Psycho II is the 1983 sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. It stars Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Robert Loggia and Meg Tilly. The film was directed by Richard Franklin and written by Tom Holland. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
It is unrelated to the 1982 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, which he wrote as a sequel to his original novel Psycho.
The film did well financially (leading to two further sequels) and moderately well critically. Several critics noted that the film worked hard to sustain the suspenseful atmosphere of the original. Inevitably, it was seen lacking the unique Hitchcock touch, with the plot weakened by the contrivance of leaving the door open for further sequels.
Convicted killer Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is released from a mental institution. Lila Loomis (Vera Miles), the sister of Bates' victim 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. He is introduced to the motel's new manager, Warren Toomey (Dennis Franz). The following day, Norman reports to a prearranged job at a nearby diner, run by a kindly old lady named Emma Spool (Claudia Bryar).
One of his co-workers there is Mary Loomis (Meg Tilly), a young waitress. 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 his beloved establishment 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. 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.
Norman 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.
Believing the house to be abandoned, a teenage couple 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. The sheriff 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!"
Mary is startled later 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 recommited.
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 isn't 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 won't stop. Mary goes to Lila's hotel and their argument is overheard by a bartender. 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. 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, Mary runs downstairs into the cellar, and quickly dresses up as Mother to confront Norman. Someone grabs her from behind, 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 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. 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||Norman Bates|
|Vera Miles||Lila Loomis|
|Meg Tilly||Mary Loomis|
|Robert Loggia||Dr. Bill Raymond|
|Dennis Franz||Warren Toomey|
|Hugh Gillin||Sheriff John Hunt|
|Claudia Bryar||Ms. Emma Spool|
|Robert Alan Browne||Ralph Statler|
|Janet Leigh||Marion Crane (flashback)|
Author Robert Bloch published his novel Psycho II in 1982, 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.
Psycho II was filmed at Universal Studios in Universal City, California on Stage 24 from June 30, 1982 to August 1982. The Bates house set was still standing from 1960, but the motel had to be reconstructed. 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.
When the film opened on June 3, 1983, it earned $8,310,244 in its opening weekend and went on to gross about $32 million, making it one of the top hits of the year.
The reflection of young Norman Bates in the doorknob when he flashes back to his mother's poisoning is Oz Perkins, Anthony Perkins' son.
Psycho II was released on DVD in Region 1 as part of a triple feature package with Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning on August 14, 2007 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
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