The spectacle of Anthony Perkins directing himself in the role that typecast him for life promises at least some personal tension, and Perkins indeed seems deeply divided about Norman, presenting him sometimes with an almost parental affection for his vulnerability and dutifulness, at other times as a pure camp figure (on his way to a massacre, Norman pauses to straighten a picture on the wall), and finally as a genuinely bloodthirsty monster, which is about as far from Hitchcock's original conception as it seems possible to get. Here and there (most embarrassingly in a toilet murder scene, intended to parallel the celebrated shower of the original) Perkins tries to imitate Hitchcock's visual style, but most of the film is made without concern for style of any kind, unless it's the bludgeoning nonstyle of Friday the 13th. Still, there are two performances of unexpected depth and subtlety—Diana Scarwid as a defrocked nun who briefly offers Norman the hope of romantic salvation, and Roberta Maxwell as a tough, professional investigative reporter on Norman's case. With Jeff Fahey and Hugh Gullin.
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