Psycho IV was the swan song for America's favorite nutcase, as Anthony Perkins died of AIDS complications only a year or so after making it. But the character goes out in style.
In many ways it appears this film ignores the events of Psycho II and III in favor of a "where is he now" story which leads into a flashback that in part explains why Norman went crazy.
Tony Perkins gives a sympathetic performance as Norman. You actually feel sorry for him, particularly at the end (which I won't give away). Has he reformed? Is he still crazy?
Olivia Hussey, meanwhile, is marvelous as his insane mother. She's still one of the most underappreciated actresses in movies today, and there's a scene of her standing in a downpour in which she looks exactly like she did when she played Juliet back in 1968. Her scenes with Henry Thomas are full of tension -- including sexual tension, making much of this film an uncomfortable viewing experience. But you don't watch a Psycho movie to relax, do you? Argentine-born, British-raised Hussey also has one of the sexiest voices ever put on film -- although it's a bit odd hearing a midwestern woman having a British accent.
The rest of the supporting cast is also good, especially CCH Pounder as a talk radio host who attracts the attention of Norman.
My only real disappointment is they should have shot the flashbacks in black and white, as several scenes intentionally reflect the original film (Norman spies on his mother making love using the famous peep hole and also stabs a girl in much the same way (music included) that he killed Janet Leigh in the original film).
A fitting send off for one of the most terrifying characters in cinema history.