Intrada Special Collection Vol.273
31 Tracks/Disc Time: 74:30
Grade: B+ (BEST OF 2014)
It was considered blasphomy that anyone would've even dared to make a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's much beloved thriller opus, "Psycho". When dollar signs rang ramped in the hollowed halls of Universal Pictures, the idea of a sequel was a great idea and with the backing of two fresh voices in Australian director Richard Franklin ("Road Games", "Patrick") and famed horror writer Tom Holland ("Fright Night", Stephen King's Thinner") which was pretty close to ending up as a TV movie until Anthony Perkins agreed to return and then it was back on track to be a theatrical release for the Summer of 1983. The film takes place 22 years after the events the original film as Norman Bates (Perkins) is released from the mental institution he had been incarcerated in much to the dismay of Leila Loomis (Verna Bloom), the sister (played by Janet Leigh in Psycho) who was murdered in the original film. Conceiving a devious plan to have Bates thrown back in prison, (spoiler alert) enlists her daughter, Mary (Meg Tilly, "Tex") to latch onto him and drive him to the point of insanity. Norman, who's working at a local diner finds trouble in the persona of the sleezy Toomey (Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue") who's now running his hotel and the evil, errie voice of Norman's mother who may or may not be dead and causing a new series of murders inside the Bates house. The film featured a rather shocking and surprise ending that made the film a refreshing and well received sequel and enough for a third "Psycho" film which would be directed by Perkins himself in 1986.
While the house, that infamous costume and memorable "Murder" music by the late Bernard Herrmann were happily brought back for this sequel, but Richard Franklin was given the opportunity to reuse Herrmann's original score for "Psycho" and chose not to use it because his film was original that it needed an original score of its' own and enlisted the services of Oscar Winner Jerry Goldsmith (who was his first and only choice) to score the film. Goldsmith at the time was going through his strongest period musically that began with his Oscar win for the unforgettable "The Omen" that soon led to memorable and unforgettable scores for "Capricorn One", "The Boys From Brazil", "Masada", "First Blood", "Poltergeist", "The Challenge", "Outland", "The Final Conflict", and "Alien". 1983 would go on to feature even more of Goldsmith's finest works with the only redeeming value in "Twilight Zone The Movie" and the Oscar nominated, "Under Fire", which narrowly lost to Bill Conti's memorable, "The Right Stuff".
After a brief recap of the original film including the infamous murder sequence featuring Bernard Herrmann's unforgettable piece, Goldsmith rightfully takes over the show and makes the film his own starting with the chilling "Psycho 2 - Main Title" with icy cold piano and errie electronics that lead up to a warmer theme of loss and longing for Norman Bates. With a film such as this, Goldsmith concentrated on building up the suspense ten fold utilizing an array of electronics, percussion, and aggressive string work that just builds and builds making him the voice of the violence in the film as well as Norman's state of mind and everything around him. Tension dominates the first half of the album with underlying panic with tracks such as "The House", "Old Weapons", "Cheese Sandwich", "Mother's Room", and "Mother's Room #2" in which Goldsmith subtly builds up the everything that is come in the the latter half of the album which is devoted to the final unmasking of who it may really be that's haunting Norman through these current murders which include "Basement Killing", "Blood Bath", "The Cellar" and "It's Not Your Mother" which are exceptional and brilliantly understated and suspenseful tracks where Goldsmith really utilizes the dark colorful pallette of terror to wonderful and driving degree. Hammering wild pianos, aggressive string work, percussion, brass and pulsing electronics that drive these solid tracks that pay off everything that Goldsmith had built up prior to a musical horror frenzy. "Expected Guest" culminates the main theme that Goldsmith wrote and takes a more tender approach after the shocking reveal and its' final conclusion with the "Psycho 2 - End Credits" recapping the scores' main thematic material for a very satisfying end to this very solid score.
Intrada's special release of this score fully expands the score as the way it was meant to be heard with all of layers of nuance and terror aided by that sinister electronic slashing that Goldsmith creatively incorporated into his score that made it all the more terrifying. Goldsmith was a skilled musician who always looking for an edge (excuse the pun) to make his scores as original and thrilling as any composer I've heard and that's why he is sorely missed to this very day. It was that kind of originality that made his scores so special even if the film wasn't and "Psycho 2" definitely falls into the category of a film that works for its' own merits and it's a very solid film and Goldsmith easily saw past the horror and went for the suspense which makes this score solid and balanced. Very strong thumbs up!