Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Mick Garris
Starring: Anthony Perkins, CCH Pounder, Henry Thomas
Rated: R/Region A/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory
A seemingly rehabilitated Norman Bates (Perkins) is drawn to a late night radio show where the host (CCH Pounder, Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight) encourages him to share his views on the topic of matricide. Reliving his childhood, Norman recounts his trials of a young boy (Thomas, Ouija 2) living with his widowed schizophrenic mother (Hussey, the original Black Christmas). These haunting memories are more than just disturbing visions of the past; they threaten to rekindle his killing urge in this spine-tingling thriller directed by Mick Garris (The Stand, Masters of Horror).
Call me crazy, but I actually kind of dug the made for TV fourth Psycho film. We once again have Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates and he has once again made it out of the nut-house (funny how that keeps happening huh?) and is telling us a backstory that we knew nothing of before. That could be a risky step because it sort of plays with history, but it works. I think one of the main reasons it works so well it because of Joseph Stefano, the screenwriter of the original Psycho, return to script this installment. He knows the material as well or better than anyone else and it really shows as the story unfolds. Yes, it is a bit odd seeing another man playing Norman in the story being told to us by the Norman we’ve grown to be used to, but it still manages to work and suck you anyway. No, maybe this movie isn’t as good as part one and two, but I’d actually take this over part three any day of the week and I think the interesting plot is the reason for that. It isn’t trying to be artsy at all, it isn’t trying to overthink anything, it just tells us a story from the horse’s mouth and we watch along with Norman as he seems to be reliving this crazy stuff through his own words.
Of course, it also helps that the movie has such horror fan favorites in it as Olivia Hussey, who plays Norma Bates. I found her to be about as interesting as Norman is in this and it makes the movie a lot more fun for having her character here. You even see such people as John Landis popping up in this thing. Made for TV or not, Psycho 4 ends up being a solid entry in the series and a lot better than it had any right to be overall. I can easily say that I liked it a lot more than I did the third one that came before it. Now, this was made for TV and had an original ratio of 1:33. The movie still is wide here and the site says it is here in a 1:78 ratio. I’m not the best guy on the web you’ll find when it comes to the ins and outs of tech mumbo-jumbo, but it still looks really darn good and I don’t think anyone who sees it will have too much of anything bad to say about it. Also, as an added bonus for anyone who might already have the Blu-ray from Austrailia, Scream Factory does have some nice extras for the disc. The other one out there from the Via guys doesn’t seem to have anything on the actual disc for this one. So Scream did up their game here and were not lazy at all.
– NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mick Garris, Actors Henry Thomas, And Olivia Hussey
– NEW The Making Of Mother – An Interview With Make-up Effects Artist Tony Gardner
– Rare Behind-The-Scenes Footage From Director Mick Garris
– Photo Gallery Of Rare Photos From Mick Garris
Quality of Transfer: 88%