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Film / Psycho III

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Psycho III (1986) is the second sequel to Psycho, starring Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. He also directed the film.

Norman is involved with Maureen Coyle, a mentally unstable former nun. Her suicidal tendencies confuse him... just as "Mother" starts up her old habits again.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Norman of Maureen.
  • Asshole Victim: Duane Duke.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Duane Duke.
  • Bittersweet Ending: As Norman is hauled off to jail, the cop tells him that this time, he'll never get out. Norman replies, "But I'll be free. I'll be free.", meaning that at least he'll never hurt anyone again or be under his mother's control. note 
  • Broken Pedestal: Sheriff Hunt desperately wanted to believe that Norman was a reformed man who had served his time, and a prodigal example of how even those who have committed the worst crimes can turn their life around for the better when given the chance, so he is very disappointed when he finally discovers that Norman has indeed relapsed into serial murder, expressing as much to Norman as he hauls him off once again.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Duane Duke attempts to blackmail a man who has murdered a number of people and deliberately gets under his skin by messing with "Mother."
  • Casanova Wannabe: Duane Duke.
  • Catchphrase: Duane's "Watch the guitar."
  • Continuity Nod: The Cupid statue that Arbogast took notice of in the first film just before he went upstairs is what Maureen fatally impales herself on.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Driving, Norman is about to dispose of a body when Duane Duke wakes up and attempts to strangle him from the backseat. This causes a crash into the swamp and Duke drowns while Norman swims to safety.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Maureen Coyle, much like her preceding counterpart Marion Crane, she initially appeared to be the female protagonist of this sequel, only to die, while Tracy Venable is this film's true female protagonist as much as she is Norman's Hero Antagonist who replaces the late Lila Loomis. Though, unlike Marion, Maureen managed to survive up until the beginning of the climax.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Norman's first reaction to Maureen is to gape, clearly stunned at her resemblance to Marion, who he keeps having flashes of. Despite genuinely liking Maureen, it's obvious that a huge part of his attraction is her similarity to Marion.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Norman's been exposed and arrested, but he's certain he's free of Mother's influence. Then in the car, we see him holding Mrs. Spool's severed hand and staring at the audience.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Ax-Crazy Split Personality Big Bad Villain Protagonist Norman would find himself pitted against The Sociopath Smug Snake Big Bad Wannabe Duane Duke.
  • Foreshadowing: When Norman first sees Maureen, he keeps having flashes of her where he imagines her in the dead Marion's place. In the end, Maureen shares the same fate as Marion, albeit in a different way.
  • Genre Shift: Whereas the previous two films had elements of film noir and mystery, this one's more in line with 80s slasher films, as the film doesn't make any real effort to hide the fact that Norman's committing all the murders this time around.
  • Hero Antagonist: Tracy Venable, Lila's replacement following her death in the last film.
  • Homage: Aside from the Hitchcock references, Anthony Perkins was also paying homage to Italian giallo films.
  • Hope Spot: Maureen finally gets through to Norman and he's clearly on the verge of a breakthrough when "Mother" calls out to him. He's so startled that he accidentally pushes Maureen down the stairs to her death.
  • I Love the Dead: Norman passionately kisses Patsy's corpse as he's disposing of it, though it mercifully doesn't go any further than that.
  • Immediate Sequel: Picks up one month after the previous film.
  • Info Dump: Tracy explaining the Retcon described below. They try to make it visually interesting than previous examples in this series by having Tracy trying to fend off an attacking Norman.
  • Kubrick Stare: Norman repeats the same stare from the first film in the last scene.
  • Leitmotif: The main theme is repeated diagetically as a Lonely Piano Piece played by Norman and a synth tune from a jukebox selected by Duane.
  • A Love to Dismember: The End... Or Is It? ending.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Norman has turned his real mother, who revealed herself to him at the end of Psycho II, into another mummy whom Norman pretends to be talking to him.
  • Naughty Nuns: Norman's Love Interest Maureen Coyle is a nun who secretly left her covenant after having a Crisis of Faith. While on her spiritual journey to rediscover herself and restore her faith in God, she comes across our main protagonist at the Bates Motel. She soon grows feelings for Norman, which he returns. Despite acting as the film's Ms. Fanservice and dating Norman for some time, she never departs from her order as a friendly priest welcomes her to the church after she seeks counseling.
  • Oh, Crap!: Norman when the police show up at his door with a warrant to check the place out. He worries about them finding Mother and panics. Then he gets dealt another one of these moments when he finds the body is not where he left it. Duke took it as part of his blackmail attempt.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Norman lays an epic one as the very last shot.
  • Retcon: The film retcons the ending of the previous film where Emma Spool revealed that she was Norman's real mother. It turns out she is Norman's aunt and only believed she was his mother.
  • Shout-Out: Most of the murder scenes are deliberately reminiscent of those in the first film.
    • The opening scene is one to another Hitchcock movie, Vertigo.
    • The bloody ice cube scene is one to Blood Simple.