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Old September 23 2008, 12:00 AM   #186
Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion
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Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

^^ Indeed. I think it's his best short-story collection, representing his work when he was in his absolute prime. And I've always thought he was better at short stories than novels.

Spaceman Spiff wrote: View Post
I've never seen any of the Psycho sequels. Are they any good?
They are a mixed bag, but all worth watching. Personally, I think Psycho II is the best of them all, including the original. While the original is brilliant and iconic and influential, it's also got a few of those "Look at me, I'm Alfred Hitchcock" moments that detract from it. Also, Norman Bates, the character that makes the movie iconic, is almost in a supporting role and is almost a gimmick. But Psycho II is all about Norman; it's a tightly plotted, character-driven sequel that touches all the bases that a good sequel should, and it comes with a bunch of nifty plot twists.

Psycho III is... interesting. It was directed by Anthony Perkins and looks great, very well done. The plot, however, is weak (I especially think so since I had my own plot that would have brought the whole story full circle). It certainly has its moments and Perkins does a great job with Norman, but it's ultimately unsatisfying. That bearded helicopter guy from Lost, whose name escapes me at the moment, is great in the co-starring role.

Psycho IV is the worst of the bunch, but still worth watching, if only on an academic level. It was written by Joe Stefano, who wrote the screenplay for the original (and is most famous for his work on the original Outer Limits), so it's fascinating to see him revisit that world. It's both a sequel and a prequel, as Perkins plays an aging Norman who revisits his youth (with Mother) in flashbacks. Stefano kind of had to fudge the timeline a bit. For me, the most interesting part was the "present day" framing sequence; I won't give it away, but I'll just say there's a character who's even creepier than Norman, if you think about it.

It starts out fairly run-of-the-mill, but it's a mill that I like: A stranger moves to a New England town during the crisp Autumn months and slowly discovers its dark secrets. It should be its own sub-genre at this point, but I like those kinds of stories.
Me, too (no surprise ). It's also the perfect kind of book for this time of year.

Then again, you could argue that if such creatures are real, those are just the sorts of waters they'd wade in; corruption of the flesh and whatnot.
Yeah, it's certainly not the first time a writer has gone that route; it's really not uncommon, actually.

I just got Mad Monster Party in the mail. I didn't realize it was two hours long-- I expected a one-hour TV special kind of thing. I don't know if I have the will power to wait until Halloween to watch it....
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