Psycho II (novel)
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First edition hardcover
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Psycho House|
Psycho II is a 1982 novel by American writer Robert Bloch, a sequel to his 1959 novel Psycho. The novel was completed before the screenplay was written for the unrelated 1983 film Psycho II. According to Bloch, Universal Studios loathed the novel, which was intended to critique Hollywood splatter films. A different story was created for the film and Bloch was not invited to any screenings. Universal suggested that Bloch abandon his novel, which he declined and released anyway to good sales.
Norman Bates has spent the last two decades locked up in a mental asylum after the events in the first novel. His psychiatrist, Dr. Adam Claiborne, has spent the last two decades working with Norman and has hopes of one day becoming famous by curing him. His plans come crashing down after Norman strangles a visiting nun with her rosary beads, then steals her outfit and walks out. Norman gets in the van with the other visiting nun and kills her with a tire iron, then rapes her dead body. As he drives away, Norman spots a hitchhiker and picks him up with plans to kill him and use his body to fake his death.
Later that night, the police find the van on fire with the charred remains of the nun and an unidentified man presumed to be Norman. Since this happened at the same time as a massive car pile up, they are exhausting their resources trying to identify the victims to notify their next of kin and can not get around to positively identifying Norman's remains.
Meanwhile, across town, Sam and Lila Loomis are murdered by an assailant with a knife. Claiborne is convinced that Norman faked his death and proceeded to kill them, but the police are skeptical. As they are surveying the crime scene, they see a news article talking about a movie being made based on Norman's life. Claiborne is convinced that Norman is going to Hollywood to kill everybody involved in production, so he heads out there to stop him.
Fearing the worst, Claiborne gets a job as a technical consultant on the film to keep an eye on everything. He gets introduced to the cast and crew, including director Vizzini, who is the spitting image of Norman twenty years previously. Claiborne keeps thinking that something bad is going to happen, but nobody believes him until the movie's producer gets decapitated with a meat cleaver.
It is revealed that Vizzini's mother was raped and murdered when he was a child and that the trauma from it has affected his sexual morality. Vizzini calls the actress playing Marion Crane to the movie studio where the shower scene is going to be shot under the guise of rehearsing the scene, but he is really planning on raping and murdering her. Claiborne finds out about this and, suspecting that something is not right, heads out to the studio to stop Vizzini.
Right after Claiborne leaves, Ames gets a phone call from the officer investigating Norman's disappearance, who have conclusively identified the charred remains as Norman's. It turns out the hitchhiker killed Norman in self-defense and, worried about going to jail, burned the van to hide the evidence. However, the hitchhiker, believing Norman was really a nun, was driven by his conscience to turn himself in. Ames concludes that if Norman is dead, and contacts the police to tell them Vizzini is the murderer.
Meanwhile, the actress manages to fight off Vizzini, who is stabbed by an assailant. When the assailant approaches the actress with the knife, the cops show up and shoot him. As he falls, he is revealed to be Claiborne. After surviving the shooting, Claiborne gets committed to the very asylum that Norman spent twenty years in. His colleague deduces that when Norman died, Claiborne realized his career was finished and the trauma of it gave him Norman's split personality. This personality killed Sam and Lila, Vizzini, and the producer. Now, his colleague is hoping that he will one day be cured, but he is not very hopeful.
- "Interviews - From Psycho to Asylum: The Horror Films of Robert Bloch". The Unofficial Robert Bloch Website. Retrieved 2006-09-18.
- "Biography - The Mad Hatters of Hollywood". The Unofficial Robert Bloch Website. Retrieved 2006-09-18.