The Graveyard: Digging up Anthony Perkins’ Psycho III


Norman Bates is back and this time he’s sitting in the director’s chair. Join us as we take a look back at Anthony Perkins’ directorial debut, Psycho III.

After the moderate success and box office return from Psycho II, Universal naturally wanted to move forward with a sequel. This was common practice for most Horror movies in the 80’s with each studio wanting a piece of the “Slasher Movie Box Office Boom”. So Psycho III began production aiming for the  July 2nd 1986 release date.

Despite this being Anthony Perkins‘ directorial debut, the cast and crew stated that he was an easy director to work for even with all of the pressure he was under. Perkins originally tried to entice Richard Franklin back to direct the film with him, but the offer was declined and Perkins set out to make the movie in his own vision.

The obligatory plot synopsis from the IMDB page:

"Norman Bates is back again running his “quiet” little motel a month after the events in Psycho II. Norman meets three new people, one being a beautiful young nun with whom his budding relationship is beginning to make his “Mother” jealous. He also hires a young man in need of a job to take care of the motel. A snooping reporter is showing interest in Norman’s case. What will these new friends do for Norman?"

Norman’s take on Throwback Thursday (via Universal Pictures)


The U.S box office total for the movie came in at roughly $14,481,606, which is a far cry from the $34,725,000 Psycho II made domestically. I tried to research the production budget of Psycho III but I found little information on the regular sites or by doing a Google search, although I imagine that it wouldn’t have been bigger than the $5,000,000 allocated to Psycho II.

My Thoughts

Psycho III is another one of those sequels that is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Although nowhere near as good as Psycho and Psycho II, it still has some solid elements to the story and the ending, which was added at the request of the studio, left the movie open to a sequel which came a little later and I’ll cover in its own article very soon.

My one gripe with Psycho III is that by the end of the movie, the brilliant twist of Psycho II is undone by a slight bit of character dialogue but I appreciate that Mrs. Spool could well have fabricated the story to “get back” at her dead sister once more. That worked well in the end for her huh?

Nightmare fuel… (via Universal)

Did you know?

In an interview just before his death, Anthony Perkins admitted that he felt he was not up to the task of directing this film, feeling that his technical knowledge was limited. He originally suggested the film be shot in black and white. But Universal opposed it. Although it would have been a cool homage to the original Psycho, I doubt that the wider audience would have seen the appeal.

Norman’s face when it shows you him dressed as mother is quite a horrifying sight and to the best of my knowledge this is the first time we actually see his face full on whilst in the Mother getup so it’s a pretty cool piece of trivia and reveal none the less.

When they were filming the scene where Norman is hitting Duke with his guitar, Anthony Perkins actually hit actor Jeff Fahey so hard that it cut his head open and he had to get stitches! Talk about getting into character!

“Want me to lend you a hand?” (via Universal)

But where can I see it?

Although the movie hasn’t been officially released in the UK on Blu ray yet, there is a Region 2 release available on Amazon for £15. The movie has received a wide Blu ray release in Region A territories through the Shout! Factory subsidiary Scream Factory and is available through Amazon US for $18 and WOWHD for £14.40. I own the Psycho collection on DVD but would highly recommend that everyone grab the Blu ray of this film as Shout! have done a great job with it.

Next: The Graveyard: Digging up Richard Franklin’s Psycho II

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.