|J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
The year is 1982, you're a Universal Studios executive begging for a hit. You're racking your brain for some method, some way to see Meg Tilly naked, as is anyone but anyone who saw Fame. You gaze out your window and you see something that gets the rusty wheels turning... No, not that... that's Warner's... to your right... No, too far... back... Yeah, there it is... it's Norman Bates' house from Psycho! Slowly you see a plan developing which might allow you to not only get a hit for Universal, but also to see Meg Tilly completely in the buff! After The Black Hole and The Sins of Dorian Gray, Anthony Perkins is selling Pencils outside your very office, so you've got your star... no, not that one... that's Robert Evans... yeah, that guy, that's Tony. You call Hitch, and are shocked to discover that he's dead. You apologize to a sobbing woman and hang back up. By chance Meg Tilly passes your Office Window in shorts, and so you discover that you're undeterred by the death of Alfred Hitchcock. You hire Richard Franklin to direct because he produced The Blue Lagoon, and was successful in getting Brooke Shields to doff her top, and Meg Tilly just walked back by. You're afraid of Robert Bloch so you hire Tom Holland to write the script because... Because you're running out of time... Have you mentioned Meg?! Ah.
It's twenty-two years after the events of Psycho, and our hero, young Norman Bates, is released from the insane asylum with the help of Robert Loggia's Dr. Bill Raymond, and much to the chagrin of Vera Miles' Lila Crane Loomis. The surviving sister of Psycho's Marion Crane, Lila has more than a lot of qualms about having ol' Normie in the free and clear, but clearly had no qualms with marrying her sister's boyfriend after Norman's "mother" put more holes in her than a pith helmet. Go figure.
Another Shower of Trivia
This time, with Nudity!
- The name "Mary Samuels", which Meg Tilly's character uses in this film, is an homage to the name "Marie Samuels", the false name that Marion Crane checks into the Bates Motel under in Psycho!
- As Norman visits his dear old Mother's room and flashes back to her death, it's the face of Oz Perkins (playing a young Norman) who stares back at him from the doorknob. Oz is Tony's son.
- Meg Tilly reportedly had no knowledge of the original Psycho or its impact before taking the part of Mary.
- Psycho II was released less than two weeks shy of Psycho's Twenty-Third Anniversary of release.
- The Original "Psycho House" was re-used for the filming of this movie, though the Bates Motel reportedly had to be rebuilt... and not for the last time. The Original "Psycho House" still stands on its original location on the Universal Studios back lot along with the latest incarnation of the Bates Motel. Both are visible from the Universal Studio Tour.
- On the Universal Studio Tour, the Bates Motel is just behind Whoville, built for Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Chritsmas. It's... quite a mood changer for the tram riders.
- Psycho author Robert Bloch wrote his own sequel called Psycho II which is unrelated to this film. I suspect this book wasn't used because there was no opportunity for Meg Tilly to get naked, but that's just speculation on my part!
-Too Psychopathologically yours,
The Normanator wants nothing more than to settle down into a quiet Mommy-Free existence in his creepy house on the hill by night and to fill a few thousand short-orders in a diner by day. However, he's distracted at work by an incredibly hot waitress named Mary Samuels (the aforementioned hot and naked Meg Tilly), and is distracted at home by an incredibly anti-hot Bates Motel manager played by Dennis Franz (luckily never nude)!
Oh, and have I mentioned that someone is trying to drive him insane and send him back to the Rubber Room? Oh, yeah! Someone's pretending to be smilin' Mrs. Bates in order to send our boy over the uncombed frayed ends of sanity. And, yeah, people are starting to die in remarkably similar Modus Operandi to Norman's cross-dressing killing sprees. But who's doing it? Is it Norman? Is it the freaky team trying to funny farm him? Or... could Mommy be back from the dead?
Even Norman's not sure... but let's face it, if Meg Tilly were living in your house in various stages of undress, you wouldn't know top from bottom or left from right either, now would you! Even Gay men watch her nude scenes and say "I'd switch, bitch!"
Here's the truth: Psycho II is a surprisingly effective sequel that keeps the audience guessing. It has lots of red herrings, big surprises and some pretty good atmospheric directing and decent acting to boot. It's good!
Is it as good as Psycho? Are you kidding? Psycho is the premier Shock Suspense Story of our time, with more influence waves than The Beatles' Revolver and more surprise twists than the entire Shyamalan back catalog! The "Main Character" dies before the movie is half-over and the villain is anything but who you think it is before the violins screech again and you scream "Dude, WTF?" No, Psycho II isn't quite Psycho, and while Psycho was one of the most influential films of all time, Psycho II is, at core, a slasher film relying on more blood, more BOO!, and less story than the original. But... the original didn't have Meg Tilly naked either.
I kid you, but Richard Franklin and Tom Holland were wise enough not to pretend that they were Hitchcock and Bloch, and instead made a good and worthy sequel without the superior pretensions of someone like... oh, Gus Van Sant! Stay through the end... it's not the surprise of Psycho, but it's not the surprise you're expecting either.
Three and One Half Stars out of Five for Psycho II, the shameless Cash-In Sequel that manages to work damned well. Give this a shot and be pleasantly surprised... but not shocked like you were during the original. Anyway, I need to go now... my wife's at home taking a shower and my mom just called, recommending I check on her. At least I think that was my mom. I'll drill a hole in the wall and check on her just to be on the safe side. Unless you next hear from me while typing with my nose from a padded room, I vow to see you in the next unstable matricidal reel! Huzzah!