Reviewed By: Billy
I recently heard a well-respected film critic say, “If you only see one Psycho movie, see Psycho III.”
Okay, that’s a lie. It was my brother, JM, who said that.
But really, he deserves a lot of respect for having the courage to say something so wise and yet to sure-to-be controversial. Psycho III really is the greatest of the series. Well, other than the amazing remake starring the self-pleasuring Vince Vaughn and a walkman. But that’s another review for another day.
Opening with actress Diana Scarwid screaming, “THERE IS NO GOD” as if she’s been asked to imitate a coyote readying for attack, this masterpiece immediately thrusts the viewer into a world of hammy overacting and annoying camera angles, a world that will make the next hour and a half fly by like years. This opening scene, in which young nun Diana accidentally causes the death of another nun, easily surpasses the original’s “death of Arbogast” as possibly the worst-staged demise in film history, especially when followed by an evil nun gleefully taunting, “You’ll burn in hell for this!” instead of running for help. Man, nuns are mean.
Anyway, Diana runs away and hitches a ride with a lecherous drifter who kicks her out of his car after she rejects his advances (his farewell, by the way, is my new favorite quote, “You could’ve been comin’ rather than goin’!”). And so, the poor gal ends up walking to the deserted Bates Motel. Just in case we stupid viewers couldn’t figure out that it’s supposed to be deserted, the director lets this tumbleweed the size of an industrial washing machine blow through the frame:
And that great director is…umm…Alfred Hitchcock, who clearly forced Anthony to play with great restraint when he originated the role of Normal Bates back in 1960. Here, Mr. Perkins directs himself to immediately go off the deep end, speaking his lines in such a jarring, machine-gun style that I challenge any of you to listen to his first few lines of dialogue and have any clue what he’s talking about.
Anyway, the arrival of Diana sets poor Norman on an even further downward spiral. Hell, he becomes a twitching, jittery mess, and all apparently because of her remarkable resemblance to Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh in the original). It’s actually pretty amazing that Norman’s been able to survive during the years since he’s been released from the looney bin, considering all it took to make him completely nuts again was a woman with short blonde hair…which, let’s be honest, is the only thing Diana Scarwid and Janet Leigh have in common. That said, I defy anyone to tell me that Diana Scarwid and Denise Crosby (of this amazing film) are not the same woman:
The second death scene is even classier than the first, in that it involves a young hotel guest actually sitting on the toilet when she bites the big one. She inexplicably grabs the rolls of toilet paper as she falls off the pot, leading Mrs. Bates to make perhaps the most awesome move in slasher history: