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Psycho III
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Psycho III (1986)

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Plot Summary:
"Norman Bates is still running his little motel, and he has kept the dressed skeleton he calls mother. One of his guests is a young girl who has left the convent where she lived. To get some help he employs a young man. One day a nosey journalist comes to see him to ask questions about his past."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 12 June 2005 My Rating: out of 5


For movie review number 300 I watched this third entry in the Psycho series, and whilst I enjoyed it, it was apparent that each sequel seems to be slightly less appealing than the last.

Set one month after the events of Psycho II, this third film sees nun on the run Maureen avoid a sexual assault by Jeff Fahey only to wind up staying at the Bates Motel where Jeff Fahey has just been hired as assistant manager. Considering that she goes through all of this after having just accidentally killed a nun whilst trying to top herself, it's no wonder that she soon tries it again, which kicks off a disastrous chain of events.

Norman saves the lost soul and begins displaying signs of affection towards Maureen, which ultimately leads to a relapse and mother soon returns.

For starters the film feels like a Psycho movie which is good. Anthony Perkins creates further sympathy for the character and creates a number of well paced moments in his directorial debut through use of props, and even recreates some sequences from the original with twists, however the teen slasher element is introduced thanks to a bus load of football players and cheerleaders.

The film works for the most part, but Jeff Fahey is underused and the inclusion of tough talking journalist Tracy Venable makes it feel a little like a retread of the first sequel.

There are a few moments of light relief, some nice uses of religious iconography and a lot more blood than you saw in the original. The cast are all good and it doesn't outstay it's welcome, and it also manages to further complicate the legacy of the Bates family which is good, but it lessens the impact of the previous film's climax by doing so.

A bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed the film and it fits nicely into the series, but it is noticeably weaker than the original and the first sequel. If you haven't seen it you might be pleasantly surprised. It's certainly better than the pointless remake.

Reviewer: Ben Aslett @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

With Norman Bates portrayer Anthony Perkins directing this film you would expect it to be exceptional. Sure enough, this film does not disappoint. His directing seems to be as good as his acting - what Anthony Perkins brings to this film is more than you would anticipate. When you first take a glimpse at this film you realize that it is a lot darker than the first sequel. The murders multiply and are more sadistic than Psycho II. The film is set mainly in the night, and this is a contrast to Psycho II, which was filmed mostly in the day. In more ways than one this film has moved on from Psycho II but has kept true to the original, but not to the extent of the first sequel.

The problem that Psycho II had was that it tried to be too much like the original. There were aspects of Psycho whereever you looked. In Psycho III however, the references are subtler. This film was made to break the mould yet be as true to the original as it could. This was mainly achieved by the man in the director's chair. Anthony Perkins was by Alfred Hitchcock's side back in for too long. Some of the man's talents definitly rubbed off. Perkins shows that he can direct a film as well as anyone. He stays true to the initial aspects; fully bringing back 'mother', killing people in relentless ways and not referring to his past. These aspects were where Psycho II could have made a bigger impact.

The main theme that stems through-out the Psycho series is the fact that every one of the main characters - the charming Mr. Bates aside - is related to the first film. We had Lila and Mary Loomis and Emma Spool in Psycho II; these characters are referred to in Psycho III, also. Sheriff Hunt made a nice consistency to the proceedings. Another nice touch is the surroundings, which stay the same. There is no wandering off from Bates Motel. That's because there is no need to. Thankfully this was realized. The continuity of the environment makes the viewer feel a little more comfortable about the film. Plus, the viewer also knows what is in store for the film.

As I have mentioned, Psycho III breathes new life into the Norman Bates legacy whilst keeping with the fundamentals. This film strays away from Psycho II by having some new faces that are not to do with the aforementioned legacy. Duane Duke is a pleasant addition to the story. He is just visiting the motel for a job, and then all of a sudden he finds himself trying to uncover the truth about a serial killer. The newspaper reporter is also onto Norman, showing that it doesn't take a local to be on Norman's back. These added character touches bring so much to a film that could have stayed with the mould of the previous films.

'#ccc'>OVERALL SUMMARY With the addition of some well-needed new faces that lighten up the proceedings, Psycho III makes for a good film. Director Anthony Perkins keeps it true to Psycho's roots whilst adding some well-needed originality. In some way's it is better than Psycho II and in some ways it's not. But if you are looking for a film that keeps the Bates legacy going then this is definitely a must-watch.

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