Psycho II is an impressive, 23-years-after followup to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 suspense classic.
New story, set 22 years later, has Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) released from a mental institution on the petition of his psychiatrist, Dr Raymond (Robert Loggia), over the objections of Lila Loomis (Vera Miles) whose sister he murdered (Janet Leigh in the first film).
Securing a job as cook’s assistant at a local diner, Bates is befriended by a young waitress Mary (Meg Tilly) who moves into his house as an empathetic companion. A series of mysterious murders ensue, beginning with the killing of the obnoxious manager Toomey (Dennis Franz), who has turned the Bates family business into a hot-sheets motel.
Director Richard Franklin deftly keeps the suspense and tension on high while dolling out dozens of shock-of-recognitions shots drawn from the audience’s familiarity with Psycho.
Reprising his famous role, Perkins is very entertaining, whether stammering over the pronunciation of ‘cutlery’ or misleading the audience in both directions as to his relative sanity.