Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Psycho II: Back in the shower!

Title: Psycho II

Year: 1983

Director: Richard Franklin (1)

In 1960 Psycho hit the silver screen and the modern slasher film was born. The master of suspense Hitchcock crafted a film that was often copied but never duplicated. Over twenty years after the original was unleashed on audiences the unthinkable was attempted- a sequel.  The result a underrated psychological film that is both suspenseful and well crafted. The film begins with the infamous shower scene, which I thought was very tacky, but I feel like maybe this was due to studio pressure. Richard Franklin also directed the cult films Patrick and Road Games(a personal favorite). Road Games was Rear Window done in a truck and was also a student of Hitchcock, which the studio felt made him the perfect director.
The cast is well rounded with Perkins stepping back into the role that made him famous and also cursed him into being type casted. Anthony gives a subtle and at times moving performance as the troubled owner of the Bates Motel. Returning again is Vera Miles who also is wonderful, its great to see these two act together. My own regret is they only have one brief scene together. On a sour note Meg Tilly acting is at times very flat. I read they wanted Jamie Lee Curtis for her role which seeing her connection (her mother being Janet Lee) would have been amazing, oh well-dare to dream. Their is also an appearance by Dennis Franz pre NYPD Blues. No butt shots here though. Hes great role as the jilted former motel worker, and even has a nice death scene. Robert Loggia is also wonderful as Normans shrink. Him and Perkins play off of each other nicely.

Psycho II was written by the legendary Tom Holland. Tom would later go on to direct such horror classics as Child's Play and Fright Night just to name a few. The story is fresh and keeps you guessing at every turn. I love the mystery aspect as well. I`m sure this was not an easy task to make a sequel to such an iconic film. I`m sure that Holland when writing it had no intention of actually out doing the first yet give it his own fresh take on it. While there is some obvious nods to the first film it never felt like I was watching a cash in knock off of the first film. I never spoil an ending but you wont see it coming. Its a nice twist.

When your following up such a stylish film you have to really bring your A game and the filmmakers really used the camera in clever ways to help tell the story. The camera work is top notch, with wonderful wide shots, nice crane work and uses light and shadow well, it gives it a creepy vibe that boosts the film to more then a 80s trash fest.

The films gore is pretty tame which fits this film perfectly. Had anyone else handled this film it would have been just a body count of pretty young girls taking showers, which is surprising in the decade of the slasher films. I`m glad that the left the gore understated but don't worry their is still some nice FX carnage including a very well done effect via knife swallowing which will make any gore hound happy.

While Hitchcock`s master work of horror cast a shadow that would be impossible for any one to escape this film does a great job at not trying to out do the first film but add too it. Several more films followed but they are not very well done. I hope this film finds its own following as the first one did. So grab some popcorn dig up your Mommy and enjoy this flick.

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