|Olivia Hussey Nude In Psycho IV: The Beginning|
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Stephen King's favorite adaptation supervisor Mick Garris got yet another dream gig with this 1990 sequel to Hitchcock's classic movie, and while Garris' King adaptations have left much to be desired, his usually bland direction is absent from this compelling continuation of the story of Norman Bates. Reprising his most known role for the final time, Anthony Perkins doesn't do a whole lot, yet is still as chilling as ever as the psychotic mama's boy who has settled into a somewhat normal life, only to have that killing urge return inside him. The reason Perkins doesn't do much here? He spends 98% of his screen time on the phone with CCH Pounder who plays a talk radio host doing a live show on matricide. Via Perkins' narration, we learn the back story of Norman Bates' childhood and how his schtizophrenic mother Norma sculpted him into the disturbed freak that he'd become.
In the flashback sequences, Henry Thomas gets the honor of playing a put-upon and emotionally destroyed young Norman, and he sets to task fairly well, balancing rage with the horror of his actions. Alas, it is veteran actress Olivia Hussey who steals the show, and as this is an origins story, the true villain of the piece is Hussey's raging and seduction Norma Bates. One minute loving and warm, the next shouting and dehumanizing, the Hell of Norman's childhood is vividly portrayed and the motivations for his future crimes are clearly set in place.
A nice addition to an already rather stellar series, the Psycho movies remained the classiest and most consistently entertaining of the various horror franchises by always keeping an eye on its characters and thus staying above the typical hack and slash ways of the various series it helped spawn. The movie is not yet available on DVD, but hopefully will join the rest of its brethren soon. laso starring Sharen Camille as one of Norman's first (and cutest) victims.