Contributed by Royce Freeman.
Psycho IV: The Beginning
Hitchcock is the king of suspense, and Psycho is the landmark film that, as John Carpenter put it in an interview, "took horror out of castles and put it into modern life." The original Psycho is filled with a rich texture and tone which was never done before and hasn't been duplicated since. Many have tried and some have come close, but you can't replicate perfection.
Written by Joseph Stefano from a novel by Robert Bloch, Psycho tells a tale of a girl who stole some money to make a better life for herself, stops in the rain at a lone motel and meets Norman Bates, the manager of the motel. Norman is caught in his own little trap like she is, except he did not steal money; he lives with his old sick mom. In the few moments the man and woman spend together, they grow a kindship to one another, and she sees the error of her ways and decides to return the money. Before she can do so, she is brutally murdered while taking a cleansing shower - she was sorta washing away her sins. Norman discovers the body and is convinced his mother killed her. He covers up the crime and when people come looking for the girl, they too are murdered by this unknown assailant. The film is cleverly crafted and the ending is shocking, and totally unexpected. Flash to 30 years later.....
Psycho IV tells the tale of Norman married to a beautiful woman, and he finds out she is pregnant with his child, against his wishes. He does not want the bad seed from his family passed along to his son. Norman calls into a radio talkshow which focuses on matricide (the crime of killing ones mother), and he discusses his past, about how mother smothered him when he was younger and had a tight grip over his life, and he couldn't bear it. The discussion on the radio reveals to the radio host that he is infact Norman Bates, who made the headlines years ago for the murders at his motel. The story intercuts between him telling about his mother in flashbacks, and his relationship with his wife. The film takes an interesting turn, ending up back at the motel for the finale.
This film was written by Joseph Stefano, the writer of the original and produced by the producer of the prior sequels. I feel this is a fitting finale to the formal Psycho series.
There are camoes by familar faces in this one. The young Norman is played by Henry Thomas (E.T.), Mother is played by Olivia Hussey (Romeo And Juliet), the radio station manager is played by cult director John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers).
The film was directed by Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers, The Stand), certainly a man who knows horror and how to bring it to the screen in a creepy way. A must-see for horror fans, and definite for Psycho fans who have not seen this one. It certainly ties up a lot of loose-ends left by the original one. The flashbacks take place about 10 years before the events of the original film, when Norman was teenager. Henry Thomas plays a good interpretation of a younger Bates, years before the Anthony Perkins one and Stefano the writer certainly gave him the material to do it with. Excellent, and a hundred percent worthy to be called Psycho.
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