Psycho II (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Franklin|
|Produced by||Hilton A. Green
|Written by||Tom Holland|
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Edited by||Andrew London|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||113 minutes|
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[quantify] (leading to two further sequels) and moderately well critically.[quantify] Roger Ebert noted that the film worked hard to sustain the suspenseful atmosphere of the original. The film was followed by Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).
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 past is going to continue to haunt him.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (November 2010)|
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, the Bates Motel, with the house behind it on the hill, 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. Norman offers to let her stay at the motel, then extends the offer to his home when he discovers that Toomey has turned what had been a shabby but respectable establishment before Norman was committed into a sleazy adult motel.
Norman's adjustment back into society appears to be going along well until "Mother" begins to make her presence known. Norman gets mysterious notes from "Mother" at the house and diner. Phone calls come from someone claiming to be Norman's mother. The next day, a drunk Toomey picks a fight at the diner after Norman fires him. Later, a figure in a black dress stabs Toomey to death with a kitchen knife as he is packing to leave the motel. As Norman begins to reconstruct his motel, he begins to doubt his sanity when he begins hearing voices in the house. He enters his mother's bedroom to find it looks exactly as it did 22 years ago. A sound lures him to the attic, where he is locked in.
At the same time, a teenage couple, believing the house to be abandoned, sneaks in through the cellar window. They notice a female figure pacing in the next room. As they try to climb out, the boy is stabbed to death. The girl escapes and alerts the police. Mary eventually finds Norman in the attic. Minutes later, the sheriff arrives and questions them about the boy's murder. He finds the cellar neat and orderly. Norman is about to admit that something suspicious is going on, but Mary claims that she has cleaned up the basement herself. After the sheriff leaves, Norman asks Mary why she lied. She explains that she had to save him from being arrested. Norman collapses into the chair with his head in his hands and moans, "It's starting again!" Norman is aware that he is slipping into insanity again.
That evening, Mary is startled when she discovers someone looking at her through a peephole in the bathroom wall. She calls out to Norman, who is downstairs and out of reach. The two are horrified to find a bloody cloth that has been stuffed down the toilet. Norman appears confused and believes he may have committed another murder. Mary goes down to check the motel. In the parlor she is surprised by Lila, who reveals herself to be Mary's mother. She has been calling Norman claiming to be his mother, even going so far as to dress up as her and allowing him to see her in the window. Mary has been helping her. She was responsible for restoring Mother's room at the house and locking Norman in the attic. All of this was an attempt to drive Norman insane again and have him recommitted. Mary's growing feelings for Norman, however, have been preying on her conscience leaving her to reconsider her actions. Meanwhile, Dr. Raymond discovers Mary's identity as Lila's daughter and informs Norman. He also orders the corpse of Norma Bates (which was buried in a proper grave after the events of the original film) to be exhumed, to prove that Norman is not being haunted by his mother. Mary admits to Norman that she has been part of Lila's ruse, and that while she now refuses to continue, Lila will not stop. Mary goes to Lila's hotel and their argument is overheard by a desk clerk. Later, Lila drives over to Norman's house, unaware that Dr. Raymond is watching her from the Bates Motel as she sneaks into the cellar.
While removing her "Mother" costume from a loose stone in the floor, another figure dressed as "Mother" steps out of the shadows and murders her. Dr. Raymond runs up to the house. Lila's body is not in the cellar and the "Mother" figure is gone. Meanwhile, Mary discovers that a car has been retrieved from the swamp, with Toomey's body in the trunk. Realizing the police will shortly arrive to arrest Norman, Mary returns to warn him. The phone rings in the house, Norman answers, and starts speaking to his "mother". Mary listens in and discovers that nobody is on the line with Norman. Terrified that Norman has slipped back into insanity, Mary runs downstairs into the cellar and quickly dresses up as Mother to confront Norman and arms herself with a butcher knife. Someone grabs her from behind as she is on the stairs and she plunges the butcher knife into Dr. Raymond, who has sneaked back into the house. A stunned Mary runs downstairs and is confronted by a completely deranged Norman, who promises to cover up for "Mother." Mary tries to keep him away, repeatedly stabbing him in the hands and chest. He backs Mary into the fruit cellar to hide and slips on a pile of coal, which avalanches away from the wall, revealing Lila's body hidden behind it. Mary is now convinced that Norman had been committing the murders. Norman denies doing any of the killings and thinks "Mother" committed them. She raises her knife to stab him and is shot to death by the incoming police. The sheriff inaccuratetely believes Mary committed all the murders. That evening, a woman walks up the steps to the Bates' mansion. Bandaged from his injuries, Norman has set a place for dinner when he hears a knock at the door. It is Emma Spool, the kindly woman from the diner.
Norman gives her a cup of tea. Ms. Spool tells him that she is his real mother, that Mrs. Bates was her sister, who adopted Norman as an infant while Ms. Spool was institutionalized. She further reveals that she was the murderer, having killed anybody who tried to harm her son. As she sips the tea, Norman kills her with a sudden blow to the head with a shovel. Norman is now completely insane again. 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". Norman reopens the Bates Motel and stands in front of the house, waiting for new customers as Mother watches from the window upstairs.
- Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
- Vera Miles as Lila Loomis
- Robert Loggia as Dr. Bill Raymond
- Meg Tilly as Mary Samuels
- Dennis Franz as Warren Toomey
- Hugh Gillin as Sheriff John Hunt
- Robert Alan Browne as Ralph Statler
- Claudia Bryar as Emma Spool
- Ben Hartigan as Judge
- Lee Garlington as Myrna
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. Originally, the film was intended as a made-for-cable production. 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. The studio also wanted Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Psycho star Janet Leigh) to play the role of Mary Loomis.
Director Richard Franklin was hired to direct Psycho II because he was a Hitchcock student and even visited him on the set of Topaz, and because a year earlier, Franklin made a film called Roadgames starring Lee Curtis which was influenced by Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window. Franklin hired writer Tom Holland to write the screenplay after Franklin had seen The Beast Within, which Holland had written. 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. 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 Stage 24 from June 30-August 1982. The Bates house set was still standing from 1960, but the motel had to be reconstructed. 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. Several props and set pieces from the original film were found by set designers John W. Corso and Julie Fletcher. 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. To accomplish this, they added in 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, you can see Alfred Hitchcock's silhouette 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 with the ending on it weren't distributed to cast and crew until the last day of filming.
The last shot of the film with Norman standing in front of the house was used as a Christmas card for various crew members. When Universal presented concept art for the one sheet film poster, director Franklin was not pleased with it. 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".
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!")
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. "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."
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." 
Psycho II has been released four times on DVD. The initial release came in 1999 when Universal Studios leased the film out to GoodTimes Home Video. This release is currently out of print. The second release came in 2005 from Universal itself. The third release came in 2007 as part of a triple feature package with Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning. 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.
- Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
- Psycho (1998 film), a remake directed by Gus Van Sant
- Psycho III, a 1986 sequel to the first and second films
- Psycho IV: The Beginning, a 1990 prequel to the first film
- Bates Motel, a 1987 television film
- The Psycho Legacy, a 2010 documentary about the series
- Bates Motel (TV series), a 2013 television series that reboots the story in modern-day
- "PSYCHO II (18)". United International Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. April 29, 1983. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Psycho II". The Psycho Movies. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
- "Psycho II (1983)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Psycho II :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "Interviews - From Psycho to Asylum: The Horror Films of Robert Bloch". The Unofficial Robert Bloch Website. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
- "A Boy's Best Friend - Psycho 2". Retroslashers.net. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- film.com. "Eric's Time Capsule: Psycho II (June 3, 1983)". Film.com. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "Empire's Psycho II Movie Review". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "Psycho II (DVD)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- "Psycho II (DVD)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- "Psycho II / Psycho III / Psycho IV: The Beginning (Triple Feature)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
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- Psycho II at the Internet Movie Database
- Psycho II at Box Office Mojo
- Psycho II at Rotten Tomatoes
- Psycho II at Psychomovies.net
- A set of American lobby cards from Psycho II