29 October 2010

Psycho Sequels

Psycho II may be smothered by its more-classic-than-classic predecessor, but that’s almost an advantage: one of the movie’s chief pleasures is that, with the old sets-and-stars on display in brazen Technicolor, watching it feels like crawling into an old favorite and poking around. Perkins reprises his role as Bates, released from the nuthouse to the consternation of Vera Miles, still playing victim-kin. She repudiates rehabilitation and spends the film conspiring to re-derange the motelier, inundating him with messages from his “mother”. Oh, but there’s a twist; Psycho II fashions a knotty mystery, but also an engaging social critique about how unforgiving conservatives are themselves the real psychos. And, how America creates its own enemies.

It’s the best-scripted sequel, but its follow-up proves the most ably directed...

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