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Slasher Sundays: Psycho II (1983)

Written by Film

You’ve no doubt heard of or seen Psycho (1960), the classic Hitchcock film that popularised what would become the slasher genre, even if it didn’t feel or act like its successors.

However, what you’ve likely put off, or ignored entirely, or didn’t know existed, is its sequel, Psycho II (1983) which you may rightfully assume can’t possibly hold a candle to Alfred’s work, but it still does its own thing in a spectacular way, acting as a surprisingly good continuation of the world of Psycho.

Anthony Perkins returns as the ultimate ‘mothers boy’ Norman Bates 23 years after he first creeped out audiences in Hitchcock’s classic. Image:IMDB

It hasn’t got the most impressive scoring on Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb, sitting at an uneasy 59% and 6.5/10 respectively, but those are atrociously low for what is, in actuality, a wonderful movie. Norman Bates is released from the mental institution he was placed into at the end of Psycho, but unlike Halloween, the film doesn’t follow the cookie-cutter mad-man returning for vengeance formula, instead opting to delve into Bates’ psyche, exploring his recovery in a meaningful way.

What throws a spanner in the works is those who have a vengeance against him, who aim to get him locked back up by any means necessary, trying to push him into snapping back into his old ways by calling him and pretending to be his dead mother to fuel his delusions. He becomes weirdly sympathetic, which is mostly a testament to Anthony Perkin’s undeniably fantastic performance as the lead.

It’s a surprise that Psycho II, given its 1983 release date, didn’t copy its competitors. Halloween (1978), a similarily influential slasher, fell victim to emulating the more successful copycats that it spawned, losing its own identity, but Psycho II impressively held its own and, as such, stood the test of time, feeling like no other slasher of that era.

If you’re feeling an itch for some classic slasher, Psycho II may just hit the spot, especially if you were a fan of Norman Bates in the original, as his character arguably gets much more to do, allowing Anthony Perkins to well and truly shine in the role. It’s a must for slasher fans – don’t let the expectations of a different-director sequel put you off.

Rating: 4/5

Featured image credit: IMDb

Last modified: 18th February 2020

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