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Film / Psycho IV: The Beginning

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Psycho IV: The Beginning is the third and last sequel to Psycho, starring Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates and Olivia Hussey as Norma Bates. A Made-for-TV Movie, it originally aired on Showtime in 1990.

Norman has been rehabilitated and lives with his wife Connie. He panics when he learns that Connie is pregnant, fearing that the child will inherit his mental illness. The film explores his younger years and his problematic relationship with his mother.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: The reason Norman initially calls in is over worry that his future child might have the same affliction he had.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Connie, in the climax.
  • Broad Strokes: The events of Psycho II and Psycho III are never directly referenced, and neither is the character of Emma Spool. However, the film never outright contradicts the events of these films, therefore it could be considered this trope.
  • Canon Discontinuity: How the film seems to treat the ending of Psycho III; which suggested he won't be released again. Arguably justified as Norman had been released in the second movie and deemed sane, but was driven insane again rather quickly and went back to committing murders, making the chances of another release very unlikely indeed. It also (seemingly) ignores the revelation that Norman's aunt Emma Spool killed his father and tried to steal him from his mother, though this plot point is never explicitly contradicted or retconned.
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  • Chick Magnet: Norman claimed to be this as a teenager. One girl literally ran into his house, and the other was a woman twice his age. You can guess how it ended though...
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After the immense crap that happens throughout the Psycho series (mainly the first one..), Norman finally is allowed to forget his dark past and focus on Connie and his soon to be born child.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Subverted. Norman says he is finally free, but then we hear Norma's voice screaming from what's left of the cellar. However, this demand goes completely ignored, showing that Norman is indeed free of his demons.
  • Framing Device: The radio show about matricide, as Norman uses it to discuss the terrible childhood that the movie explores.
  • Grand Finale: The film was made into this at Anthony Perkins' request, since he knew he was suffering from AIDS and would likely not have lived long enough to make a fifth film.
  • Incest Subtext: On a stormy night, his mother makes Norman take off his clothes and snuggle up beside her in the matrimonial bed. This experience scares him, so he sleeps in his own bed instead. Daubing her in the same part is also heavily eroticized, confirmed by her sudden snap-out scare and rampage. And their overall jealousy of every girl he likes/her boyfriend.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Norman has contacted a radio talk show host to discuss his murderous feelings. The psychologist is insulting and blunt with Norman, causing the radio show host to kick him off. The psychologist points out Norman is a serial killer and she's kicking off a man who is an expert in his field. It all works out, sort of, but his approach is actually accurate as conciliatory is the worst approach for someone like Norman.
  • Kill It with Fire: The solution Norman finds to get rid of Mother once and for all? Burning down the Bates house.
  • Let the Past Burn: At the end, Norman burns his mother's house down. In a variation, he is nearly trapped inside, signifying his own difficulty in escaping his past.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: We get the nasty results of Norman poisoning his mother and her lover in gruesome detail.
  • Wham Line: "She let herself get pregnant!"


Example of: