Psycho 3 (USA 1986)

psycho3Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom. Norman Bates is watching you. Like God, he is watching all of us. Particularly young ladies with loose morals (or should that be bowels?) who believe they are safe just because they are sitting on the john…I love the screenplay here. As a poster flick for the tacky 80s this artful product is cheap and nasty. Like Donald Trump. The addition of sleaze bag character Duane Duke was a masterstroke. He is comedy gold: ignorant, yet as inoffensively shallow as a child’s paddling pool.

Anthony Perkins once told David Letterman of the Psycho franchise: “They aren’t really horror movies, they are tragedies.” I for one really wish I could bring Shakespeare and Sophocles back to life to let them give the Psycho pantheon a critical once over. Norman Bates can proudly take his place beside other tragic heroes like Hamlet and Oedipus. No matter how perverted and violently lethal he is, we still pity and find it too easy to identify with him. In fact, if Perkins hadn’t died we could have had more sequels. Norman Bates is the most fully developed, complex and mesmerizing killer to ever grace the silver screen. He evolved. (He’s actually mistaken for the Virgin Mary in one scene!)

Now take a deep breath as I bring you up to speed: Norman is back in business, running the Bates Motel, he needs a helping hand, so Duane Duke, musician bum, is his new assistant manager. When a former nun, Maureen, comes to stay in the motel, she reminds Norman of Marian Craine. He falls for her. But it’s a question of – will his mother will let him be with Maureen. Duane is also bringing problems back into Norman’s killing spree of bar flys (how dare female guests make a nude call in a public phone booth!) Plus there’s a homecoming party wanting Norman to give them a good time in the cabins. Jeez, won’t the Good Lord ever allow Norman to live in peace?  Nope. Who’d be a tortured, twitching, insane Mama’s boy?

psycho3oI don’t want to frighten you but you might catch AIDS if you watch this film without protection. The director had it. The lead actor was also given the big A diagnosis during filming. Of course they were both Anthony Perkins. He wanted the actor who played Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey) to be entirely naked but JF refused and he partially hid behind a lamp shade. Perkins took his revenge by beating Fahey so thoroughly (“watch the guitar, man!”) that the actor needed stitches. He also took offense at a homophobic comment by lead actress Diana Scarwid, but decided not to fire her. Lesson – don’t mess with Norman on or off the set. (Its common knowledge you might also contract AIDS by watching Presidential Debates)

Notable mentions should also go to Roberta Maxwell, who plays pushy investigative reporter Tracy Venable. Then there’s Hugh Gillin, he plays lovable red-neck Sheriff John Hunt. He is the president of the Norman Bates Fan Club and clashes repeatedly with reporter Venable. Sample: “I’ve had enough of this Nancy Drew horse shit from you!” She wants to nail Norman (legally, not Biblically) for the disappearance of Mrs Spool from Psycho 2. But enough of these meanderings. Lets just wallow in some of the dialogue from here until the end of this review. For which I did not get paid $5 an hour. Duke, you lucky bastard.

“I figured Bates was a geek, but a full fledged Looney Tune?!…I can’t have that sort of thing going on in my motel. It gives the place a bad name…Oh, God, don’t tell me you’re one of those guys who farts, rolls over, and then goes to sleep!…Here’s cab fare. Phone book’s on the table…You shit heel!…Stupid bitch! you could have been coming instead of going…You make it all sound so cheap!…It is, but it sure beats a good vibrator…She was crazy Norman, but she wasn’t your mother. Neither are you!… She’s a slut!…Don’t let her talk about me like that!…She’s a whore!…You dirty dirty boy…” Oscar Wilde couldn’t have done better.

psycho-3-1986    ( “Driver, take me to the Hotel San Quentin – I have a reservation.”)

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Comments

  1. I almost died laughing reading this review! This is comedy gold!!! You’ve totally nailed this movie, definitely one of my favourite reviews yet – “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom. Norman Bates is watching you. Like God, he is watching all of us.” 😈

    Liked by 1 person

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