Psycho 4: The Beginning (1990) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Psycho 4: The Beginning (1990) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on May 06th, 2019 | Movie Review | Slasher, Psychological, Madness, Dysfunctional Family, Psycho Series

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It’s about Norman Bates’ life as a kid and how his mother drove him to madness.

Psycho 4: The Beginning was directed by Mick Garris (who also directed Valerie on the Stairs, Desperation, Sleepwalkers) and stars Anthony Perkins (from I'm Dangerous Tonight, Psycho III, Psycho II, Psycho), Henry Thomas (from Gerald's Game, Don't Look Up, Dead Birds) and Olivia Hussey (from Ice Cream Man, Distortions, Black Christmas).

You've met Norman. Now meet mother.

Psycho 4: The Beginning

The original Psycho from way back in 1960 was a great movie for its time. Psycho 2, the sequel that premiered 23 years later, was a fantastic movie for its time and aged very well to this day. Psycho 3 was an oddball that seems to have been made just to give people more of Crazy Norman, while playing into the mid-80’s slasher trend. Psycho 4 was a return to the fantastic storytelling and atmosphere from Psycho 2.

Psycho 4 is both a prequel and sequel, giving us a deep dive into the backstory of Norman Bates which is guided along naturally by a talk show radio host lucky enough to get Norman on the line. We get to see Norman’s mom back when he was a kid along with the wicked abuse he had to endure. We also get to see all of his early pre-1960 victims and how he improved his killin’ skills over time.

One of the first things that jumps out of this movie is the original soundtrack from 1960. It was a creative way to pull back the vibe from the original while telling the story of how Norman became Norman all the way through to his current day life and continued fight with insanity. There were some dumb decisions made by a character near the end which seems to have been written in just to stretch out the suspense and to reintroduce some of Norman’s old stomping grounds, but it in no way hurt the entertainment value.

Gotta say, this was one of the strongest franchise finales I’ve seen, definitely in the top 3. It also helped move Psycho into one of my top 10 favorite franchises in horror.

Worth Watching?

Definitely. Even if you’ve only seen the original, you could watch this finale and have a look into Norman’s brutal backstory as well as have a satisfying ending to the story.


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