"Picking up where Psycho 2 left off, Norman Bates is a free man living in his old home behind the Bates Motel, his new stuffed mother his only roommate. He lives a quiet life managing the less than successful business, spending most of his time practicing taxidermy on the local birds that eat from his poisoned feeder. But things get all shook up again when Maureen Coyle, a young, runaway nun, enters his world. Maureen's short, blonde hair reminds Norman far too much of his most unforgettable victim, Marion Crane, causing a myriad of conflicting feelings to well up within him. But Norman is not the only one who is disturbed and confused. Maureen has left the Church because she has so lost her faith that she recently attempted suicide and caused the death of a fellow nun who attempted to stop her. With her feelings of hopelessness and guilt, Maureen still hasn't given up on the idea of taking her own life. And Maureen is not Norman's only problem. Duane Duke, a pretty boy, would-be singing star with a dark side on his way to L.A., has come by the Bates Motel looking for a job. Norman immediately makes him Assistant Manager in charge of the day shift. But while Norman should be keeping a close eye on Duane's improper interests and activities, it's Duane who's keeping a sharp eye on him. And Duane isn't the only one. A nosy reporter has turned up in town and is asking questions about Norman, who wants nothing but to be left alone to TRY to have a normal life. Things aren't looking good for Norman at all. It's hard enough for him to battle off his mother's urges while he attempts to start a relationship with Maureen, without having to deal with all the watching eyes springing up around him. When Duane's nocturnal sextivities and a group of anxious young sports fans eventually result in an abundance of "sluts" at the usually peaceful motel, it quickly becomes more than Norman, or Mother, can stand. Anthony Perkins' directorial debut is an excellent example of how not all sequels, even number threes, have to stink. In fact, except for the Bates Motel series pilot "movie" that didn't have Perkins in it at all, I'd have to say all the Psycho films are pretty darn good. None of the sequels make any attempt to be Hitchcockian, yet they all keep the stories and characters intact and a step above the usual slasher fair. The duality of the Norman Bates character that Hitchcock presented so well in the original is clearly what gives the sequels so much to work with. This man's entire life is interesting and worth chronicling, not just that first major incident in the 60s. Of course, as with the other sequels, this film is in color, and quite gory and sexual, unlike the original classic film. But this just helps to provide a nice separation for those who dislike sequels and feel the Hitchcock Masterpiece should have been left alone. For the rest of us, this film is an excellent addition to Norman Bates' legacy, with plenty of moments that keep you guessing about what will happen next."
Underrated sequel deserves another look
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 07/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's about time Universal got around to releasing a decent disc of Psycho 3. The film, directed by star Anthony Perkins and released theatrically in 1986, has widely been regarded as a marked decline in quality for the Psycho series. And I admit, I once regarded it the same way. Unlike the relatively tame Psycho 2, the third film in the series ups the sex & violence level considerably. This was probably a conscious attempt to compete with films of its time...remember, "splatter" films were big in the mid-80's.
But, like Hithcock's original masterpiece, there's more going on here than meets the eye. Perkins the Director appears to have studied not only Hitchcock (the opening scene is straight out of VERTIGO), but other contemporary filmmakers like John Carpenter and Dario Argento. Psycho 3 is almost equal parts fright film and black comedy...a combination that certainly describes many of Hitchcock's most successful films.
Though hardly a perfect film, Psycho 3 is a worthy successor to its predecessors and a delighfuly twisted horror film in its own right. Give it another look, and I hope you'll agree. "
A comment on the DVD
Monty Moonlight | 07/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just thought I would shed some light on the quality of the DVD disc technically speaking. Out of the entire presentation I was extremely surprised by the quality of the audio. The Dolby Surround track is well used, mostly by Carter Burwells unique score. All the speakers are used occasionally adding to the dark mood that some of the scenes convey. The sound is always clear and noise free. The dialogue driven scenes stay close to the center channel and move only from time to time. The video print seems to have aged well and doesn't show any large amount of dust or scratches. Colors are saturated very naturally and there doesn't appear to be any distracting pixelation. Some of the titles do appear to slightly shimmer, but it looks as if it was just the old fashioned techique used to make them. The letterboxed picture feels wider than the 1.85 ratio stated on the case, but only slightly. Overall a very nice DVD by itself. The added theatrical trailer does feel dated, both in quality and design, but it is added treat for a value priced disc. A good buy for a decent price if you're a fan of the series."
Better than it needed to be
David Bonesteel | Fresno, CA United States | 11/27/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) continues to struggle with his inner demons in this film, set only a few weeks after the conclusion of "Psycho II." New visitors to the Bates motel include a suicidal ex-nun (Diana Scarwid), a sinister musician (Jeff Fahey), an investigative reporter (Roberta Maxwell), and a horde of rowdy party-goers. Perkins's performance as Bates is always the best reason to watch any of the "Psycho" sequels, and in this one he steps behind the camera as well. He does a good job. There is a sense of atmosphere and a nightmarish frenzy to several sequences that places it several notches above the previous film. The script (by Charles Edward Pogue) is better, too, although these continuations continue to make the mistake of trying to "deepen" Bates's character by giving him a more convoluted backstory. (Wait, his aunt loved his father who married his mother so he got kidnapped, then someone got murdered...)"
Darragh Murray | Ireland | 11/07/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Psycho was an enormous success.
Psycho 2 was an excellent original sequel.
Psycho 3 is a joke. After an excellent twist at the end (Norman's real mother( the series should have finished on that note. Yes, a sequel could have been made but what would have been the point in rehashing the original idea? Psycho 3 is basically a repeat of Psycho minus the action, camerawork, acting and, oh, pretty much everything else. The plot mirrors practially mirrors Psycho, a woman seeks refuge in a motel but the difference is she falls in love with Norman. However as she grows to know Norman better she starts to suspect things are not as they seem. As the bodies pile up Tracy must decide whether this is the work of Norman or nothing more.
Rubbish sequel which I would say has been disowned by now.
Better to have a powercut than to watch this mindless drivel."