Classic Franchise Month – Psycho II (1983)

Director: Richard Franklin

Writer: Tom Holland (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, Dennis Franz, Hugh Gillin, Claudia Bryar

 

Plot: After twenty-two years of psychiatric care, Norman Bates attempts to return to a life of solitude, but the specters of his crimes – and his mother – continue to haunt him.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back. Coming home was a bad mistake!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: Psycho II starts when Norman Bates (Perkins) gets released after 22-years in psychiatric care against the wishes of Lila (Miles), returning to his home overlooking the Bates Motel, taking a job in the local diner and opening his door to waitress Mary (Tilly) after she breaks up with her boyfriend.

It isn’t long before Norman starts believing he is seeing his mother and receiving phone calls and notes from people, even with him trying to put his life back together by reopening the motel to the public. Can he keep everything together or is he still unstable to the public?

 

Thoughts on Psycho II

 

Characters – Norman Bates is now out of hospital trying to return to his normal life, he seems fully recovered, but it doesn’t take long before he starts to question his own sanity believing his mother has returned to him or being made to play the victim to someone else’s game. Lila is against Norman being released and she will do anything to stop him from living a normal life. Mary is the waitress that is offered a room by Norman believing he has been cured and now she starts to see the good in him, though she isn’t completely what she seems to be.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins is good in this leading role showing the unstable side of his character when needed. Vera Miles is good in her role but doesn’t get too much to do. Meg Tilly is a good addition to the cast, she is strong throughout the film keeping her character a mystery.

StoryThe story here follows the release of Norman Bates after years locked away as he must come to terms with re-entering society while people still don’t want him released. This is an interesting spin on the idea of the villain from a previous film returning, because it is the time required in hospital before released served and does deal with the idea that being let back into society isn’t going to be accepted by all. Having Norman questioning his own sanity helps us along the way and the twist that comes through the film makes everything tie together nicely.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe criminal has been released back into normal life which shows us just what it would be like as both sides can argue the point, the horror comes from where the new list of bodies starting to pile up with the mystery being who is behind the killing spree.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the iconic Bates Motel which gives us the best scenes, every time we leave we are left feeling out of place though.

Special EffectsThe effects do try to use the less is more technique only for it not to come off on the level of the original.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me IMDB ruins a big twist in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to the classic, it builds on the ideas of Norman Bates being released after serving his time and now we see the next chapter of the story.

 

Overall: Sequel well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

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John Travolta Weekend – Blow Out (1981)

blowDirector: Brian De Palma

Writer: Brian De Palma (Screenplay)

Starring: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin

 

Plot: A movie sound recordist accidentally records the evidence that proves that a car accident was actually murder and consequently finds himself in danger.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Horror Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Blow Out starts with Jack Terry (Travolta) a sound engineer that has been working on his latest film, a low budget horror film. While working on finding the latest sound effects Jack witnesses a car accident saving Sally (Allen) from drowning. Learning that the potential future President was killed in the accident Jack is ask to forget about saving the girl for the Governors family.

Learning this was no accident Jack sets out to prove he recorded the murder only to find himself and Sally in danger from the people responsible for the murder and cover up. Jack finds himself being tracked down by hitman Burke (Lithgow) who is out to clean up any loose ends with the cover up.

Blow Out is a conspiracy thriller that was showing just how easy it could have been to cover up a crime for the time it was made. We get a scandal that can ruin a Presidential campaign which is just the beginning of the story but when he is killed we get the next chapter as one man must prove this was no accident. The film is filled with tension from early on which drives us to want to see what will happen to our characters.

Travolta is great in the leading role show he was still at the top of his game in the early 80s, while Nancy Allen does well with what is a very weak female character written to be very naïve and not used to the world. John Lithgow is fabulous as this cold-hearted killer which we do get to see much later in his career with performance in Raising Cain and Dexter. The rest of the supporting cast ends up being very generic not making too much of an impact on the final film. This is easily one of the most underrated films of the 80s and can still be watched today as if it was a fresh release.

 

Overall: One of the most underrated films I have seen, tense from start to finish.

Ratingcard

 

 

Body Double (1984)

bodyDirector: Brian De Palma

Writer: Brian De Palma, Robert J Avrech (Screenplay) Brian De Palma (Story)

Starring: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd, Dennis Franz

 

Plot: A young actor’s obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Thriller

 

Story: Body Double starts when Jake Scully (Wasson) is working on his latest film only to return home finding his partner cheating on him. When Jake meets fellow actor Sam (Henry) he offers him a place to stay as puts his life back together. This new location while only temporary gives him a view into the beautiful Gloria (Shelton) apartment where she puts on these dancing shows every night.

Jake becomes obsessed with Gloria following her around town only to find that she is being stalked by someone else who has a much deadlier motive. When Gloria is murdered Jake discovers the moves to be similar to porn star Holly Body (Griffith). This leads him to investigate what the connection between the two is.

Body Double is a thriller that tries to create a mystery thriller but takes way too long to get going. Think Read Window just done in a much slower method with a few extra twists along the way. This is really a thriller that is a murder based film trying to figure what happened while trying to clear his own name along the way. My big question would really be how did it take slow long to Holly who is meant to be one of the top billed stars of the film? The stalking scenes are easy to ready giving the film no suspense on them because Jake pretty much stands next to the girl. This is a thriller that really has dated and doesn’t capture the suspense needed for the style of film.

 

Actor Review

 

Craig Wasson: Jake Scully is a struggling actor down on his luck who is giving a luxury place to look after while he gets back on his feet. While in this house he starts to watch a beautiful neighbour who enjoys an explicit dance every night, becoming obsessed with this lady he finds himself in the middle on a murder case where only a porn star can help him get to the truth. Craig is good in this role but never convince in the leading role.jake

Melanie Griffith: Holly Body is a porn star that Jake notices has the same moves as the girl across the way, Jake tracks her down to figure out how she fits into the picture of the murder. Melanie is good once she turns up but I think we would have liked to have met her character sooner.

Gregg Henry: Sam is the man who gives Jake the house to stay in, he also points out about the neighbour but what is his real motives about placing Jake in the house. Gregg is important to final outcome but doesn’t get enough time.

Deborah Shelton: Gloria is the beautiful lady across the way from the house Jake is staying in, she is being followed by someone and Jake wants to figure out who it is while she becomes the victim of her own stalker. Deborah is good in this role.

Support Cast: Body Double has a supporting cast which mostly involves typical Hollywood members.

Director Review: Brian De PalmaBrian gives us a thriller that is slowly paced which doesn’t reach all of its potential.

 

Crime: Body Double gives us a good crime story but doesn’t give us enough on it.

Mystery: Body Double leaves us wondering what is going on once the first home invasion angle.

Thriller: Body Double does try to try to keep us guessing from start to finish.

Settings: Body Double puts us into a setting of Hollywood where we see a darker side.
Special Effects
: Body Double has good effects throughout whenever needed.

Suggestion: Body Double is on to try its slow pace might turn people off. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Good idea.

Worst Part: Too long.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Awards: Nominated for a Golden Globe

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: You can’t believe everything you see.

 

Overall: Slightly too slow for my liking but solid thriller never the less.

Ratingcard

Die Hard 2 (1990)

logoDirector: Renny Harlin

Writer: Steven E. de Souza, Doug Richardson (Screenplay) Walter Wager (Novel’58 Minutes’)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, Reginald VelJohnson, France Nero, William Sadler, John Amos, Dennis Franz

 

Plot: When Officer John McClane (Willis) goes to the airport to pick up his wife Holly (Bedelia) the airport is all under reporter siege due to General Esperanza (Nero) being bought in on Christmas week. When Colonel Stuart (Sadler) takes over the airport to get Esperanza free, John must investigate to uncover the truth building up a body count along the way when no one else will, John becomes a one man army against an army to save the planes in the air including the one with his wife on.

 

Verdict: Just when he thought he couldn’t have a worse day

 

Story: It would be fair to say this is very similar to the original to the point where John has to take on the terrorist solo. It uses a much bigger setting and has a bigger reason behind the crime being committed. John has to go against all the bad guys while going against the good guys who don’t put up a fight. This really is just a sit back an enjoy classic action film. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Bruce Willis: John McClane does what he does best kills bad guys, throws out one liners and survives impossible odds. Bruce shines as the wise cracking cop who saves the day. (9/10)

 john

Bonnie Bedelia: Holly McClane, John’s wife who is stuck on one of the planes with the reporter she knocked out last time they met. Good performance in what is more of a waiting role rather than fully captured like Die Hard. (7/10)

 

Franco Nero: General Esperanza the man they are all trying to free. Is mainly the target and doesn’t get too much time to do anything. (5/10)

 

William Sadler: Colonel Stuart the man with the plan that gets executed perfectly until John gets involved and he has to start thinking outside the box. Great villain role proving he is cold and willing to kill for fun. (9/10)

 sadler

John Amos: Major Grant part of the army team coming in to help but it is clear he has an alternative motive. Good performance in a role with a twist.(8/10)

 amos

Director Review: Renny Harlin – good direction creating plenty of action throughout. (8/10)

 

Action: Great action sequences, explosions and gun fights throughout. (9/10)

Thriller: This puts you on the edge of your seat while you wait to see what happens. (9/10)

Settings: Creating the film around an airport creates extra panic. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Great effects for the explosion but with some week effects to cover up a clearly dummy for a death scene. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one sequel that doesn’t live up to the original that is still one to watch as it is one of the films that is just simple action to enjoy watching. (Watch)

 

Best Part: John gets trapped in a cockpit.

Worst Part: Not as good as the first one.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle.

Kill Of The Film: The final one

Believability: Terrorism is happening all the time so this could happen but not to the same level. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has three more sequels

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $240,031,094

Budget: $70 million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: They say lightning never strikes twice… They were wrong.

Trivia:Bruce Willis least favourite of the Die Hard series.

 

Overall: Great Action

Rating 89