Friday, October 31, 2008

Psycho II: Electric Boogaloo

There was a list linked from IMDB to "under-rated horror movies" but, as always, such things are dubious. It started, for example, with Suspiria, Dario Argento's classic-for-horror-snobs. Suspiria has some great moments, don't get me wrong, but it's also an uneven mess of a film. And it's far from under-rated. (The argument went something like "These kids today haven't seen it, so it's under-rated." Meh.)

I give them credit for including Arachnophobia. I've always felt it was a comedy, but if they say people are scared by it, who am I to argue?

Psycho 2 is under-rated. It's actually a fairly decent movie that mostly suffers because it doesn't even touch the hem of the original. But it plays that way: It's not Gus Van Sant trying to remake the original, it's a very smart, knowing ripoff. It knows it's a rip-off, and it knows you know, and invites you to have fun anyway.

A dark comedy with little twitches and quirks that make the Psycho fan smile, if he's not too uptight.

Not to get maudlin again, but I'm drawn to certain tragedies among the cast. The beautiful Meg Tilly (whom I loved from her performance in One Dark Night) was sexually abused as a child. Perkins, of course, died of AIDS complications while his wife died on Flight 11. Cancer got director Richard Franklin, who did the underrated Road Games with Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis prior to this.

Writer Tom Holland's career is dead. (Rim-shot.) Nah, he created Fright Night and the Child's Play series (which ultimately would star Meg's sister Jennifer). Last seen directing a tepid episode of "Masters of Horror" called "We All Scream for Ice Scream".

As I say, if you're not too uptight, it's worth checking out.

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