7 / 10

Psycho is arguably one of the greatest horror films of all time. It could also be said to be the first slasher (or first mainstream one) and its influence on Horror and slasher films cannot be understated. This set contains the original masterpiece and the later three sequels, which are not such ‘masterpieces’, but are interesting to watch in their own rights.

Psycho Marion Crane is on the run after stealing from her work. During her getaway she finds herself at the Bates Motel. A seemingly normal man, Norman Bates greets her and rents her a room. This is when the nightmare begins and only keeps going. If you have never seen it you will probably not get a shower for a long time after in this classic Hitchcock horror/slasher.

Psycho 2 Many years later, Norman has been released from the Psychiatric Hospital and now deemed to be fit to go back into society. He tries to escape his past, but the pull of the Bates Motel and the Horrors within continue. Is it Norman this time or could this be someone trying to frame him?

Psycho 3 Picking up where the last film left off, Norman encounters a Nun who attempts to help Norman and this leads to much confusion for him. His desires and the desires of “Mother” may mean that he is never able to live a normal life.

Psycho 4: The Beginning Norman calls a radio show to discuss his life as we learn about Norman’s childhood and his “loving” mother. Will this be able to exorcise Norman of his past demons or just spur him back to is old ways. This mix of prequel and sequel was originally a TV movie and is included in both Cinema and TV versions.

It would be wrong to dismiss the last three films of this series, but I have never seen such a dramatic drop-off in terms of quality. It is actually quite fascinating to watch a film like the original Psycho with its nuance, shot composition, use of tension and just perfect pacing, acting, score and then compare it to any of the sequels. Usually, it takes one or two (like the Friday 13th or Jaws series) for the films to show their wear and tear, but this happened from the second film onwards.

Now this is not to say they are bad films, they are only bad in comparison to the original. Similar to any of the Jaws sequels, they just pale in comparison to the iconic original. It probably doesn’t help that the first two films use the shower scene from the original and almost hammers home just how far the quality has gone down.

Psycho 2 is fine for some parts and maybe if 3 had been a Part 1 and 2 it would have worked better. The acting is fine and I had forgotten how lovely Meg Tilly was. The ending was great and so very unexpected. With 3 it just feels like a rehash of the second one and really unless you watch them back to back you may have no idea what is going on.

Psycho 4 is the best of the sequels and Olivia Hussey as Mother is just perfect as is Henry Thomas as a young Norman. Of course the issue with this film now is that the amazing Bates Motel show exists which did this story so much better. However, as a film, with a very weird cameo by John Landis for some reason, it is fine at telling the story of why Norman was the way he was and a fitting end to the series of films.

It is strange that they don’t include Gus Van Sant’s 1998 Psycho which is an almost shot for shot remake of Hitchcock’s original and is not as bad as everyone thinks, again as long as you don’t know the original. In some ways if you watch that version followed by the sequels here it doesn’t have as much as a whiplash effect in terms of quality.

Each disk of the set comes with multiple extras for each film and so even if you don’t enjoy them there is enough to show the people behind the creation. I found a lot of this was just interview and behind the scenes from the time which is fine. Each film comes with an entertaining and interesting commentary and the set itself is just beautiful in regards to what you get included along with the films and makes it a real collectors item.

If you are a fan of the original you might want to seek this out on its own. It’s not that the sequels are bad, they are just not good enough, but then the original was made by Alfred Hitchcock and so anything less is not good enough. The other films are enjoyable to some extent and though I would say 3 can be ignored altogether, 2 has its moments and 4 is a nice wraparound for the Bates Motel. This is a set that you may have to be mad to want to own, but then we all go a little mad sometimes.

Your Opinions and Comments

Be the first to post a comment!