Monday, August 26, 2013

PSYCHO III (Scream Factory Blu-ray Review) - The Madness of Naked Jeff Fahey

If Psycho II is as good as I made it out to be in my review; not as good as the original because few movies could be that good, then Psycho III is one step removed from the true horror goodness of Psycho II. Psycho III is in fact the third installment in the Psycho franchise, and it’s the third in line in terms of quality, overall storytelling and horrific content. I wasn’t overly fond of Psycho III upon my initial viewing. I originally watched it in the 90’s, but it has grown on me some after my recent viewing of the new Scream Factory release. One reason in particular strikes a chord: Jeff Fahey. More on that later. 

Synopsis from Scream Factory: 

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 – Mommie Dearest), 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!


Not from the Scream Factory Release

Psycho III marks the directorial debut of Norman Bates himself or Anthony Perkins as we know him in he really real world. It would be his only pure role in the director seat though he managed to have control over many aspects of the made for cable flick Psycho IV. Perkins has made a fine movie. Disturbing and even sensual at times with raw sexuality and aggressive physical violence that the previous two installments in the series didn’t full recognize. This is much more a horror picture and less a psychological thriller. Norman has truly lost it. We all know it now especially after the finale in Psycho II (no spoilers here though). With that much violence in front of the lens, the balancing act becomes ever more tricky. How do you create suspense while being somewhat gratuitous when the Psycho franchise seems founded on “not showing” what you “think” you’re seeing on camera? Unlike the two previous movies there’s blood around ever turn, extreme violence and plenty of naked women running around to stimulate the hedonistic 80’s slasher crowd that had become used to seeing everything their filthy minds could desire on screen. What Psycho III loses in terms of a fright factor, it delivers in terms of shock. At that point the audience must be prepared to redefine their interpretation of the Psycho series or file this movie away. In short, Psycho III is not for everyone, and it may not be for the crowd who enjoyed the original picture or its sequel. This may be for fans of the big bad 80’s; a crowd that doesn’t “do subtle” well, a crowd who wants the killer to win.

Perkins in his reprise as Bates is again fantastic. He was nominated for a Saturn Award which is well deserved though I don’t believe we get any more depth out of the character Norman Bates, we certainly get to enjoy his company some more. The stand out performance in this installment comes from Jeff Fahey, a drifter with a dark side of his own, sexually deviant and sick… beautiful, gorgeous demented. At times he delivers manic, gonzo in such a way as to give you shivers. What’s more is that the bonus features include an interview with Fahey where you get to look behind his character and to sit down with a very calm, seasoned actor who obviously understands his craft well and who can in know way be confused for the other half of spy vs. spy in this serial killer duel. A must watch interview or fans of the movie, and an interview that greatly added to my overall enjoyment of the picture. 
Special Features include:  
  • New Audio Commentary with Screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue 
  • Watch The Guitar: New interview with Actor Jeff Fahey 
  • Patsy’s Last Night: New interview with Actress Katt Shea 
  • Mother’s Maker: interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator Michael Westmore 
  • Body Double: interview with Brinke Stevens 
  • Original Theatrical Trailer 
Both Audio and video quality are up to Scream Factory standards making this an obvious updates for genre fans. The cover art is traditional, Scream Factory again unable to provide an update to the limited edition packaging due to contractual obligations which is a let down, but only because their cover art has become their signature. The reversible insert provides plenty of movie stills. If you haven’t seen Psycho III, this is the release to pick up. Hell, it even has an interview with the “butt double”, Scream Queen, Brinke Stevens. What more could a fan ask for? I’d also like to note that the score for Psycho III is vastly different from the original work of Bernard Herman. The characteristic 80’s synth takes over as well as a number of songs intended to be hit songs to cash in on the 80’s soundtrack cross market boom. How can you be scared when you want to dance? 

You can pick up Psycho III at DiabolikDVD. Pre-order your copy now. You can also stop by the Scream Factory website and buy this along with Psycho II and III bundled with Psycho Legacy for a limited time at reduced price. It’s a great deal.  

Psycho III is ready to shock you September 24th.

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