Much like its predecessor, Psycho III is a sequel that people either love or hate. While Psycho II had hints of Norman conquering Mother, and possibly gaining a new female companion, Psycho III pushes this idea further by introducing Maureen Coyle. The young ex-nun, while battling her own demons, meets Norman and the two have a bit of a brief romance. Of course, the idea that Norman has finally been released from his own torment was essentially unraveled at the end of the second film. This makes Psycho III an even more intense ride.
Taking two broken characters and throwing them together in attempt to make each other whole is usually reserved for ridiculous rom-coms or dramas. Putting this idea into Psycho III is what makes it stand out from other horror films of its time. Norman’s intense struggle to balance his overwhelming need to love Mother, while feeling such affection for another individual, is what makes Psycho III another worthy addition to the franchise.
Much like Psycho II, moments from Psycho III have stuck with me over the years. Playing on the fact that Maureen is a reminder of Marion Crane, Norman visualizes Marion’s last moments as Maureen bends over to pick up her suitcase that has fallen over. Cutting these two scenes is damn near beautiful and seeing it on the new Scream Factory Blu-ray release is stunning. In addition to this, the storage of a body in the hotel ice chest has always stayed in my mind – mostly due the Norman’s disposal of it. From pulling out the frigid body, which is stuck inside the chest, to Norman’s creepy yet understandable, sexually repressed kiss of this corpse, these moments stand out even more than the death that lead to it. The most memorable will forever be revisiting the ‘shower scene’. This time, when the curtain is pulled back, Maureen does not see Mother but Mother Mary. It is very striking when coupled with the concept of repression and guilt, and a chance for forgiveness, throughout the film.
The transfer of this film is spectacular. It brings focus to many things, especially when we are introduced to the Bates Motel once again. In the brush of the yard is the book Mary is seen reading in Psycho II, ‘In the Belly of the Beast’ – almost as if to remind us that Mary, herself, has been devoured. There are just many moments within Psycho III that pay homage to not only II but the original film. Anthony Perkins did a brilliant job directing many of the shots so that they reflect Hitchcock’s masterpiece. To have the film restored to such a lovely condition is very awesome. Of course, many of the best parts of the film are not visual, but implied with sound and this disc delivers. The mix is great, especially in that wicked ice chest scene.
The extras on this disc are a bit less than those on Psycho II. There are a few trailers and a still gallery, however the commentary with screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue is absolutely superb. I actually listened to it twice as the informative value is fantastic. There are many moments that are expanded upon with personal stories or references to the original script. It is definitely worth a listen. Along with this are interviews with Jeff Fahey, Katt Shea, Brinke Stevens and Michael Westmore. Out of all of the stories told, hearing Jeff Fahey state that Anthony Perkins’ quick transition into Norman was almost overwhelming to watch is probably the highlight of the interviews. It truly proves that these sequels would not be as respectable as they are without Perkins’ expertise.