Friday, October 7, 2011

Night of Terror #7: 'Psycho III'

OK, so I actually got to watch two scary movies today. One of them was my first-ever movie from the famous Hammer studios, a 60s thriller entitled The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, and Psycho III. I was planning to write about the former since I already covered Psycho II, but it's just not that interesting. Might write about it later if I'm in a pinch.

Psycho III, on the other hand, is VERY interesting. Anthony Perkins directs as well as stars, and he's looking a lot craggier than in Psycho II, which was made 3 or 4 years earlier (I do these write-ups fresh, no research, like Larry King. Think of me as the Larry King of short-form horror movie blogs). The movie's a lot different, too. Where the first Psycho sequel opted largely for Hitchcockian classicism with a few contemporary jolts thrown in, Psycho III is closer to a full-blown horror movie, complete with creepy/pretentious religious imagery. The most jarring example of this aspect of the movie is a scene in which Norman, dressed as his mother, is taken as a vision of the Virgin Mary by an attempted suicide victim.

I don't think the religious stuff works particularly well, Perkins seems to have lost most of the perverse charm he has in the first two movies (especially the first, obviously), and Jeff Fahey's (!) character takes some really weird and unexplainable turns, but there are some things in the movie that work great. Two set-pieces in particular will probably stick in my brain for quite a while. The first is a murder scene in which the famous shower of Hitchcock's original is replaced with a phone booth. The murder itself isn't really the interesting part here, since it's mostly standard-issue slashing and gushing. The memorable part is the lead-up. I don't want to spoil it too much, but I think it suffices to say that the poor girl who gets killed had a pretty sad and poignant last few minutes on Earth. The second memorable set-piece is a lot funnier, and it has to do with a dead body Norman has stashed in the motel's ice machine, of all places.

Like I said in my Psycho II post, I'd never really been interested in the Psycho sequels before now. But I can definitely say they're worth seeing, particularly if you can open up your mind to the very notion of a Psycho sequel. Which is what I had trouble doing, but I'm glad I was finally able to do it.

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