Posted to youtube by user NormanTwoBates
So this is the end of the official series, there is the made for TV pilot/movie and then of course is the upcoming Bates Motel series on A&E, but both of those I will discuss in the future.
Psycho 4 – simplifying it alright – is both the final chapter of the series and also gives us insight into what has caused Norman’s plight. It begins four years after the 3rd film, with a AM radio talk show, in typical exploitative fashion of the time, discussing boys whom murder their mothers, which leads into a caller in the guise of Ed – a reference to Ed Gein, the murderer Psycho and to a lesser extent, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, among others, is based on –
Ed of course is very obviously Norman Bates and eventually he slips up and does it admit to it, but he details the back story to how he became what he is now.
There are themes of a semi-incestuous relationship scarring him, some murders that took place before Marion Crane’s and even the killing of his mother, herself. The flashbacks are for the most part entertaining, there is a return to very little gore again, but the violence is still nonetheless effective. Olivia Hussey is quite stunning appearance wise, as Norman’s mother and her nude scene, albeit brief is very good. I have one minor nit pick on her tho, since her sister in the 2nd film, whom she was a blood relative and was raised with, did not have a British accent…but that is complete nit picking. Another indiscrepancy surronds the death of Norman’s father, in the 3rd film, it is revealed that his mother had in fact murdered his father, however here it is alluded to as being an accident involving a beehive- now unless this is Sleepaway Camp – that makes little sense. The final act of the movie updates us on Norman’s current state, his new life and how yet again he was let out of an institution and apparently rehabilitated – man the law enforcement and court systems in this series are incompetent – and the ending is not terribly shocking at all.
All in all, I liked this movie. Again Anthony Perkins was great, the back story was entertaining enough and most loose ends were tied. It’s the weak point of the series, sure, but 4 films in and still not half bad, in the franchise hungry 80s, is impressive.
Pros: Perkins is great as always, Olivia Hussey was beyond attractive, the back story was effective and the violence was not too badly done.
Cons: I was not big on the ending, some minor nit picks as mentioned above, would have liked it more violent.