Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Bring me the knife, Norman...bring it to me.."

PSYCHO III, yes, Three.

WHY do I love this movie? Well, there are a couple o' reasons.
1. It's insane.
2. It's funny
3. I think Alfred Hitchcock would like this film.

But most of all - it's when Mother moves and speaks independently of Norman...awesome. I so hated this when I saw it years ago..."Hitch'd roll over in his grave, etc." ..
...but I was wrong...way wrong - there had to be some pretty interesting conversations during the genesis of this story..."Are we really making Mother talk independently of Norman...what the hell are we saying here?"
I love the Mother character in this movie. This time she is far more menacing than before - finally giving us the sense that Norman truly doesn't have the strength to resist his own mind. Inevitability. This isn't simply a controlling matriarch personality but an actual monster. And that voice... malevolent and creepy...

The movie is so strange and ...I dunno - "dirty 80's", that it has an odd though Norman Bates had directed it...and not Anthony Perkins. Psycho 3's underpinnings are as much the schlock inspired by Psycho as the original film, itself...more, in fact.
But...Norman's not a bad director, as it tuns out...the film has some really good shots...and about half of it is tongue firmly in cheek. Great.
Mind you, heavy-handed metaphors abound(with a Vertigo inspired opening) ..and I can't help but guess that Perkin's hidden life might also be playing into his themes and imagery. He plays a kooky paranoid with a secret very, very well...

Like Spielberg's shark(the non-functioning Bruce that necessitated his film be suspense over action), I do believe that the imposed limitations on Hitchcock's violence lent him more class than he'd have preferred having ...again, I think he'd smile at Psycho 3. It's violence feels different than the previous two it's taking a self-aware pleasure...again, like Norman is directing a film about "Mother".
Psycho 3 also boasts one very strange bit in which we finally get to see Norman speaking as Mother...oddly edited, it ends up a spooky scene with a subtle tone of the supernatural...the place I'm surprised they didn't go with a fourth film.

...And there are those two good reasons the sequels to these films are not as easily dismissed as some other follow-ups of this calibre or better...the set and the star. The sequels all use the Universal set and the original Norman...lending a 30 year history to the whole thing - to the buildings themselves and as a cinephile watching CG replace "matter", this matters to me.
And that last shot is the antithesis of Psycho's sterile, "innocent" Mother/Norman - with a clearly mad Norman cradling the mummified hand of his dead mother - that fade on that face...good, cheesy fun.

And we all know that everybody loves at least one lousy film...this is mine.

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