Psycho II

Psycho II (1983)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, Dennis Franz, Claudia Bryar, Hugh Gillin
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

22 years after being released from the state mental institution, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), has been released and is returning home to try to start a new life, in the first sequel to Hitchcock's 1960's masterpiece "Psycho". Many would question the need for "Psycho II", a second chapter to an already iconic film from one of cinemas all-time masters, but this story actually works and through great performances and a well written script, not to mention a terrific original score from Jerry Goldsmith, all contribute to make this film a welcomed addition to the "Psycho" franchise.

Trying to get his life back in order, but having to face both personal demons as well as haunting memories from his past that harbor in his childhood home, Norman has more than his share of challenges ahead of him. With people like slime ball manager Warren Toomey (Dennis Franz) who currently runs his Bates Motel as well as meddling Lila Loomis (Vera Miles) – relative to the late Marion Crane – that is trying to push Norman back to the breaking point by trying to convince him that his dead mother is still alive. Norman is also befriended by Mary Loomis (Meg Tilly), a local waitress that Norman works with in the town's greasy-spoon diner. Murder and mayhem abound leading to a twist that has Norman facing the possible identity of his real birth mother.

Universal Home Video presents "Psycho II" in a terrific re-mastered 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation. Having seen all of the previous home video incarnations of this film, this latest release is truly the best that this film has ever looked. Black levels were rich in depth providing great shadow and fine details. Colors were nicely saturated displaying natural flesh tones, while other available colors were treated with the same care, which is evident in the glowing blue and red of the flickering neon Bates Motel sign, which still managed to send chills up my spine after all of these years. There was little to no debris or dirt on this new transfer, just slightly noticeable grain in a very few portions of the presentation, which were minimal at best and could even be from the original source elements.

The soundtrack for "Psycho II" is presented in a Dolby Digital 4.0 mix. The track exhibits good overall balance, providing natural sounding vocals and a surprising amount of bass that enhances the sound effects like the shrieking from the victims of "mother's" knife. The sound was quite impressive for a film that is over twenty years old, elements did not appear dated in any way, which again, was quite impressive for a film that has not been completely restored.

The only special feature is the inclusion of a theatrical trailer, making for a rather "bare bones" edition. I would have liked this film to have been given a full-blown special edition with a wealth of extras, but I am just delighted to have one of my favorite childhood films on DVD in a truly amazing presentation.