The story of “Psycho”, arguably the creepiest movie ever made, started with a novel published in 1959 by Robert Bloch. Inspired by real life events Bloch, created the character of Norman Bates, the ultimate mama’s boy, who truly loved his oppressive mom too much.
The novel inspired Alfred Hitchcock to direct possibly the greatest psychological thriller ever made, “Psycho” (1960). Marion (Janet Leigh), needs money to be able to marry her boyfriend. She’s so desperate that she decides to steal her bosses funds and quickly gets punished for her sins (pre-marital sex and theft that is ;)), in an off-road motel. Its owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is a socially awkward bachelor, completely obedient to his mother with whom he lives in a gloomy mansion. I can’t say more not to disclose too much about this classic’s plot, which in my opinion, managed not to age.
The film was a smashing hit so it shouldn’t be a surprise that three sequels followed. It worth noting that Anthony Perkins remained faithful to his characters in all of them, even though the movies are much less impressive. Was it the end of the Norman Bates’s story? Of course, not. Our modern tradition of remaking and rebooting couldn’t leave the perfect thriller on its own and in 1998, a generally good director Gus Van Sant butchered the original “Psycho” with the help of Anne Heche as Marion and Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates (please!).
The lack of excitement over the remake made the producers leave the theme alone for a few years, till an idea for a series appeared. “Bates Motel” is a prequel of the movie, showing more insight into the mother (Vera Farminga) and son (Freddie Highmore) relationship before it went entirely wrong. A good cast, lack of predictability and a truly engaging plot makes the series a remarkable one. There’s also much more romance and other, seemingly normal, issues than in the novel and the movie.
As we can see above, the Norman Bates story inspired many people in the movie industry. The possible reasons for this, isn’t only the money that still can be made of the story. In my opinion, it’s the interest in human psychology and in the process of “things going wrong” that makes the theme so fascinating. After all how is it possible for something as natural as mother and son relationship to become so toxic? Was Norman predestined to become who he is or could he have escaped his mother’s influence? Can a child with an abusive parent become normal at all? I guess these are just questions in a nurture/nature debate that cannot be answered entirely.
I’ll always encourage my Dear Readers, however, to watch and read things that inspire deeper thoughts.