Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)

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Released 18-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 92:11
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Mick Garris

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Anthony Perkins
Henry Thomas
Olivia Hussey
CCH Pounder
Warren Frost
Donna Mitchell
Thomas Schuster
Sharen Camille
Bobbi Evors
John Landis
Kurt Paul
Louis Crume
Cynthia Garris
Case ?
RPI Box Music Graeme Revell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    To be honest I never knew that there was a Psycho IV: The Beginning until it arrived on my doorstep to be reviewed. This made-for-television movie attempts to breathe new life into the redundant franchise by providing a prequel.

    "A boy's best friend is his mother".

    It seems that no matter how many people Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) kills, the authorities are determined to keep him out on the streets. In Psycho IV, Norman is once again out on parole, but this time he is married, and expecting his first child.

    While cooking dinner, Norman is listening to a radio talk show on matricide (killing one's mother), and decides to phone in and participate. Being interviewed by the show's host (CCH Pounder), provides the weak structure for the plot, as Norman delves back in time and tells of the events that led up to Psycho.

    What we get is a collection of flash-backs of Norman at various ages (usually played by Henry Thomas), that explain the sexual confusion and frustration caused by his strange mother (Olivia Hussey).

    Written by the original Psycho screen-writer, Joseph Stephano, the story ignores the awful television series Bates Motel and also contradicts information presented in the other three Psycho movies. Overall, it remains a sad ending to both the Psycho franchise and to Perkins' career, as Perkins sadly died from an AIDS-related illness two years later.

    While Perkins did appear in other films, it will be as Norman Bates that he will always be fondly remembered.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full-frame.

    The sharpness is acceptable, but the shadow detail is poor, for example, consider the lack of detail in the room at 15:14. The colour often appears a little dark or yellowish.

    There are no problems with MPEG artefacts, but film-to-video artefacts appear as a slight shimmer on objects throughout. Small film artefacts also appear throughout, and there is some edge enhancement at times.

    There are sixteen sets of subtitles present, and the English ones are simplified but accurate. This is a single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are five audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are acceptable.

    The original musical score is credited to Graeme Revell, but the film relies heavily on Bernard Herrmann's classic work for Psycho.

    Of all the Psycho movies, this one has the best sound quality. The surround mix is reasonable, and both the score and effects are piped through the rears. Indeed, the score often features prominently in the rears, such as at 85:32. There is also a reasonable LFE track which can be noticed in places such as during the fireworks at 8:04.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras.


    A very simple menu, it is static and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    While Psycho IV has been released on VHS in Region 1, I can find no reliable information about a Region 1 DVD release. I will update this section when/if more news comes to hand.


    .Psycho IV: The Beginning is really the end; and it is a sad and undignified end. This is a boring and tedious made-for-television movie, with an amateur plot. When watching it, even the actors seem to realise that the parade has already passed, and all that's left are faded streamers and garbage in the gutters.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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