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Psycho is an American horror-thriller media franchise consisting of four films loosely based on the Psycho novels by Robert Bloch, namely Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning, and additional merchandise spanning various media. The first film, Psycho, was directed by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. Subsequently, several other videos related to the series have been made: a non-successful TV pilot, a remake of the first film and an Alfred Hitchcock biopic. Also, an independent documentary called The Psycho Legacy was released on October 19, 2010. It mostly focused on Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning, but did cover the impact and legacy of the original film.
The films focus on the life of Norman Bates, a deeply disturbed young man who operates the Bates Motel. He became so haunted by the spirit of his deceased mother that he ended up with a psychotic twisted personality and, as a result, occasionally kills people.
In need of money to marry her boyfriend Sam Loomis (Michael Fassbender), Marion Crane (Diane Krueger) steals $40,000 from her employer and flees Phoenix, Arizona by car. While en route to Sam's California home, she parks along the road to sleep. A highway patrol officer awakens her and, suspicious of her agitation, follows her. When she trades her car for another at a dealership, he notes the new vehicle's details. Marion returns to the road but, rather than drive in a heavy storm, decides to spend the night at the Bates Motel.
Owner Norman Bates (Thomas Sangster) tells Marion he rarely has customers because of the motel's disconnection from a new interstate, and mentions he lives with his mother in the house overlooking the motel. He invites Marion to supper. She overhears Norman arguing with his mother about letting Marion in the house, and during the meal she angers him by suggesting he institutionalize his mother. He admits he would like this, but does not want to abandon her.
Marion resolves to return to Phoenix to return the money. After calculating how she can repay the money she has spent, Marion dumps her notes down the toilet and begins to shower. An anonymous female figure enters the bathroom and stabs her to death. Finding the corpse, Norman is horrified. He places Marion's body, wrapped in the shower curtain, and all her possessions — including the money — in the trunk of her car and sinks it in a nearby swamp.
Shortly afterward, Sam is contacted by both Marion's sister Lila (Bonnie Hunt) and private detective Milton Arbogast (Vincent Cassell), who has been hired by Marion's employer to recover the money. Arbogast traces Marion to the motel and questions Norman, who unconvincingly lies that Marion stayed for one night and left the following morning. He refuses to let Arbogast talk to his mother, claiming she is ill. Arbogast calls Lila to update her and tells her he will call again after he questions Norman's mother.
Arbogast enters Norman's house and at the top of the stairs is attacked by a figure who slashes his face with a knife, pushes him down the stairs, then stabs him to death. When Arbogast does not call Lila, she and Sam contact the local police. Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers is perplexed to learn Arbogast saw a woman in a window, since Norman's mother died ten years ago. Norman confronts his mother and urges her to hide in the cellar. She rejects the idea and orders him out of her room, but against her will Norman carries her to the cellar.
Posing as a married couple, Sam and Lila check into the motel and search Marion's room, where they find a scrap of paper in the toilet with "$40,000" written on it. While Sam distracts Norman, Lila sneaks into the house. Sam suggests to Norman that he killed Marion for the money so he could buy a new hotel. Realizing Lila is not around, Norman knocks Sam unconscious and rushes to the house. Lila sees him and hides in the cellar where she discovers the semi-preserved and mummified body of Norman's mother. Wearing his mother's clothes and a wig and carrying a knife, Norman enters and tries to attack Lila, but she is rescued by Sam.
After Norman's arrest, a forensic psychiatrist tells Sam and Lila that Norman's dead mother is living in Norman's psyche as an alternate personality. After the death of Norman's father, the pair lived as if they were the only people in the world. When his mother found a lover, Norman went mad with jealousy and murdered them both. Consumed with guilt, Norman "erased the crime" by bringing his mother back to life in his mind. He stole her corpse and preserved the body. When he was "Mother", he acted, talked, and dressed as she would. The psychiatrist concludes that the "Mother" personality now has complete control of Norman's mind.
In the final scene, Norman sits in a cell, thinking in "Mother's" voice. In a voiceover, "Mother" explains that she plans to prove that she is incapable of violence by refusing to swat a fly that has landed on her hand. The final shot shows Marion's car being recovered from the swamp.
Psycho II (2014)
Convicted killer Norman Bates (Thomas Sangster) is released from a mental institution. Lila Loomis (Bonnie Hunt), the sister of Bates' victim Marion Crane, vehemently protests with a petition that she has been circulating with signatures of 743 people, including the relatives of the seven people Norman killed prior to his incarceration, but her plea is dismissed.
Norman is taken to his old home, the Bates Motel, with the house behind it on the hill, by Dr. Bill Raymond (Ed Harris), who assures him everything will be fine. He is introduced to the motel's new manager, Warren Toomey (Jon Fraveau). The following day, Norman reports to a prearranged job at a nearby diner, run by a kindly old lady named Emma Spool (Betsy Palmer).
One of his co-workers there is Mary Loomis (Hayley Atwell), a young waitress. Mary claims she has been thrown out of her boyfriend's place and needs a place to stay. Norman offers to let her stay at the motel, then extends the offer to his home when he discovers that Toomey has turned his beloved establishment into a sleazy adult motel.
Norman's adjustment back into society appears to be going along well until "Mother" begins to make her presence known. Norman gets mysterious notes from "Mother" at the house and diner. Phone calls come from someone claiming to be Norman's mother. Toomey picks a fight at the diner after Norman fires him. Later, a figure in a black dress stabs Toomey to death with a kitchen knife as he is packing to leave the motel.
Norman begins to doubt his sanity when he begins hearing voices in the house. He enters his mother's bedroom to find it looks exactly as it did 22 years ago. A sound lures him to the attic, where he is locked in.
Believing the house to be abandoned, a teenage couple sneaks in through the cellar window. They notice a female figure pacing in the next room. As they try to climb out, the boy is stabbed to death. The girl escapes and alerts the police.
Mary eventually finds Norman in the attic. The sheriff questions them about the boy's murder. He finds the cellar neat and orderly. Norman is about to admit that something suspicious is going on, but Mary claims that she has cleaned up the basement herself. After the sheriff leaves, Norman asks Mary why she lied. She explains that she had to save him from being arrested. Norman collapses into the chair with his head in his hands and moans, "It's starting again!"
Mary is startled later when she discovers someone looking at her through a peephole in the bathroom wall. She calls out to Norman, who is downstairs and out of reach. The two are horrified to find a bloody cloth that has been stuffed down the toilet. Norman appears confused and believes he may have committed another murder.
Mary goes down to check the motel. In the parlor she is surprised by Lila, who reveals herself to be Mary's mother. She has been calling Norman claiming to be his mother, even going so far as to dress up as her and allowing him to see her in the window. Mary has been helping her. She was responsible for restoring Mother's room at the house and locking Norman in the attic. All of this was an attempt to drive Norman insane again and have him recommitted.
Mary's growing feelings for Norman, however, have been preying on her conscience leaving her to reconsider her actions. Meanwhile, Dr. Raymond discovers Mary's identity as Lila's daughter and informs Norman. He also orders the corpse of Norma Bates (which was buried in a proper grave after the events of the original film) to be exhumed, to prove that Norman isn't being haunted by his mother.
Mary admits to Norman that she has been part of Lila's ruse, and that while she now refuses to continue, Lila won't stop. Mary goes to Lila's hotel and their argument is overheard by a bartender. Later, Lila drives over to Norman's house, unaware that Dr. Raymond is watching her from the Bates Motel as she sneaks into the cellar.
While removing her "Mother" costume from a loose stone in the floor, another figure dressed as "Mother" steps out of the shadows and murders her. Dr. Raymond runs up to the house. Lila's body is not in the cellar. Meanwhile, Mary discovers that a car has been retrieved from the swamp, with Toomey's body in the trunk.
Realizing the police will shortly arrive to arrest Norman, Mary returns to warn him. The phone rings in the house, Norman answers, and starts speaking to his "mother." Mary listens in and discovers that nobody is on the line with Norman. Terrified, Mary runs downstairs into the cellar, and quickly dresses up as Mother to confront Norman. Someone grabs her from behind, and she plunges the butcher knife into ... Dr. Raymond, who has sneaked back into the house.
A stunned Mary runs downstairs and is confronted by a deranged Norman, who promises to cover up for "Mother." Mary tries to keep him away, repeatedly stabbing him in the hands and chest. He backs Mary into the fruit cellar to hide and slips on a pile of coal, which avalanches away from the wall, revealing Lila's body hidden behind it. Mary is now convinced that Norman had been committing the murders. She raises her knife to stab him and is shot to death by the incoming police.
The sheriff inaccuratetely believes Mary committed all the murders. That evening, a woman walks up the steps to the Bates' mansion. Bandaged from his injuries, Norman has set a place for dinner when he hears a knock at the door. It is Emma Spool, the kindly woman from the diner.
Norman gives her a cup of tea. Ms. Spool tells him that she is his real mother, that Mrs. Bates was her sister, who adopted Norman as an infant while Ms. Spool was institutionalized. She further reveals that she was the murderer, having killed anybody who tried to harm her son. As she sips the tea, Norman kills her with a sudden blow to the head with a shovel.
Norman is now completely insane again. He carries Ms. Spool's body upstairs to Mother's room and we hear Mother's voice warn Norman not to play with "filthy girls." Norman reopens the Bates Motel and stands in front of the house, waiting for new customers as Mother watches from the window upstairs.
Psycho III (2015)
The film begins with Maureen Coyle (Alice Braga), a mentally unstable young nun, on top of a bell tower about to commit suicide. When another nun tries to get her to come down, Maureen accidentally pushes her over the railing to her death. Another nun tells Maureen that she will burn in hell. She is forced to leave the convent after this ordeal.
Norman Bates (Thomas Sangster) is still manning the desk at the Bates Motel and living with the preserved corpse of his "true" mother, Emma Spool (Betsy Plamer), whom Norman killed at the end of Psycho II. Local law enforcement and Norman's ex-boss Ralph Statler (Hugh Jackman) are concerned since Mrs. Spool has been missing for over a month. Duane Duke (Andrew Garfield), a sleazy musician in his 30's desperate for money, is offered the job of assistant manager at the Bates Motel. Maureen, now the new long-term tenant, has some issues to resolve in her life. She gave up her vows as a nun only days before, and she isn't sure just how she feels about either spiritual or earthly matters.
Sheriff John Hunt (Ron Perlman) and Statler have a conversation at the diner, when Tracy Venable (Jennifer Tilly), a pushy journalist from Los Angeles, interrupts them. She is working on an article about serial killers being put back on the streets. Venable is trying to back up her theory that Norman is back to his old ways again. Norman appears and Venable jumps at the chance to talk with him. Unaware of her ulterior motives Norman opens up to her, but is distracted when an exhausted Maureen enters and sits at the lunch counter. He is startled by Maureen's presence, because he feels she strongly resembles Marion Crane (Diane Krueger). Seeing the initials "M.C." on her suitcase Norman freaks out and leaves the diner.
After the conversation with "Mother", Norman spies on Maureen as she undresses and heads into the bathroom to take a shower. Keeping "her" word, "Mother" enters Maureen's motel room with plans to kill her. Upon pulling back the shower curtain, it is revealed Maureen has attempted suicide by cutting her wrists, a sight which snaps Norman back to his "normal" side. Maureen looks up at "Mother" who is so weakened by what "she" sees, "she" lowers the knife. Due to blood loss, Maureen hallucinates and she mistakes Norman, dressed up as "Mother," is the Virgin Mary holding a silver crucifix.
Meanwhile, Tracy has met with Duane at a bar where they discuss Norman, and it seems Tracy blames Norman for Mrs. Spool's disappearance. When she leaves, Duane picks up another girl at the bar, Red (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning's Juliette Cummins). Norman gets Maureen to the local hospital to save her life. After she is released, he invites her to stay back at the motel and they begin a romantic relationship.
The same night, Duane and Red arrive at the motel and hear an argument between "Mother" and Norman, but think it's just a TV turned up too loud. Red and Duane, head to cabin 12 where they make love. Later that night, Red, makes it clear she wants more than just a fling. Calling him a pig, they argue. Duane, infuriated, throws her out of the cabin. Red heads down to the payphone to call a cab, where she realizes she is wearing her blouse backwards. As she takes it off to put it on the right way, "Mother" shatters the phone booth door and stabs a trapped Red to death. The next morning, Duane finds Norman scrubbing down the phone booth.
A group from out of town arrive at the motel where they plan to watch the local football game. Tracy comes to find Norman and ask questions about his past and "Mother". Norman becomes defensive with the reporter and tells her to leave, never to return. Later that night, he and Maureen go to a restaurant, where they dance and talk romantically, while Tracy searches Mrs. Spool's apartment. She discovers the Bates Motel's telephone number written on a magazine cover. Norman and Maureen return to the motel to find most of the other guests engaged in drunken stupor. Norman goes with Maureen to her room and they fall asleep in each other's arms having refused to make love. Some time afterwards, Patsy Boyle (Katt Shea Ruben), the only sober guest, wakes up Maureen to ensure her safety as Norman had left the door open, a bad idea with all the drunken guests around. Patsy needing to use the bathroom finds the one in Norman's parlor unoccupied, but "Mother" again emerges and slashes her throat. Norman (an homage to the reaction of finding Marion dead in the shower in the original) gasps when he discovers Patsy's body. He buries her in the motel's ice chest outside the office.
The next morning, Sheriff Hunt and Deputy Leo appear at Norman's house to investigate Patsy's disappearance. Norman tries to prevent Hunt from entering his mother's bedroom, when he discovers that "Mother"/Mrs. Spool has disappeared completely. Outside, Tracy tells Maureen about Norman, and she, rather upset, leaves the motel and goes to stay with Father Brian, who took care of her at the hospital. Meanwhile, Tracy is convinced Norman is behind the latest disappearances. Norman searches for his mother all over the house and finds a note from her stating that she is in cabin 12. When Norman arrives at the cabin, he learns it was Duane who took "Mother". Duane confronts him then attempts to blackmail Norman into paying him off, or he'll turn Norman into the police. He tells Duane he doesn't have that kind of money, but Duane reminds him that Norman has made a lot of cash from his business, and if Norman doesn't give money for his silence, he will go to the police. He agree's to Duane's blackmail demands, but he then unexpectedly throws an ashtray at Duane's head. They fight and Norman seemingly kills Duane by hitting him several times with his own guitar. Terrified of what he has done, he blames "Mother" for this.
Tracy talks to Statler and Myrna (Mira Sorvino) about Mrs. Spool and discovers she was working at the diner before Statler bought it from Harvey Leach. Tracy meets with Leach, a resident at an assisted living facility, and is informed that Mrs. Spool had also once been institutionalized for murder. Meanwhile, Norman drives Duane's car to the swamp with Duane and Patsy's bodies in it. Duane turns out to be alive and attacks Norman, who accidentally drives the car into the swamp. He struggles out of the car while Duane drowns. Tracy reads some old newspapers at her study and discovers about the "Bates kidnapping".
Maureen convinces herself that Norman is her true love. She returns to the motel and takes a shower before visiting Norman at his house. They share a tender moment at the top of the staircase when "Mother" shouts furiously at Norman, which startles and causes him to lose grip on Maureen's hands. She falls down the stairs into the cupid statue at the base of the stairs. She goes limp and sinks to the floor revealing the arrow had punctured her skull. Distraught, Norman, screams and confronts his mother that he will get her for this. "You don't have the guts boy!" utters "Mother." Then, Tracy arrives at the motel and tries to find Maureen. She enters the house only to find her lying dead on the couch of the living room which is filled with lit candles. Then she sees Norman dressed as "Mother," bearing a knife, and tries to flee. She tries to reason with Norman by explaining his family history: Emma Spool, who was in fact his aunt, was in love with Norman's father, but he married her sister, Norma, instead. Mrs. Spool, having serious psychological problems, kidnapped Norman when he was a baby, after she killed Mr. Bates, believing Norman was the child "she should have had with him."
She discovers Mrs. Spool's corpse in the bedroom, and Norman takes off his mother's dress. "Mother" orders him to kill Tracy, and when Norman raises the knife, he brutally attacks "Mother", dismembering her preserved remains. The last scene shows Sheriff Hunt taking Norman to his squad car, with Father Brian and Tracy following behind. Hunt informs Norman that they may never let him out of the institution again, Norman replies "But I'll be free...I'll finally be free." Norman, sitting silently in the back of the squad car on the way to the institution, enjoys his victory over his mother by caressing a trophy: the severed hand of Mrs. Spool. He smiles sardonically as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.
Cast and characters
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Character Media Psycho Psycho II Psycho III Norman Bates Thomas Sangster Marion Crane Diane Krueger Norma Bates Virginia Gregg Emma Spool Betsy Palmer Lila Crane Bonnie Hunt Sam Loomis Michael Fassbender Milton Arbogast Vincent Cassell Sheriff Al Chambers Hugo Weaving Dr. Fred Richmond Ed Harris George Lowery Vaughn Taylor Tom Cassidy Frank Albertson Eliza Chambers Lurene Tuttle Caroline Vera del Toro California Charlie John Anderson Highway Patrol Officer Mort Mills Mary Loomis Hayley Atwell Dr. Bill Raymond Ed Harris Warren Toomey Jon Fraveau Sheriff John Hunt Sam Elliot Ralph Statler Hugh Jackman Myrna Mira Sorvino Maureen Coyle Alice Braga Duane Duke Andrew Garfield Tracy Venable Roberta Maxwell Fran Ambrose Idris Elba Connie Bates Donna Mitchell Chet Rudolph Dan Smith