Jeff Fahey

Psycho III (1986, Anthony Perkins)

I’m a little upset. Anthony Perkins only directed two pictures and one of them–this one–was written by Charles Edward Pogue. Pogue’s a bit of punchline, but at least most of Psycho III is well-plotted. His dialogue, especially at the beginning, is iffy, but it might also have been Perkins getting used to directing actors.

Psycho III takes place a month after Psycho II. While II was a really sensitive attempt to follow up on a famous cinema character, it ended weakly. III attempts, eventually, to right the misstep. I can’t figure out why Maltin, for instance, says this one’s played for laughs. It’s even sadder in some ways than the second film, with Perkins’s Norman finding the hint of real redemption and real human concern, only to have it destroyed.

Perkins, I think, did stage work and he directs the good actors in Psycho III like stage actors. The scenes with him and Diana Scarwid, for example, are just lovely, the two of them really understanding how to share the space and the time. Scenes with Jeff Fahey, not so much. Fahey’s awful in Psycho III and it’s sort of shocking no one realized the attempted rapist–Fahey’s establishing characteristic–was a villain deserving of a spectacular end.

Though the IMDb trivia says he was supposedly–initially–the villain.

Unfortunately, the film ends on its own misstep.

But it’s a fine ride to it. Especially with Carter Burwell’s fantastic (synthesizer-heavy?) score and Bruce Surtees’s luscious photography.



Directed by Anthony Perkins; screenplay by Charles Edward Pogue, based on characters created by Robert Bloch; director of photography, Bruce Surtees; edited by David E. Blewitt; music by Carter Burwell; production designer, Henry Bumstead; produced by Hilton A. Green; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Diana Scarwid (Maureen Coyle), Jeff Fahey (Duane Duke), Roberta Maxwell (Tracy Venable), Hugh Gillin (Sheriff John Hunt), Lee Garlington (Myrna) and Robert Alan Browne (Ralph Statler).

Impulse (1990, Sondra Locke)

Impulse is somewhat interesting as a piece of pseudo-feminist filmmaking. Not to suggest Locke’s a poser. It’s just her intentions can’t compete with her script.

The script appears to have come from two actors turned writers. Leigh Chapman seems to have been brought in to female-up the script.

There are some really nice little moments, like suitor Jeff Fahey being turned away by Russell because she doesn’t need the male comforting. There’s an effective scene concerning their differences.

But then there’s an awkward love scene; it’s hard not to think was simply put in as a love scene directed by a female director sort of as critic bait–to give them something to talk about it. It’s a useless scene.

Russell’s decent, nothing more. There’s a lot of focus on her hair.

Her character’s constantly undercover and wearing a wire and her superior officer (George Dzundza in a bad performance) is supposed to be monitoring the wire. But the wire never works, so she’s always put in these dangerous situations and he never worries about them because–well, fifty-fifty between him trusting her ability and his dislike for her because she rejects his advances.

There’s a whole film in just that conflict… a better one.

Fahey’s fine. Alan Rosenberg’s funny as his assistant. Lynne Thigpen is good as Russell’s psychiatrist. Nick Savage turns up to remind the viewer “Hill Street Blues” is more realistic than eighties cop movies.

Impulse is dismissible, which it never should have been.



Directed by Sondra Locke; screenplay by John DeMarco and Leigh Chapman, based on a story by DeMarco; director of photography, Dean Semler; edited by John W. Wheeler; music by Michel Colombier; production designer, William A. Elliot; produced by Andre Morgan and Albert S. Ruddy; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Theresa Russell (Lottie Mason), Jeff Fahey (Stan), George Dzundza (Lt. Joe Morgan), Alan Rosenberg (Charley Katz), Nicholas Mele (Rossi), Eli Danker (Dimarjian), Charles McCaughan (Frank Munoff), Lynne Thigpen (Dr. Gardner), Shawn Elliott (Tony Peron), Angelo Tiffe (Luke), Christopher Lawford (Steve) and Nick Savage (Edge).

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