Bates Motel is the perfect TV adaptation of a movie
The fascination for psychology began in 1959 with the publication of the novel of the same title by Robert Bloch. Alfred Hitchcock would adapt the novel into a film the following year, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin and Vera Miles. Several sequels and reboots have been made over the years, but none have been in the same conversation as Hitchcock’s film. This was to change with the arrival of the A&E series, Bates Motel in 2013.
Bates Motel ran for five seasons, and it never stopped delivering psychology horrifying levels of suspense and gore. The series was supposed to serve as a prequel to Hitchcock’s. psychology, and for the most part, Bates Motel could lead to psychology beautifully. Bates Motel stars Conspiracy Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore as notorious members of the Bates family. Other cast members include Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nestor Carbonell, and Kenny Johnson.
Bates Motel begins long before the events of psychology. Norma (Farmiga) and Norman (Highmore) buy a motel six months after Norman’s father dies. Their arrival is quickly opposed by many locals, including the motel’s former owner, Keith Summers. He breaks into the house shortly after the Bates arrive and attacks Norma. Norman stabs the man to death (in typical psychology mode) and he and Norma cover up his murder. Keith’s sudden disappearance lands on the radar of Sheriff Alex Romero (Carbonell), who has his first run-in with the Bates family. This is only the first of countless grizzly crimes that take place on the property after Norma and Norman arrive, though it is soon learned that the property has a history of getting into trouble.
Shortly after the Bates family takes over the motel, Norma decides to employ Emma Decody (Cooke), a classmate of Norman’s who acts kind to him. Like Romero, Emma begins to question the Bates family over time, as the secrets they keep begin to reach new heights. Norma and Norman aren’t the only members of the Bates family that appear throughout the series. Norman’s half-brother Dylan Massett (Thieriot) appears on the show soon after and neither Norman nor Norma seem happy to see him. The reason for this comes to light in the form of Norma’s brother, Caleb (Johnson), who Norma is increasingly shaken to see.
As a prequel to psychology, Bates Motel does the perfect job of establishing the rocky backstory between Norma and Norman. In the 1960 film, Perkins’ portrayal of Norman and the exchanges he has with “Mother” suggest a strange relationship between the two characters. Bates Motel built on the unsettling relationship between Norma and Norman increased tenfold. Norman’s love and admiration for his mother borders on incestuous, though Norma does little to dispel Norman’s odd behavior. Norma dislikes women whom Norman begins to prefer to her and sometimes allows Norman to share the bed with her. The relationship between Norma and Norman is not always ideal and eventually Norma ends up fearing Norman.
Bates Motel largely serves as a prequel to psychology, but like any adaptation, it is not an exact link. The fifth and final season of Bates Motel makes some changes to what would have led to Hitchcock’s film. At the start of Season 5, Norma is dead at Norman’s hands, and he regularly speaks with “Mother” throughout the day, believing she was only faking her death. Various other characters realize Norman’s inability to process the truth after Norma’s death and the persona he assumes to deal with it. The person most interested in Norman’s odd behavior is Chick (Ryan Hurst), who, despite knowing about Norman’s affliction, decides to stay behind to subtly study Norman for a novel he’s writing about him.
Season 5 is where Bates Motel begins to leak only the Hitchcock story, but it is far from forgotten. It is impossible to discuss psychology without mentioning one of the most famous scenes in the history of cinema, and Bates Motel I knew it. Psychosis shower scene where Marion Crane (Leigh) is stabbed to death has just enough to keep the surprising twist at the end of the film intact. Marion’s relationship with Sam Loomis (Gavin) is what drives Psychosis events in action and Bates Motel do not forget their meaning. Instead, they masterfully record their intro for the final season.
Marion (played by Rihanna) checks into the motel and meets her boyfriend Sam (played by Austin Nichols), who is married, unbeknownst to her. Earlier in the season, Norman met Sam’s wife, Madeleine, and had taken a liking to her due to her similarities to Norma. Norman sabotages Sam by telling Marion the truth, causing Marion to trust Norman. “Mother” attempts to convince Norman to kill Marion but in order to ensure her safety, Norman tricks Marion into leaving the Bates Motel. Sam isn’t so lucky and arrives at the Bates Motel looking for Marion. He decides to shower in his room while waiting for him, where Norman, in an ode to psychologystabs him to death.
Psychosis The final twist that reveals Norman as “Mother” is an unforgettable moment. Go in Bates Motel with the knowledge of what becomes of Norman certainly gives the audience an edge. However, Bates Motel builds on the story of Norman Bates, whom Hitchcock played a major role in creating an iconic horror character. Bates Motel makes the Bates family story its own with new characters and a change of scenery, but the mood remains the same. Bates Motel not only pays homage to psychology but is able to stand on its own as a gruesome series about a boy, his mother, and the secrets they keep that never seem to stay buried.
Bates Motel is now streaming on Peacock.
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