*** ½ Out of 5
Tagline- Norman Bates Is Back to Normal. But Mother’s off Her Rocker Again!
Release Date- July 2nd, 1986
Running Time- 93-Minutes
Screenplay- Charles Edward Pogue
Director- Anthony Perkins
Starring- Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Hugh Gillin, Roberta Maxwell
Released in 1986 Psycho III often draws mixed reviews with some giving it poor reviews and others giving it a glowing review. For me Psycho III falls somewhere in the middle. This is the kind of film I need to be in the right mood for. One day I can watch it and really enjoy it and other times find it a little above average. After the success of Psycho II I guess it wasn’t much of a shocker another one was made. Some people hail Psycho II the greatest horror sequel ever made and while I personally wouldn’t go that far, but unlike most horror sequels or sequels in general Psycho II actually had a story and didn’t exist simply because it could. Psycho III the story isn’t as strong and the film really wasn’t needed, but despite that Psycho III does turn out fairly well and perhaps a little underrated. The original is one of the all time greats and Psycho II a worthy follow up, which puts even more pressure on living up to the first two, which the film doesn’t, but that doesn’t make it bad.
Picking up a month after the events of Psycho II, Norman Bates (Perkins) is still running the Bates motel and hires a sleazy musician Duke ( Fahey) to run the motel during the day while Norman runs it during the night. Maureen Coyle leaves the convent as she no longer believes in god and when Norman sees her he notices she has a rebalance to Marion Crane than sees the initials M.C. on her suitcase, which puts Norman on edge. Meanwhile Tracy (Maxwell) a reporter working on a story arrives in town looking into the disappearance of Mrs. Spool and wants to also interview Norman Bates.
The screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue is well plotted with some nice homages to the original film and character wise, Pogue does craft some interesting characters. Pogue writes a solid script, but the problem is it really doesn’t offer much and was written simply because of the success as the first 2. With that said results are still strong for the most part it’s just there wasn’t much of a story left to tell.
Besides starring Anthony Perkins also makes his directorial debut and apparently he was a bit nervous since he didn’t know all the technical aspects, but despite Perkins does a fairly good job and while Psycho III may not go down as one of the best directed films, again Perkins handles the production well. Pacing at times can be a little sluggish and the suspense is also a bit light, but its made up for with some excellent murder scenes including a fun homage to the shower scene from the original only set in a phone booth and a nasty throat slicing scene. There is also some really great black comedy on display and Psycho III also features a couple of somewhat sleazy scenes as well. Psycho II took mixtures of the original film as well as 80s slashers and for the most part it worked well. With Psycho III, Anthony Perkins does much of the same and while it worked, but not as well in Psycho II and perhaps Psycho III would have been better served going more of the slasher route. Psycho III also is sort of a murder mystery much like the 2nd film, but its given away fairly early in the film despite trying to retain some mystery. Overall though Anthony Perkins makes an enjoyable film and like I said pacing can be an issue, but its made up for with some solid deaths. Perkins would only direct one more film and that would be 2-years later in 1988 with a film titled Lucky Stiff.
Overall Psycho III is an entertaining film with some nice homages to the original as well as some funny black comedy. Unlike Psycho II this one doesn’t serve as much of a point, but its a fun film nonetheless. Like I said when it comes to Psycho III I need to be in the right mood for it and while its not as good as some cite, but not as poor as others say. If you liked the first two despite the flaws you’ll probably find enough here to make it a worthy viewing thanks in part to some solid murder scenes.