Psycho II

Psycho II (1983)
Shout! Factory
Cast: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Dennis Franz
Extras: Commentary Track, Vintage Interviews, TV Spot, Theatrical Trailer

Continuing their series of horror releases, Shout! Factory has also prepared a brand new high definition edition of "Psycho II, " the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 landmark movie. I did not remember a whole lot about the film so I decided to dive in and give it a closer look.

22 years after the incidents depicted in "Psycho, " Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), has been released from the state mental institution and is returning home, trying to leave the past behind and start a new life. But it's a process that is not as easy as Norman had thought it would be. Aside from everyone's suspicion, he has to face his own personal demons, as well as haunting memories from his past that harbor in his childhood home.

With people like slime ball manager Warren Toomey (Dennis Franz) who currently runs Bates Motel, as well as meddling Lila Loomis (Vera Miles) – relative to the late Marion Crane – who is determined to push Norman back to the breaking point by trying to convince him that his dead mother is still alive, Norman's mental health seems to be deteriorating quickly.

Fortunately, he befriends by Mary (Meg Tilly), a local waitress who works with Norman in the town's greasy-spoon diner, and she quickly becomes his emotional safe haven. And yet, as Norman is trying to settle down, murder and mayhem abound, leading to a twist that has Norman facing the possible identity of his real birth mother.

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. Through great performances and a well written script, not to mention a terrific original score from Jerry Goldsmith, the film has an eerie quality all of its own and contribute to make this film a welcomed addition to the "Psycho" franchise, that often conjures up the same creepy atmosphere as the original film.

Shout! Factory has created a wonderfully clean high definition transfer for this Blu-Ray release in the movie's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is rich and detailed and with nary a flaw. Speckles have been cleaned up and the transfer is mostly free of overt grain with the exception of a few shots, where the original elements contain some grain as a result of the film stock that was used. Black levels are 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.

The soundtrack for "Psycho II" is presented in a DTS 4.0 HD Master Audio mix. The track exhibits good overall balance, providing natural sounding dialogues and a solid 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 thirty years old, and the sound elements did not appear dated in any way.

Add to it Jerry Goldsmith's haunting and stinging score, also presented in a clean and balanced mix, and you have a real winner on your hand.

As bonus features, the release contains a new commentary track by screenwriter Tom Holland, an icon of 80s horror films, as he discusses the creation of the film. It is a cool track with a lot of insight and solid information.

Also included on this release are interviews with Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles and director Richard Franklin, as well as the movie's trailer and TV Spot.

Once again Shout! Factory shows that they care about these 80s horror films and doesn't just put them out in shovelware fashion. With its new extras, clean transfer and great audio presentation, "Psycho II" is a film you will love to revisit on this Blu-Ray Disc.