Internet Defense League


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Straight Up Reviews #5: Psycho II

Good Evening, what can we say about Hitchcock that has not been said enough.  He's made masterpieces that range from great action, to spine tingling suspense.   He helped invent certain camera tricks that people use even to this day.  To top it off no matter how many times we try to anticipate his every move, he still manages to trick us.  However it is very rare for someone to succeed after him.   Case in point, Psycho 2.

Before I start talking about it, let me relay some personal history.   I was in my high-school film class, grade 10, it was taught by a teacher who was actually well known in many commercials.  Specifically the Labatt Blue commercial, where he picks out the Labatt Bear to play hockey and one of the poor bastards crying over money during the H.R. Block commercial.  Anywho, one of the subjects was the Film/Noir Hitchcock subject, in which we watch old noir movies along with Hitchcock flicks. Among the flicks were Psycho, Vertigo and North By Northwest.  Psycho was my personal fave not just because of my long love of Horror movies, but because of many of the twists, Hitchcock pulled off without any expectancy. IN YOUR FACE M. NIGHT!!! As well as the atmosphere it creates. You actually believe you are right there with the characters but are powerless to stop the events.  I first watched Psycho though not through that, but through the god awful remake with Vince Vaughn.  But give Van Sant some credit, he himself said that he did it so no one else had to and he meant it.  He even went as far as buying remaking rights to all of Hitchcock's movies so no one could ruin it. Though it's not all wasted.  If you look at one pivitol scene in said remake, you can see a caricature of Hitch berating Gus. Fair warning since I am mentioning the first movie while the sequel is the main focus, there is gonna be spoilers.

The story of Psycho went like so: Marion Crane a secretary working in a real estate office wants to elope with her boyfriend Sam Loomis.  By chance the recent client comes by to purchase a house for $40, 000 cash (400, 000 in the Remake.) Cash.  Instead of depositing it like she was supposed to, she packs up and leaves Phoenix to go meet Sam in L.A.  Along the way she stops by Bates Motel and meets the charming, but socially awkward manager Norman Bates.  Bates has his own share of problems, in the form of a doting mother that picks on him and threatens anyone that talks to him.  Inspired by his situation, Marion decides to return home with the money.  Before she could do so, Mother attacks and kills Marion in the shower.  Norman being the loyal, henpecked son he is, covers up the crime and eliminates all traces of Marion in the motel.  Marion is declared missing and it's up to detective Arbogast, Sam and Marion's sister Lila Crane to solve the mystery behind her disappearance, as well as reveal the secret behind Norman Bates and Mother.

Now since I am gonna be talking about II and I warned about spoilers I shall say this:  Norman Bates and Mother are one and the same.  After Norman's dad's death, Norman became emotionally disturbed.  Norman's mother, Norma was a clinging, demanding, woman, who abused Norman emotionally into submission until they were completely dependent on each other.  She then decided to take in a lover who convinced her to open up the aforementioned motel.  Norman fresh into his Oedipus complex killed them both in a jealous rage.  However feeling guilty afterwards, he stole her corpse and did everything possible to maintain the illusion of his mother being alive.  This included dressing up as her and speaking in her voice.  Because he was jealous of her, he assumed she was jealous of him, so whenever he met a girl he liked, the mother half of him took over and offed her.  This concept became one of the greatest twists in movie history.  Now on to Psycho II.

22 years after the first movie, Norman Bates was released from the institution after being declared sane, much to the protests of a very pissed off Lila Crane.  Upon being released Norman sets out to start a normal life.  He gets a job working at a diner, in addition to watching over his Motel; which is run by the Sleazy Warren Toomey.  He even meets a girl Mary Samuels, who he is enamored with.  It seems like everything is going well for the once former Psycho.  However a series of bizarre incidences occur, such as random notes and phone calls from Mother, making Norman question his sanity.  As well as a new series of murders making him the prime suspect.  Is Norman going crazy again? Or is someone trying to have him locked up?

This movie received a lot of flack for one simple reason "It wasn't directed by Hitchcock."  Which is kinda stupid.  Empire Strikes Back wasn't directed by Lucas and is still to this day considered the best Star Wars Sequel.  Why am I using Star Wars logic in this?  Because I kinda think of this as the "Empire" of the Psycho franchise.  It has a hell of a lot of twists and a downer ending that makes Vader proud.  It also shows a milestone of Anthony Perkins being one of the few Horror actors to play the same character for 4 movies straight.  Succeeded by Freddy Kruger actor Robert Englund in 8 Nightmare movies. Lastly I like this movie because rather than make Norman a one dimensional villain, they make him a more sympathetic character which was ambiguous in the first movie and show that even the most deadly of movie killers could get a second chance at life if the people would leave them alone.....or they start killing again regardless as proven in the III and IV movies.

As usual debate, argue and let me know what I missed.  Stay Tuned For More.   We all go a little mad sometimes.

Huh, I just noticed something.  Was the Green Goblin inspired by Norman Bates?   I mean both are named Norman, both have split personalities in which the evil side believes they are protecting the good side.  And said evil side sounds like a demented old lady.

No comments:

Post a Comment