Norman Bates is the most infamous mama’s boy in film history. This lunatic, played by Anthony Perkins, was the villain in Alfred Hitchcock’s historic film Psycho, released in 1960. The English director was the mastermind behind several hit films, but Psycho became one of his most important works. The film was so influential that it became a study point for film students and eventually inspired a new series decades later.
In Psycho, a young couple is under financial stress but wishes to be wed. Marrion Crane is eager to begin their union, but her boyfriend, Sam Loomis, has accumulated tremendous debt. Marrion Crane comes across the solution to their problems when she is presented with an opportunity to steal $40,000 at her job.
Marrion takes the money, ditches her old car, and heads to Fairvale, California, to see Sam. She is in the clear as far as she is concerned. Marrion gets caught in a heavy rainstorm while driving and decides to take refuge in a nearby hotel, The Bates Motel. She is invited to dinner by the motel’s owner, Mr. Norman Bates. Norman tells Marrion about his sad life where he feels tethered to the motel and his mentally ill mother.
During her stay at Bates motel, Marrion is stabbed in the shower by a shadowy figure. Crane’s boyfriend and sister search for her along with a private investigator. As the plot unravels, it is clear something strange sinister is happening at the Bates motel. The private investigator is murdered, so Sam and Marrion’s sister decide to uncover the secret of Norman and his mysterious mother that has yet to be seen.
They find the attic of Norman’s home and discover that his mother is a corpse, long dead. Norman then attacks them, wielding a knife dressed in his mother’s clothing and a wig. Sam is able to disarm and restrain Norman, and he is brought to the authorities. Norman’s history is finally revealed. He killed his mother and her lover out of jealousy and mentally developed the personality he refers to as “mother” as a coping mechanism. Norman is a serial killer who kills people according to the emotions of his other persona.
Bates Motel: Something’s Wrong with Norman
Bates Motel is a series that aired in 2013 centered around Norman’s teenage years. Freddie Highmore plays Norman in his developmental years as he slowly becomes the psycho featured in the Hitchcock film. Bates Motel also shines a new light on Norman’s mother, Norma Bates, and her complicated upbringing. Norma was a survivor of sexual assault, and she was routinely physically assaulted by Norman’s father.
The series gradually gives more context as to why Norman developed his dissociative identity disorder. To defend his mother, Norman brutally murdered his father at a very young age. As Norman got older, he began to blackout regularly and experienced murderous urges, especially when he was attracted to women.
Bates Motel’s 5-season run masterfully crafted a rich history for the mysterious and captivating character. Norman was a sweet and sensitive young boy, while his “mother” persona developed an unquenchable bloodthirst. Norman committed murder after murder upon temptation and eventually killed his mother Norma.
This series was genius. It explored Norman’s psyche and perfectly developed him to become Anthony Perkins’ iteration of Norman Bates. It thoroughly covered every aspect of the mysterious character’s personality and habits. The series even shows Norman gaining a love for taxidermy, a twisted foreshadowing of his mother’s fate. Norman Bates is a special kind of villain. He is the kind that isn’t even aware he is doing anything evil in the first place. Norman Bates is one bad mother.
Villains: Norman Bates
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