Picks and Pans Review: Psycho Iv: the Beginning

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Showtime (Sat., Nov 10., 9 P.M. ET)

B-

What makes Norman slash? This made-for-cable prequel provides the answer in cumbersome detail. Anthony Perkins, playing our Mr. Bates for the fourth time, reveals the roots of what he calls his "soul cancer" as he speaks with a radio talk show host (CCH Pounder) by phone. Henry (E.T.) Thomas plays Norman as a tortured adolescent. Olivia Hussey is his mama, by turns seductive and emasculating.

The movie paints a genuinely claustrophobic portrait of psychosexual abuse but generates little horror. It owes most of its fright factor to links with the 1960 original, including the house on the hill, the original Bernard Herrmann score and a still creepy Perkins. Psycho IV is scary only when it has a little Hitch to it.

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