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Psycho III

Psycho III (1986)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2



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Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 10,371

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Movie Info

For his third outing as disturbed innkeeper Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins directed as well as starred in the thriller Psycho III. This time out, Norman is still manning the desk at the Bates Motel, where he now has an assistant, Duane (Jeff Fahey), and a new long-term tenant, Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid). Maureen has been seeing Duane and has some issues to resolve in her life; she gave up her vows as a nun not long ago, and she isn't sure just how she feels about either spiritual or earthly


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Charles Edward Pogue, Robert Bloch

Sep 21, 1999

Universal Pictures

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All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (8) | DVD (4)

Perkins tries to imitate Hitchcock's visual style, but most of the film is made without concern for style of any kind, unless it's the bludgeoning nonstyle of Friday the 13th.

October 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The whole enterprise is dependent almost entirely upon self-referential incidents and attitudes for its effect, and it eventually becomes wearying.

June 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has a cast of talented, self-effacing actors, who don't upstage the material, and an efficient screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue, who doesn't beat you over the head to prove that he has a sense of humor.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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The movie was directed by Perkins, in his filmmaking debut. I was surprised by what a good job he does.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The problem with this outing, which marked Perkins' directorial debut, is that it largely plays like a run-of-the-mill slasher flick.

October 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

[Blu-ray Review] Worth a look, but creatively falls victim to a series that slowly declined with each new entry.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source:

Not just some actor who has been given a chance to direct, Perkins has a style and, like fellow director-actors Orson Welles and Clint Eastwood, knows his own persona, knows how to photograph and light himself for the proper effect.

October 20, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Much better than the second.

December 27, 2004
Juicy Cerebellum

any fan of the Hitchcock classic whose curiosity was snagged by Psycho II should find something of interest to see here.

December 4, 2004 Full Review Source:

A twisted tale of sexuality, religion and misogyny

August 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It is strong in parodying the original, so fans should look out for it so long as they've got a sense of humour.

September 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Superior horror sequel stylishly made by star Anthony Perkins

July 30, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Psycho III

Picking up where Psycho II left off, the Bates Motel is again the site of some nasty doings as the rehabilitated Norman, who has installed a new ice machine, attempts to put his life back together. Old habits die hard, however, in this sequel marking the directorial debut of Anthony Perkins.

We open with a strange prologue in which nun-to-be Maureen (Diana Scarwid) denounces God, inadvertently causes the death of another nun, and runs away. Wandering through the desert, she?s picked up by greasy drifter Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey), who does not seem to get that she is not picking up on his advances because a) she used to live in a convent, and b) he is a greasy drifter.

Anyway, the two split ways, and we move on to the Bates Motel, where things have picked up right where the finale of Psycho II left off. (There is even a flashback in case you have forgotten how that one ended.) Our old pal Norman (Anthony Perkins ¿who else?) has posted a help wanted sign, and it is Duane who gets the job. Maureen shows up later, and Duane gives her the infamous cabin no. 1. But Norman cannot shake the feeling she is not Maureen, but Marion Crane.

As a movie, it is so-so. The film plays like a smart mystery poorly mixed with a dumb 80s slasher flick; there is one rather graphic murder scene that feels added in just to cash in on the horror trend of the time. It does not seem a part of the Psycho series. The other deaths, however, are right in line with the minimum-blood, suspense-over-gore technique.

The plot is a little nonexistent this time around. Norman seems to be falling for Maureen, and vice versa. Duane is a creep. A nosy reporter (Roberta Maxwell) has come to town to check up on Norman's rehabilitation. And mother?s been talking again.

That is all there is, really. Gone is the intricate mystery of Psycho II (I will not bother to compare this to the original Psycho; it would not be fair). In its place is a rather interesting, softer character study - can a mass murderer and a mentally unbalanced former religious type find love? - blended with a less engaging chain of killings. The screenplay, by Charles Edward Pogue, lacks the kick of the previous entries, as it does not contain the glorious surprises of those films.

Which brings me to those three key scenes. Two are just nifty bits that always catch my eye. In one, the famous shower scene is recreated nearly shot-for-shot... in a telephone booth. In the other, a body is hidden in the motel's ice machine; will the sheriff notice the ice he is sucking on has some blood on it.

It is the third key scene that really gets to me. It is yet another take on the shower scene, this time with Mother entering Maureen's room just as she did those many years ago. But the script throws us a curve, resulting in a move that is smarter than anything else in the movie. I will not tell you what it is (you shall have to see for yourself), but it is a scene that gets me every time.

Behind all this is Perkins, who, in addition to his reprisal of his most famous role, also marks his directorial debut. Perkins knows the material and seems to enjoy tinkering with the characters. His decision to have everyone play a little too over-the-top doesn?t quite work, as what is meant to come off as black humor often times comes off as merely Jeff Fahey not acting well. Still, Perkins? playful mood keeps the movie from sinking into an overly-serious zone, and some of the plot?s dumber moments are allowed to be tossed aside with tongue in cheek.

So just as Psycho II was a great movie on its own and a fair successor to Psycho, Psycho III is a decent movie on its own and a fair successor to Psycho II. Its not a great movie by any means, but any fan of the Hitchcock classic whose curiosity was snagged by ?Psycho II? should find something of interest to see here. It is not, as its ads once claimed, the most shocking of them all, but it does have enough clever bits to earn a recommendation.
December 14, 2012

Super Reviewer

This third entry is a slight step down from part two, but still manages to deliver enough thrills for what it is. Directed by lead actor Anthony Perkins, Psycho III is a satisfactory entry with nothing really new going for it. Despite this, there are all the signatures of what makes a Psycho film, minus the Alfred Hitchcock treatment. For what it is, it entertains, but mildly. Perkins seems to direct with uncertainty with the known fact that the original 1960 classic is so iconic not only in the horror genre, but in the cinematic medium. Despite this, Anthony Perkins directs a pretty decent flick that is fun, but lacks something to make it worth seeing again. The thing I liked about this film is that Perkins managed to convey the creepy atmosphere well enough by some well placed scenes and a good performance as Norman Bates. This flick will surely divide fans even more than the second sequel, but one thing is for sure, it's definitely not awful. As a directorial first for Anthony Perkins, he was able to convey a picture fun enough to make for a worthwhile Slasher. However, what bugs about the sequels is that though amusing to watch, it kind of ruins the suspense factor of the Hitchcock original by having a much higher body count and more blood. Even if it's a Psycho film, the films shouldn't be seen as just a Slasher outing because along with Peeping Tom, Psycho set the standard for the Slasher genre fifteen, twenty years later. These films were way ahead in their time and revolutionized horror cinema forever. Psycho III is entertaining, but can't be compared to the original due to the Slasher aspect of the film. Nonetheless, worth seeing.
November 28, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Anthony Perkins jumps in the directors seat for this third installment, and he does a mighty fine job. There are still some rough parts around the edges, but for a first time this is great. It's obvious he is finding his own style by incorporating the skills and techniques of others. The cinematography has a very 80s, nostalgic feel, and is certainly taken from Blood Simple. Perkins also uses some tricks he seems to have picked up from Hitchcock. I love the toilet kill scene, as we see the roll of toilet paper roll down in a similar way to the shower curtain being pulled in the first film. The film picks up where number 2 left off, with Norman having reverted to his old ways after his real mother confronted him. This means there is a true lack of mysterious suspense surrounding the film. Having seen the second film, Bates is still a character to root for, as we know he has the capabilities to be good, but it's the insanity around him that causes him to slip. There are many parts that feel forced, and it smells of studio interference. The last shot, for example, completely undoes the ending and what it should have represented. A great addition for a rather surprisingly awesome trilogy.
September 15, 2012

Super Reviewer

I can easily admit to being a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic PSYCHO, and I found that PSYCHO II was not half bad. Both films managed to maintain a high level of suspense and thrill, even with the shocking amount of blood in the latter film. Sadly, PSYCHO III rarely seems to try for suspense, and when it does, it fails. It doesn't require tuning down the contrast on your TV to determine whether this is Norman Bates slashing or "Mother". Everything that made the original such a well-done classic is out of the question for this film, and instead it has become just about a full-fledged slasher. On top of that, most of the scenes that define this genre are utterly and unintentionally funny. In one scene, for instance, a woman enters a phone booth, only to get slashed by Norman Bates. Once her screaming comes to an end, we see a dead body and a phone that has not yet been hung up. What we hear: "We're sorry. You're number could not be completed as dialed. Please hang up and dial your operator for further assistance."

Full Review:
December 30, 2011

Super Reviewer

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