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DVD ReviewsRating: 3 of 5 yaps

The Psycho Legacy

Less an exploration of Hitchcock’s classic than an in-depth look at its sequels, “Psycho Legacy” might not be of particular interest to fans of the legendary original film, but more for those who enjoy the entire franchise.

That’s not to say Hitchcock’s masterpiece is ignored; there are plenty of references to it, and laypeople will probably find it interesting, but this set doesn’t focus on the first film, so don’t expect more nuggets similar to the ones like the series of melons Hitch used to find just the right sound effect for stabbing, or the chocolate syrup standing in for blood.

“Legacy” covers that larger mythos of Norman Bates, Mother, Marion Crane, et al., and looks more at the three additional films. The main documentary is a look at each film, much as “Never Sleep Again,” did for Freddy Kruger’s franchise. Unfortunately, this set isn’t as in-depth as that one, but neither is Psycho, at least as a franchise, on par with “Nightmare.”

The main doc does not feature Anthony Perkins discussing his role through archival footage, but there is an amateurish grainy extra from a convention where Perkins discusses the films.

We do get a lot of the other luminaries, from Janet Leigh to Jeff Fahey (looking like a mountain man with an enormous white beard). We get some interesting tidbits about how demanding Perkins was with the sequels, the famous shovel ending to “Psycho II,” and the fact that a Hitchcock silhouette is visible in “Psycho II.” Curiously, Meg Tilly is absent from the proceedings, which is a glaring omission given the size of her part in the sequel.

Additional extras include a tour of the Bates Motel set on the Universal lot, a visit with “Psycho” memorabilia collector Guy Thorpe, a look at “Psycho” web sites, serial killer-inspired art, and other featurettes.

If you’re a fan of the “Psycho” franchise, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this DVD. If you’re a classicist looking for insights on Hitchcock, I’d say you might come away from this disappointed.

Film: 3 Yaps
Extras: 3.5 Yaps

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2 Responses to “The Psycho Legacy”

  1. Joe Shearer says:

    With the sequels, Perkins was heavily involved, and everyone who was interviewed for this DVD said he was really intense, bordering on hard to work with. There’s a story on the DVD where he tried to get Meg Tilly fired from Psycho II.

    Perkins actually directed Psycho III, and wanted to direct Psycho IV as well, but they hired Mick Garris (who has since done several Stephen King movies). Garris was on there and talked about how Perkins was really supportive of him, but he had to win his respect, which was hard given his sour feelings at being rejected to direct the 4th film.

  2. This is a really good review im eger to find out how involved Perkins was in the franchise!

    keep up the good work!

    Ben G.