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Anthony Perkins makes his directorial debut as well as starring in the role for which he will forever be remembered. Beginning one month after the end of PSYCHO II, this film introduces Norman to the blonde Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid), a pretty young novice who is looking for some sign
from above that God exists. Having left the convent, Maureen arrives at the Bates Motel. Unfortunately, not only does she have the same initials as of one of Norman's victims (M.C.--Marion Crane), she also looks a bit like her. Norman tries to keep himself under control, fighting with his memory
of the murdered Marion. He discusses the problem with Mother, who is still propped up at her bedroom window, and who wants very much to get rid of that "whore" Maureen. Meanwhile, Maureen is tormented by the thoughts of her own "mother"--the Virgin Mary--to whom she has devoted her life.
Naturally, these two opposites attract, and Norman feels love for the first time. The Richard Franklin-Tom Holland PSYCHO II was commendable in that it revered Hitchcock and employed the master's techniques expertly. Perkins is an equally adroit director, but PSYCHO III differs significantly from
PSYCHO II in Perkins' wicked, malicious sense of humor. Not just some actor who has been given a chance to direct, Perkins has a style and, like fellow director-actors Orson Welles and Clint Eastwood, knows his own persona, knows how to photograph and light himself for the proper effect. Adding to
the excitement of PSYCHO III is Perkins' willingness to take chances with his style and material. Risking the wrath of religious groups, Perkins makes Maureen a nun who has fallen from grace. She thinks her life has been saved by the Virgin, but the credit is actually due to Norman--a
schizophrenic murderer. Unfortunately, PSYCHO III is much gorier than the two previous PSYCHOs, the murder scenes relying on creative killings rather than any real terror. PSYCHO II did mediocre business, and PSYCHO III did even worse.