The Graveyard: Digging up Richard Franklin’s Psycho II


Back in 1960, Anthony Perkins was chillingly fantastic as the young mothers boy Norman Bates. Now deemed to be sane, Norman’s past is about to catch up with him. Join us as we take a look back at the very underrated Psycho II…

Bates is Back!

Psycho II entered production on June 30th, 1982, with directorial duties going to Richard Franklin and script duties being placed with Tom Holland, who many of you will know as the director of Fright Night and Child’s Play.

The Bates house from the original movie was used but the Motel had to be rebuilt as it had been taken down. Production on the movie wrapped August 13th, 1982, for a release on June 3rd, 1983.

There was actually a novel of Psycho II written and published in 1982 by Robert Bloch, the writer of the original Psycho novel. The plot of the novel had Norman breaking out of the institution he has been held in for 20 years and finding out that Hollywood was making a film about his life. As you can see below, the movie version takes a different path…

The obligatory plot synopsis from the IMDB page:

"Now declared legally sane, Norman Bates is released from a mental institution after spending 22 years in confinement over the protests of Marion Crane’s sister Lila Loomis, who insists that he’s still a killer and that the court’s indifference to his victims by releasing him is a gross miscarriage of justice. Norman returns to his motel and the old Victorian mansion where his troubles started, and history predictably begins to repeat itself."

There’s always a vacancy at the Bates place… (via Universal)


Psycho II was produced with a budget of roughly $5,000,000 and was released in the USA on June 3rd 1983 and almost recouped double its budget in it’s opening week with a figure of $8,310,244. The film eventually went on to earn a total of $34,725,000 at the domestic box office.

My Thoughts

Personally, I love Psycho II almost as much as I love the first one. For one, it has fantastic writing by one of my favourite genre directors, Tom Holland, and it offers a lot more than your typical Slasher movie that was released in the 80’s with a plot that will make you think and a shock at the end just as good as the originals shock twist. Critical response to the sequel was fairly mixed, with it currently holding a 61% fresh rating from 33 reviews and a 2.9/5 from 19,923 user votes on Rotten Tomatoes.

She bit off more than she could chew… (Via Universal)

Did you know?

Meg Tilly had a sheltered childhood and didn’t see much, if any, TV as a child, meaning that she had never seen the original Psycho (1960) thus being unaware of its significance. This led to her not understanding why the press was giving all the attention to Anthony Perkins for his comeback role in this movie, and one day on the set Perkins overheard her say, “Why is Tony getting all the attention?” Perkins was upset, didn’t talk to her during filming, and recommended to the director that she be replaced, even though the majority of her scenes had already been shot.

Another really cool piece of trivia from the movie is that the reflection of young Norman Bates, seen in the doorknob when he flashes back to his mother’s poisoning, is Anthony Perkins‘ son Oz Perkins. I always think it’s really cool when Actors get their younger children/siblings to portray a young version of the character they’re portraying.

Walken into Psycho II?

When Anthony Perkins was leaning towards passing on returning to play Norman Bates, rumours circulated that Christopher Walken was going to portray our favourite Mothers boy and that the film would be a TV movie event. However, this was never to be the case as Perkins eventually agreed to star in the film. In the DVD commentary for the movie, screenwriter Tom Holland was asked if Walken had almost become the new “Mother”. He said he could neither confirm nor deny the reports and immediately changed to subject to an unrelated matter. Although no one can play Norman like Perkins did, seeing Walken’s take on the role would have been interesting to say the least. What do you guys think?

Walken Replace me? There can only be one Norman Bates!! (via Universal)

But where can I see it?

Funnily enough, Psycho II has just received the Arrow Video treatment so you can pick it up form pretty much any retailer in the UK for toughly £15. For the USA audience and many other worldwide horror collectors, you should be seeking out the Scream Factory release to add to your collection. Personally, as a collector, I’ve opted for both releases, but as someone who is looking to add this movie, III and IV to their collection, I would opt for the Scream Factory copy, as the other two have been done by them also.

The Scream Factory cover… (via Scream Factory)

Next: The Graveyard: Digging up ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’

Will you be checking this sequel out? Seen it already and we’ve jogged your memory? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media pages, FacebookTwitter and Instagram.