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Anthony Perkins
Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, Hugh Gillin, Lee Garlington, Robert Alan Browne
Writing Credits:
Charles Edward Pogue, Robert Bloch (characters)

The most shocking of them all.

The Bates Motel is once again the site of something evil as the rehabilitated Norman attempts to help a disturbed young woman, Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid), who has left the convent because she can’t find any proof that God exists. Maureen bears a striking resemblance to one-time Bates Motel guest Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) which puts Norman on edge. At the same time, a nosy reporter is snooping around town looking into Norman’s past. Suspense, terror and black comedy worthy of the master himself are in hearty supply in the most shocking Psycho of them all!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$3.238 million on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$14.481 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $29.93
Release Date: 9/24/2013

• Audio Commentary with Screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue
• “Watch the Guitar: An Interview With Jeff Fahey”
• “Patsy’s Last Night: An Interview With Katt Shea”
• “Mother’s Maker: An Interview with Special Make-up Effects Creator Michael Westmore”
• “Body Double with Brinke Stevens”
• Theatrical Trailers
• Still Gallery


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Psycho III [Blu-Ray] (1986)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 18, 2013)

While 1983’s Psycho II didn’t light up the box office, it produced a profit and did well enough to green-light another film in the series. This leads us to 1986’s less-successful Psycho III, an exploration of the life and crazy times of Norman Bates.

Whereas II picked up 22 years after the original film, III shows events that follow only a couple of months after those depicted in the 1983 movie. A young nun named Maureen (Diana Scarwid) loses her faith and leaves the church. As she wanders in the middle of nowhere, she hitches a ride with Duane (Jeff Fahey), a guitarist on his way to LA to try to break into the music business.

As they travel, they encounter a nasty thunderstorm and Duane pulls over to take a break. He attempts to fool around with Maureen, but she resists his advances and flees into the rainy night.

Eventually Duane’s car needs work and he winds up at the Bates Motel, where he applies for a job as assistant to manager/owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). In the meantime, folks wonder what happened to local waitress Emma Spool, and out-of-town reporter Tracy Venable (Roberta Maxwell) suspects Norman due to his violent past. She chats up Norman under the pretense of a story about the insanity defense and attempts to dig into his mind.

An additional complication arises when Maureen shows up in town. Still down on her luck, she bears a striking resemblance to Marion Crane, the woman Norman killed way back in 1960, and this sets him more on edge than usual – especially with Maureen tries to find inexpensive lodging. Inevitably she ends up at the Bates Motel and Norman’s ghosts come back to haunt him once again.

When I reviewed Psycho II, I didn’t find much to like about it. Although I felt it certainly could’ve been worse than it was, it felt like a cheap knock-off and not a worthy successor to a classic.

This left me with low expectations as I entered Psycho III. It enjoys a weaker reputation than II, though I’m not sure why; while it’s not what I’d call a good movie, I don’t think it performs worse than its immediate predecessor.

Actually, I probably prefer III to II, if just because it feels like it enjoys more of a connection to the original. In II, I think we lose track of Norman too much of the time. The film focuses on secondary characters and turns Norman into a pawn without much to do. I guess some view this as good psychological drama – and I respect the movie’s attempts to do something other than simply remake the original – but II never feels like part of the Psycho universe to me.

While it comes with flaws, at least III seems like it fits into the original’s realm. Of course, like the first sequel, III attempts active references to the 1960 flick – and it even connects to other Hitchcock works such as an opening that consciously emulates Vertigo. That homage seems too self-conscious for me, but other nods fare better, and III even delivers a reworking of the famous shower scene that almost succeeds.

Almost. The film’s replication of the shower sequence offers some interesting twists, but it suffers from awful musical accompaniment and unwieldy religious allusions. These take away a lot of the scene’s potential impact.

Actually, those elements consistently drag down III. I can’t get too upset about the score – hey, it was the 80s! – but the thematic notions prove to be a more obvious negative. The film tries hard to integrate notions of religion and sin but the movie lacks the intelligence to make these stick. When it goes into those areas, the themes simply feel like pretentious contrivances.

While I think III entertains better than II, it does lose points due to a lack of creativity. As I mentioned, at least II tried to give us a spin on the original, whereas III occasionally feels like a semi-remake of the 1960 flick. It comes with enough changes to create its own personality, but the viewer should still anticipate a fair amount of déjà vu.

Perhaps this sense of familiarity allowed Perkins to provide a stronger performance, though. In II, he came across like little more than a bag of superficial characteristics, but in III, he manages to feel a little more like the “real Norman”. Perhaps his presence as director gave him additional confidence, or maybe he felt less pressure this time. Whatever the case, Perkins seems more invested; he doesn’t compare to his sublime performance in the original, but he does fine.

That summarizes my thoughts about Psycho III as a whole: it doesn’t remotely live up to the original film, but it tends to do okay for itself. The movie gives us a few interesting developments and manages reasonable entertainment value along the way. Although I can’t give III a strong endorsement, it’s a decent expansion of the franchise and better than its immediate predecessor.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Psycho III appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. A product of its era, Psycho III looked like a movie from 1986.

Sharpness was decent, as most of the movie came across as reasonably distinctive and concise. Wide shots occasionally looked a bit indistinct, but the flick was acceptably defined for the majority of its running time. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and only a little edge enhancement was detected. As for source flaws, occasional specks and debris occurred, but these were reasonably minor.

Colors were erratic. Occasionally they looked reasonably dynamic and lively, but they usually suffered from the vague murkiness that often affected Eighties flicks. Though I didn’t think the tones were weak, they lacked consistent vivacity. Blacks were similarly decent but somewhat flat, and shadows tended to be a bit dense. The image had its ups and downs but was good enough for a “B-“.

I felt the same about the lackluster DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Psycho III, where the forward spectrum dominated and showed some decent stereo imaging. The music spread cleanly across the front speakers, and I also heard occasional use of discrete effects. These panned relatively well across the channels, and the forward audio seemed cleanly integrated. Very little came from the surrounds, as they throw out some reinforcement but little else.

Audio quality wasn’t impressive. Speech seemed fine, though, as the lines only suffered from a smidgen of edginess. Usually they were clean and distinctive, though they occasionally would bleed to the side speakers. Effects played a minor role, as I felt they appeared acceptably accurate but not particularly rich. Music showed adequate fullness but not more than that; it seemed a bit thin. This was a dated but decent mix.

In terms of extras, we begin with an audio commentary from screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue. Along with moderator/interviewer Michael Felsher, we get a running, screen-specific look at story/character topics, working with Anthony Perkins, cast and performances, sets and locations, and related subjects.

As one might expect, the commentary spends most of its time with script/story/character issues, and Pogue explores these in a satisfying manner. We learn quite a lot about unused concepts/scenes and connected screenplay notes. The track moves well and gives us an informative and entertaining look at the film.

Four featurettes focus on interviews. We hear from actors Jeff Fahey (16:49), Katt Williams (8:40) and Brinke Stevens (5:14) as well as special effects make-up designer Michael Westmoreland (11:12). The actors tells us about working with Anthony Perkins, their performances and experiences on the set, while Westmoreland gives us a look at the various effects he created for the film. All of the segments offer good information and offer useful notes related to the flick.

In addition to two trailers, we locate a still gallery. It features 97 images; we see movie photos, promotional images and behind the scenes pictures. It’s a decent collection.

No one will mistake Psycho III for a classic; indeed, it’s really a fairly ordinary horror film. Still, it’s a reasonably entertaining one that surpasses its immediate predecessor and creates some interesting situations; that’s not great praise, but the movie works better than I expected. The Blu-ray presents decent picture and audio as well as a pretty nice roster of supplements. Psycho III turns into a serviceable sequel.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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