Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Random Observations About Psycho II

 I just can't get enough Psycho.  And in honor of the post I wrote over at The Lightning Bug's Lair today, I had to "get my Psycho on" again.  Except I am heading over to Psycho II, revisiting it yet again to make some random observations. 

Beware of spoilers.  If you haven't seen it (and who the hell are you that you haven't seen it?), you need to!   Then come read this.

*I always found it fantastic that this sequel actually came along 22 years after the original, and Norman had been in jail all that time.  What a concept! None of this 'two years with good measure' bullshit that goes on these days when studios need to resurrect someone to make a few bucks.

*What is up with Lila Loomis (Vera Miles)?  She married Sam?  Whaaa? 

*Hm... let's see.  What does Norman have in his cupboard?  Lots of product placements, that's for sure:  Quaker Oats, Minute Rice, Lays Potato Chips, and Lipton Tea Bags.  Love it that he still has the cojones to drink tea after his...troubles.  I see he bought cereal as well.  Looks like Corn Chex in the cupboard. I was thinking more like Grape Nuts or Corn Nuts. Rude, I know.
He does mention that he has cookies for dessert, but we never see them.  Wonder if they were Nutter Butters?

*The inside of the Psycho house reminds me of something.  Now maybe it's because I've seen these movies one too many times and it is burned in my brain, but for some reason it seems so familiar.  I actually think perhaps it is a lot like one of the abandoned houses we used to hang out *cough cough PARTY cough cough * in when I was a teenager.  In fact, that particular house still stands and I so want to head out there and check it out, just for old times sake.  The staircase, upstairs hallways and rooms, and especially the cellar.  SO much like it. 

*I love how many of the same phrases from the original are used here in the sequel.  For instance, when he tells Mary "it's only sandwiches and milk" - exactly the same thing he gave Marion.  And when he shows Mary the bathroom he once again can't seem to say BATHROOM, and she finishes the word.

*It amazes me that people would put butcher knives within Norman's reach.  There's no way, even after 22 years, that the folks in town wouldn't have total recall about just who Norman is and what he did.  Mary hands him a knife to cut a sandwich, his boss at the diner has him cutting lettuce, he has full access to a coconut cake with a giant knife right on the plate... Duh.

*I hate Meg Tilly's hair. 
On a similar note:  imagine how different the film would be if Jennifer Tilly played Mary? Sexah!

*Speaking of the diner, waaaay back in 1982, a hamburger costs $1.75, an order of fries is $.45 and a Pepsi is $.45.  So, thinking back to math class in the fourth grade - if you got two hamburgers, two orders of fries, and two Pepsi's, what would your bill total be?  Now I totally hated those 'story-problem' kind of math puzzles, but I'm pretty sure that total would not be $3.70.  Which is what it says as the balance due on one of the orders at the diner.  Hm... Maybe it's the "old math".  Maybe you don't need to be able to add to be a set designer.

*Dennis Franz makes a really good slimebucket.  Yikes.  I especially like his pseudo-Hawaiian shirt with the turquoise bolero.  Stylin'.

*Would you take a shower in the Psycho house?  Would you?  Seriously?  Well Mary does, with seemingly no qualms whatsoever.  One look at the freaky-ass wallpaper in there and I'd already be looking for peepholes, maybe stick some Q-tips or the top of the toothpaste cap in any holes I find.  Then again, would I even be naked in that house?

*I love it that Norman plays piano.  And he's playing Moonlight Sonata.  Awesome.  Better yet it actually looks as though Perkins is playing the tune. Probably was.

*Music?  Um, yeah.  Speaking of - I love love love the score for this film.  Jerry Goldsmith was a righteous human being.  Word.  He created some of the most memorable scores in the film world (Alien, Poltergeist, and The Omen, just to name a few) and the music of Psycho II is wonderful.  I searched for years to find it.  Even went so far as to buy it off eBay from someone out of the country...on cassette!  Thankfully I have it on CD now - and I won't say from where I got it.  But I have made two copies, one of which is in my fire safe with the score from Ghost Story.  Yes, I said they are in my fire safe.  Just. In. Case.

*I like the curtains framing all the doorways.  Cool retro-antiquey look.  Want that, please.

 *Those kids that sneak into the house through the basement and into the fruit cellar?  That was SO me.
Oh, and I used to have a pair of canvas Nikes just like that dude was wearing.  Very 1982.

*Anthony Perkins is so spot on in this performance.  The stuttering and stammering nervous-nellie is so flawless.  Makes me love him all the more. 

*What are on the pins on Meg Tilly's terribly outdated raspberry cowl neck sweater?  I paused and paused and still can't make it out.  One of them looks a bit like a yin/yang motif.

*Are those bird pictures on the wall upstairs the same ones from Psycho, like one of the ones that falls off the wall outside the bathroom of Room No. 1 after Marion's murder?  Even if it's not, it's sublime that there are bird pictures on the wall, right?  Great homage to the first film.

*I would KILL to have that stove in Norman's kitchen.  Wait, did I say kill?  I'm under the influence of Mr. Bates, sorry.

*How can Mary sleep with Norman in the room with her, and the knife?  And when he tells her about the nice toasted cheese sandwiches, she so should have went down and made him a few.  I saw the bread on the counter, no doubt he had some cheese in that fridge.  It would have made him feel so much better.  Even better with some tea, right?  Though he does finally make himself one at the end of the film. 

*Two words:  Robert Loggia.

*Ah, Mrs. Spool... Could you possibly purse your lips any more in the like, three scenes you have? 

*When Mary pulls that knife through Norman's hand it is one of the single-most disturbing things I've seen, it just looks so damn painful. Ouch!

*Does anyone have this magazine (at left) or know where I can get it? 

*And on an extremely random note:  my cat likes Norman Bates.  He has a strange habit of sitting up like a human in his little rocking chair and staring at the tv when Psycho or any of the sequels are on.

I take that back, he's not as fond of Psycho III. 
But then, neither am I...


Wednes said...

How thrilling to become aware of someone else who adores Perkins and Psycho as much as I do. My comments in re: your comments are as follows:

Norman was not "in jail." When you are found Not Guilty due to mental defect, you are typically committed (well, maybe not typically, but typically for people who've done multiple homicides) until 2 docs of the court's choosing pronounce you to be "sane."

Those ugly pins on that ugly sweater? In the 80's this prick named Nagel convinced every woman in the developed world that she should look like the cover of Duran Duran's Rio album. Everybody was wearing stupid, meaningless geometric accents in a remarkably effective attempt to get on my nerves.

I also thought Lila totally sucked for marrying Sam.

No Robert Loggia joke? C'mon. R, for Robert Loggia. O, for Oh My God it's Robert Loggia!

I think Psycho 3 was better than 2 in many ways. Personally, I dig all-out batshit crazy Norman better than struggling with sanity Norman. One is just a lot more interesting than another IMHO. That's probably why my other Perkins faves are Crimes of Passion and Edge of Sanity--though Pretty Poison and Fear Strikes Out are not without their charm.
Jeff Fahey, Diana Scarwid and that Roberta Maxwell are all pretty damn good. Though I think both 2 and 3 have overdone murder scenes WAY too influenced by the 80's slasher genre.

And I must close by mentioning that Psycho 4 had lots to like about it, even if it did discount a whole lot of cannon.

Christine Hadden said...

Hi Wednes: Thanks for stopping by :)

Yeah, I'm aware Norman was in truth committed, but considering he couldn't leave due to legal reasons (let alone his mental health), still seems like jail to me. Figure of speech in any case.

And oh yes, I recall the 80's quite well, grew up in them. Hey, at least she wasn't wearing parachute pants or leg warmers. Gah!

Two words: Robert Loggia. Enough said.

I can't get behind Psycho 3 quite as much, but I think it's because Norman was a little TOO bat-shit in that one. Perhaps why you like it more, since you favor the nutty Norman more...

Edge of Sanity! Yes! I need to review that one.

And I like Psycho 4 as well. No matter how wacky it was.

And if you haven't seen it yet, I'd highly recommend The Psycho Legacy. It's awesome. I interviewed the retrospective DVD's creator - another adoring Psycho fan...

Wednes said...

LOL, well said. Not sure if you've ever been in a mental ward, but I daresay it's different than jail. More crafts, for one thing, and movies. ;-]

I was given that Psycho Legacy book, though I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read it yet. I owe a friend a review and I'm on a tight deadline for my own new book. Of course, I seem to have plenty of time to read blogs and comment. LOL

Now that I think about it, Meg Tilly spent all of The Big Chill in leg warmers (except when she was skyclad, obviously). I bet she was happy to forgo them in P2.

B.R. said...

I watched Carnival of Souls for the first time last night and it's funny how they manged to create a genuinely disturbing, creepy movie with nothing except some pasty make-up and camera tricks. Modern horror directors should watch this movie to pick up some pointers on how to build atmosphere without ineptly spewing gallons of blood and guts all over the place.

Christine Hadden said...

Wednes: Ah, that would be a NO to having been in a Psych ward, but I'll take your word for it ;)
And The Psycho Legacy is a retrospective DVD - you have to see it.

BR: So glad you checked out Carnival, it's so...stupendous! I love it and am happy to have spread the word :)

Wednes said...

ha! Thanks for the tip on Psycho Legacy. I was thinking of that bright yellow paperback that came out a year or so ago. Lots of commentary from Joe Stafano.

Somehow, I'm more in the mood to go home and watch Carnival of Souls. My husband was kind enough to buy me that sweet criterion edition.

Will Errickson said...

I haven't seen PSYCHO 2 since a family movie night with a rented VCR in 1984!

Christine Hadden said...

Wednes: LOVE Carnival of Souls, one of my favorites. We have great taste, don't we? ;)

Will: 1984?!!! You have to check it out again. Whoa.

Kaijinu said...

Robert Loggia?

Anyway, I love LOVE Psycho, the whole thing (...well, 3's a little off for me) and I absolutely love this sequel!

Lotsa nice observations here, really funny!