31 Days of Horror – Day 22!

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I’m sensing a theme this year. “Underrated horror sequels” seems to be my muse this year. But see, here’s the thing. I love a good movie. And a lot of these sequels all get lost in the mix. We have all the main franchises: Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street. Their sequels are famous. Nightmare 3 and New Nightmare are two of the best horror sequels out there. Halloween II is great, and I’ve heard time has been kind to the 3rd one. Shit, Friday the 13th parts 3 and 6 are better than the original in my opinion. But this year I’ve been talking about less well-publicized, but still good, horror sequels. I thought Poltergeist 2 and TCM 2 were excellent. And today, I have another for you.

Psycho II
Directed by Richard Franklin
Written by Tom Holland

First I want to say that Tom Holland, the writer, directed Fright Night, Child’s Play, and three Tales from the Crypt episodes. So. He’s pretty great.

Anyway, Norman Bates got away with it (not guilty because of insanity) and now, 20-some years later, he’s out of the institution and moving back into his old house. Lila Loomis (formerly Crane, played by Vera Miles, reprising her role from the original) is in the courtroom with a petition to keep him locked up. Norman gets a job in a diner and meets a girl named Mary, who he invites into his home because she’s having relationship troubles. Norman starts to find notes and phone calls from his mother though, and starts to lose all that wonderful progress he made in therapy.

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The first thing I need  to say is that, in movies, sequels don’t have to be as good as the originals to still be good. Some people just can’t accept that. They always have to say “well, it’s not as good as the first one, but…” but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be good and make sense following the original (unless it’s an anthology series, then it doesn’t have to follow the plot or characters, necessarily).

So Psycho II is great on its own. Does it need to exist? No. Am I glad it does? Absolutely. It presents us with an entirely different style of narrative, interesting and unpredictable twists, and more of Norman’s perspective this time. He is played by Anthony Perkins (who plays him in all four Psycho movies) and although there aren’t any scenes in this I love as much as the look on his face in the big twist of Psycho, there is one scene in particular (the “walking down the stairs scene,” for those of you reading who have seen the movie) that I loved almost as much.

All-in-all, it’s a solid sequel to an all-time classic, and it’s a movie I believe deserves a little more recognition than it gets.

P.S.

I started watching Rob Zombie’s Halloween II today, got 56 minutes in, and literally couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t the gore, or the violence, or too scary. It was how idiotic the script and directing were, and his wild misunderstanding of modern counterculture. It was mind-numbingly stupid and I don’t recommend it even if you love Zombie’s other movies (I really like The Devil’s Rejects and Lords of Salem). Stay away.

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