchen and sets his jacket down on the chair. The final pages of the shooting script weren't distributed to cast and crew until the last day of filming.[citation needed]

The last shot of the film with Norman standing in front of the house was used as a Christmas card for various crew members.[citation needed] When Universal presented concept art for the one sheet film poster, director Franklin was not pleased with it.[citation needed] It was editor Andrew London who came up with the idea of using the Christmas card photo as the film poster and also came up with the tagline: It's 22 years later and Norman Bates is coming home.[citation needed]


Film composer Jerry Goldsmith was hired to write the music for the film. Goldsmith was a long time friend of "Psycho" film composer Bernard Herrmann. On some film assignments Goldsmith would discover that the director had used some of Herrmann's music from other films as temporary soundtracks. Goldsmith would often joke when he discovered this ("Not Benny again!");[9] when he conducted a rerecording of "The Murder" for the opening of Psycho II he suggested that Herrmann "must be rolling over in his grave."[10]

Goldsmith had written a theme for Norman Bates that was rejected but used for Segment 2 of Twilight Zone: The Movie.[11]

MCA Records released a 30-minute album on LP and cassette; in 2014 Intrada issued the complete score.

Intrada tracklisting (cues in bold appear on the original album):

  1. The Murder - Bernard Herrmann 0:59
  2. Psycho II – Main Title 1:39
  3. The House 1:51
  4. Mother's Hand 1:54
  5. Old Weapons 0:41
  6. Cheese Sandwich 0:31
  7. Mother's Room 2:05 (called "New Furniture" on the 1983 album)
  8. Out To Lunch 2:00
  9. No Note 1:05
  10. The Peep Hole 1:47
  11. Toomy's Death 1:11
  12. Peep Hole #2 (Revised) 0:55
  13. Mother's Room #2 4:28 (called "Mother's Room" on the 1983 album)
  14. Basement Killing 1:18
  15. New Furniture 0:44
  16. It's Starting Again 0:40
  17. A Night Cap 1:08
  18. Blood Bath 4:01
  19. Don't Take Me 5:39
  20. She's Not Dead 1:16
  21. Hello Mother 2:52
  22. The Cellar 4:48
  23. It's Not Your Mother 5:11
  24. Expected Guest 2:44
  25. Psycho II – End Title (Revised) 4:18
  26. Sonata #14 (Moonlight), Op. 27, No. 2 – 1st Mvt - Ludwig van Beethoven 1:51
  27. Sonata #8 (Pathetique), Op. 13 – 2nd Mvt - Ludwig van Beethoven 1:04
  28. Peep Hole #2 (Original) 0:56
  29. Mother's Room #2 (Alternate No. 1) 4:28
  30. Mother's Room #2 (Alternate No. 2) 4:28
  31. Psycho II – End Title (Original Version) 4:18


When the film opened on June 3, 1983, it earned $8,310,244 in its opening weekend at #2 (behind Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and went on to gross over $34 million.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Psycho II was received generally well by the public and critics and was a surprise box office success.[vague] However, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both gave the film a marginal thumbs down on At the Movies, specifically for its failure to live up to the original.[citation needed] "I think the ghost of the original," said Siskel, "obviously hangs over this movie, and it's too bad because it's a nicely made picture."[this quote needs a citation] Ebert wrote of the film: "If you've seen Psycho a dozen times and can recite the shots in the shower scene by heart, Psycho II is just not going to do it for you. But if you can accept this 1983 movie on its own terms, as a fresh start, and put your memories of Hitchcock on hold, then Psycho II begins to work. It's too heavy on plot and too willing to cheat about its plot to be really successful, but it does have its moments, and it's better than your average, run-of-the-mill slasher movie."[5]

In the British magazine Empire, film critic Kim Newman gave the film three out of five stars, calling Psycho II "a smart, darkly-comic thriller with some imaginative twists", writing, "The wittiest dark joke is that the entire world wants Norman to be mad, and ‘normality’ can only be restored if he’s got a mummified mother in the window and is ready to kill again." [12]

Home media[edit]

Psycho II has been released five times on DVD. The initial release came in 1999 when Universal Studios leased the film out to GoodTimes Home Video.[13] This release is currently out of print. The second release came in 2005 from Universal itself.[14] The third release came in 2007 as part of a triple feature package with Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning.[15] Shout Factory, under their Scream Factory logo, released Psycho II on DVD & Blu-Ray on September 24, 2013 under their "Collector's Edition" line-up.

On May 8, 2013, RiffTrax released a VOD of the film featuring a running, mocking, commentary from the site's usual hosts (Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy of MST3K fame.) Many comments focused on the film's lack of living up to the original and the implausibility of the multiple-murder Norman Bates making it back into society and being largely welcomed.[16]

On September 2, 2014, Universal released Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV: The Beginning and the 1987 TV-movie Bates Motel on DVD as part of its "4-Movie Midnight Marathon Pack".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PSYCHO II (18)". United International Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. April 29, 1983. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Psycho II". The Psycho Movies. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Psycho II at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Psycho II at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ a b "Psycho II :: :: Reviews". Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  6. ^ "Interviews - From Psycho to Asylum: The Horror Films of Robert Bloch". The Unofficial Robert Bloch Website. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  7. ^ a b c "A Boy's Best Friend - Psycho 2". Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  8. ^ a b "Eric's Time Capsule: Psycho II (June 3, 1983)". Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Jeff Bond, liner notes, Psycho II soundtrack album, Intrada Special Collection #273.
  11. ^ The Psycho Legacy
  12. ^ "Empire's Psycho II Movie Review". Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  13. ^ "Psycho II (DVD)". Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  14. ^ "Psycho II (DVD)". Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  15. ^ "Psycho II / Psycho III / Psycho IV: The Beginning (Triple Feature)". Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]