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Boston Globe (02/Jul/1986) - 'Psycho 3' is 2 too many



'Psycho 3' is 2 too many


A film starring and directed by Anthony Perkins. Written by Charles Edward Pogue. Starring Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey and Roberta Maxwell. At the USA Copley Place and Pi Alley. Rated R (violence and brief nudity).

Norman's back, again!

The poor boy is 54 years old, and he's still having trouble withhis mother. You remember Mrs. Bates — the darling old lady who knifed Janet Leigh and Martin Balsam in the 1960 Hitchcock production and returned a few years ago in "Psycho 2" to slice her way into your heart.

In "Psycho 3," Norman's stiff, stuffed mother returns to make sure her son doesn't harbor any lascivious thoughts. But she's not the only woman in Norman's life. Diana Scarwid checks in and out of the Bates Motel as a nun — uncertain of her vocation. Obviously she had been cloistered for some time and hadn't seen "Psycho" or "Psycho 2," because she allows herself to be booked into room No. 1.

"Psycho," the most brilliant dark comedy ever to escape from a major Hollywood studio, was one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films. The theme of mother/son intertwined with sexual innuendo and Oedipal repercussions is cagily developed through Hitchcock's macabre vision. "There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it," Hitchcock said. In "Psycho 3" there is neither anticipation nor bang.

The only things "Psycho III" has in common with the original are the Victorian mansion, the motel and Anthony Perkins.

Perkins, who is getting a bit old to flit around like a teen-ager, is becoming a parody of himself. His shifting from one foot to another as he stutters his way from house to motel has become as trite as the summer theater performances of the Boys From Bandstand.

The excessive violence — a decapitation and other sordid acts — only serves to point up how far, backwards, the cinema has gone since 1960.