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 Posted:   Jan 21, 2001 - 9:29 AM   
 By:   meegle   (Member)

...but then again, look at what he had to work with.

I finally saw this film in its entirity and came away thinking...well....it was no Psycho. (Not that I expected it to be.

I think the story was simply ok and the direction was...WHO IS THIS GUY ANYWAY??? I'd never heard of him before. And Meg Tilly? YUCK!!!

Anthony Perkins was (again) fantastic as Norman (of course, ANY role he had he WAS Norman). But watching this movie and him made me think he was holding back. I kept expectin him to go ballistic....but NO. The somewhat "twist" ending was interesting, and a little contrived (a la Friday the 13th). I mean as to whom was ACTUALLY doing the murders.

To me the best part of the film is the LAST 5 minutes or so but its a long wait till then.

Mr. Goldsmith seemed to be holding back as well. The score was to "light" and not gritty enough......for me at least.

Does anyone know of any backstory of Goldsmith's approach (if any)?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2001 - 9:37 AM   
 By:   Spacehunter   (Member)

I don't know anything about Goldsmith's score, but I've got an old issue of Cinefantastique somewhere in my closest from the time the film was released, and in the review they go into a good amount of detail on all the different scripts that were written. And if I remember correctly, the guy who wrote the piece said that the script chosen actually wasn't the best of them all, that there were a couple other ones that could have possibily made a much better film.

I've seen a couple different scenes of the film when it was on television and such, and the scenes I saw looked pretty good. The killing of the lady with the shovel was a total shock that caught me by surprise. Did they make, like, four sequels or something like that?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 10:24 AM   
 By:   H. Rocco   (Member)

Anthony Perkins directed PSYCHO III, which sported a fine original score by then-unknown Carter Burwell. PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING, made for cable, followed, with Herrmann's original PSYCHO score adapted by Graeme Revell. An awful prequel revolving around Norman's relationship with his mom. There was also a TV series based around the Bates Motel concept, but I never saw an episode.

I watched PSYCHOs II and III back-to-back a couple of years ago, and found that II, which I loved at the time, is loosely crafted and rather arbitrary. Beautifully shot by Dean Cundey, however, and Goldsmith's score gives the film pretty much what it wanted. (Director Richard Franklin had considered using Herrmann cues from MARNIE, and even the unused TORN CURTAIN, but Verna Fields saw the picture and insisted that they should get an original score. Every composer in town wanted the job, as they say, but Goldsmith was the one who got it.)

I don't think this is one of Goldsmith's stronger works, even within the suspense genre at which he excels, but it has its moments; and Anthony Perkins, when he heard the piano demo played back, he actually burst into tears, thinking Goldsmith had completely understood the real heart of Norman's character. He wanted Goldsmith to score PSYCHO III, but there was a scheduling conflict (probably with POLTERGEIST II which came out the same season.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2001 - 11:20 PM   
 By:   SPQR   (Member)

After a recent viewing of "Psycho II", I've concluded the film is over-scored.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 5:32 AM   
 By:   Bill R. Myers   (Member)

A superb score. Terrific suspense writing with movement and textural interest, bringing the film an urgency that it otherwise lacked. Oh ok, some of the repeating piano and synth stuff maybe tough listening on its own, but it mirrors an irrational mind more disturbingly than any other Goldsmith score.


NP: Titus (Elliot Goldenthal)
[This message has been edited by Bill R. Myers (edited 22 January 2001).]

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 5:32 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Please refresh my memory: were not II & III more or less filled with "camp" vs. the "black humor" of the original? I ask not to defend nor praise the score to II but to suggest something about the approach to its composition.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 5:44 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

I agree with Bill's post above. I find Psycho II to be an excellent score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 10:18 AM   
 By:   H. Rocco   (Member)

II had its campy moments, Howard, but not as excessively as III; yet PSYCHO III is to me, by far better made. BEAUTIFULLY shot by Clint Eastwood's favorite cameraman at the time, Bruce Surtees, and Carter Burwell really brought out the heart of the story.

NP: roomie has that maddening Bjork on the machine

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 1:51 AM   
 By:   Michael Ware   (Member)

Psycho II:
OK film. Not good, not bad, but then I didn't really go ape over the first one. I liked the sympathy JG wrung out of the picture in his melancholia theme for Norman; it was sort of provocative. Impressionism instead of a horrorshow. Liked the stair case cue end of side one. Liked the piano bits. Didn't care that much for the synth program though it was probably supposed to be distorted. Really liked the string playing on the title theme, though the melody is too close to The Illustrated Man (almost like a knockoff). Twilight Zone the Movie obliterated it a couple of weeks later.


Psycho III: if I remember it at all, it was OK.
[This message has been edited by Michael Ware (edited 22 January 2001).]

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 2:12 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Thank you, H, for restoring my memory banks. III was the one with the ingenious Virgin Mary shower twist but that lady reporter should have been dispensed with altogether (as if the name "Venable" wasn't too obvious, ha ha). II was certainly more serious. Gonna have to rent the video for a refresher and also to qualify any meaningful assessment of the score.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 8:42 AM   
 By:   Cooper   (Member)


I think Psycho II's a very good film; in some ways I prefer it to Hitchcock's original. There's a weird kind of heroic/sympathetic view it takes of Bates--superbly played by Perkins--as he makes a Herculean effort to sort out what's going on in his new life on the outside, deal with his own nagging concerns of "relapse," etc. As a character study, it's very well done, eliciting empathy and--by turns--fear from the audience when Bates--despite his best efforts--begins to slip. It's a perkins showcase, and the irony that Bates never had any involvement with the murders, save the final one, brings the whole thing to a bittersweet, tragic close. Dig that Norman/Christ parallel: the twin hand wounds inflicted by Mary, his profound agony after shovelling coal into the furnace. People always seem to miss that damned Christ allegory...

I think the score was fine. The synth boldly proclaims Goldsmith's intention that his score not to be compared to Herrmann's Psycho...and--as ML Ware added--it was appropriately sympathetic, sad. It's got one of those great, off-meter suspense motifs for the murder cues--the teen in the basement, Dennis Franz's character--and some nice, murky textural stuff to underscore Norman's decaying mental state. One of my favorite moments in the score is not on the album, the surging synth beats as Norman persists on believing he is talking with his Mother as Mary--Meg Tilly--stands before him, trying to talk him down. I don't remember the plot well enough to remember whether it could've been Mary's mother on the phone, or whether this was an instance where Bates was truly confused as he continues a conversation with "mother" when noone could've been on the line. At any rate, I'd go so far as to say Psycho II is actually moving at those times when Bates recognizes he may be becoming unstable and appears frightened. The original Pyscho showed us a Psycho; Psycho II gave us a Psycho with self-awareness...and examined his losing effort to hold himself together...before tragically, delivering him back into a blindly psychotic condition.

And could there have been a sweeter line than, "...you smell like the toasted cheese sandwiches my mother used to make..."


--Cooper

[This message has been edited by Cooper (edited 23 January 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Cooper (edited 23 January 2001).]

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Hey, we need more analyses like that. Thank you, Cooper. Am looking forward to another viewing.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2001 - 11:45 PM   
 By:   Cooper   (Member)


Thanks for the compliment, Howard. I've actually been a fan of this film for some time...and I jump at the chance to defend it under the usual hail of bullets and shouts of heresy when it's being weighed against the Hitchcock original. Sure, they asked for it, brazenly slapping a "II" onto a follow-up to an acknowledged classic. But a good film is a good film.

 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 1:08 AM   
 By:   meegle   (Member)

Yowza Cooper. You actually made me appreciate it more.

But dont you think it was a little contrived to introduce SO late that the woman we thought was "mother" was not his actual mother?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 1:28 AM   
 By:   Cooper   (Member)

Well, maybe, but I think that actually enhacnces the sadness of the film, revealing how Bates was probably doing all right until he was victimized by these women who were hell bent on pushing him over the edge. In retrospect, we see Bates as an "innocent" who is thrown off balance and destabilzed by Mary's Mom, Lyla (...if that's what her name was).

Sure, the film turns out not to be about what we thought it was, but something more deeply affecting than that. Wouldn't the film have been more tired and predictable had Bates been the killer all along?


--Cooper

 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 1:46 AM   
 By:   meegle   (Member)

Unfortunatley I was trying to guess what the hell was going on while watching it and here is what I thought was going to happen by the end.

A. I said to myself that if indeed Norman was NOT the killer then it was either going to be Leila or Mary. Most likely I thought it was Leila because she seemed dead-set on getting him back in the sanitarium and could easily have justified her actions (in her mind) by killing for this end. I would end the film with Norman finally going ballistic and killing both of them (still appearing innocent to the police)with Mary and Leila having underestimated the REAL psycho in the house.

or

B. Mary would have been a more interesting killer. After all she was forced to put on the "cap and gown" as it were. A more interesting treatise of narrative would have been Mary becoming so sympathetic with Norman that she would have suddenly "snapped" and taken on the "mother" persona for him. Of course the believability alarm goes off then because Mary seems horribly well-adjusted at the beggining of the film. The story would simply have needed a little tweaking to make her sympathetic to the audience as Norman was to the audience in the first film. The end could be the same exact ending as II was written except without the "other" mother coming to visit and the shovel scene. Simply end it with Norman in the house "alone" and VERY insecure as to his sanity.
[This message has been edited by meegle (edited 23 January 2001).]

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 5:46 AM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

Goldsmith's PSYCHOtic world is every bit as compelling as Herrmann's. A fine score, a real dandy.

DH

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2001 - 8:37 AM   
 By:   Gustavo Joseph   (Member)

I liked PSYCHO II, and to quote a loca lfilm critic "it´s amazing that they could do a nice movie with the name PSYCHO II". The script is, as you guys who also like the movie said, very clever and full of twists, the ending was a surprise for me (my only complaint was that the "real mother" story comes with no clue, that´s not fair - they take that from the hat in the last minute, not fair!!), but plausible. And the movie is dramatic, watch a man fight for his sanity is sad.
The Vera Miles death scene, with the knife in her mouth was scary enough for this 9 or 10 year old kid (the age when i saw the movie for the first time), stayed in my mind for a long time. As for Goldsmith music, when I saw the movie again, I though that the synth music that served as the "murder" motif was soooooooo weak when compared to Herrmann´s, but I think Goldsmith was clever going for something totally different - no one could compose nothing better than the original "Murder" theme.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 24, 2001 - 9:31 AM   
 By:   Beatty   (Member)

My girlfriend at the time refused to be in the room during the synthy slash noises. The main theme is about perfect for the subject. I remember liking the Norman-as-victim tragedia approach. (But closed the door for Psycho III, which was produced anyway and was pretty awful.)

------------------
np: http://www.geocities.com/kyle_beatty" TARGET=_blank>www.geocities.com/kyle_beatty

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 24, 2001 - 9:37 AM   
 By:   Michael Ware   (Member)

I'm glad Richard Franklin has finally got some nice things said about his stuff. Link, there's a FILM! I never saw what was so awful about Link, Psycho II, Road Games, even Cloak and Dagger, though I'm sure some of us have.
I'm up for the shot by shot remake of Psycho II.

 
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