Welcome to Psycho Week: Day 2. Today is TV Tuesday, and you know what that means on Psycho week. That’s right, Bates Motel. Now, this was a show that I couldn’t help but watch every week. It had a little bit of a slow start, but it ultimately got better as the show moved on. It chronicled the life of young Norman Bates and his mother, Norma, before he became a madman all the way through its own version of the first film in the last season – including Mariane Crane herself. If you haven’t seen the show, but love the movies or even the books, this definitely isn’t a TV show to miss.
There are quite a few things to like in the show vs. the movies. First of all, the character dynamics are better in this show than any of the films combined. They have a great use of building characters through time. So once a season is over, there is more to learn about everyone, and I think that’s really important. The show also had its own use of horror elements and shocking twists that worked for the show rather well. I say it’s their own use, because the movies were pretty specific in how they did mystery and twists, and a lot of how the show operated was unique to the show and only the show.
It may have had a lot of shout outs to the films, but it was ultimately its own thing. The final season had Mariane Crane showing up for the first time, but you know the show isn’t the movie when the most iconic moment in Psycho history doesn’t actually happen the way you completely expect it to. From that moment forward, it takes a huge bold step and turns it into something completely original, knowing that Psycho fans will hate it for that direction. Personally, I applaud it.
Bates Motel was closest in concept to the film Psycho IV: The Beginning – and I’ll talk more about that in my review on Friday, but for now, let’s talk about the four books that exist today.
- The first book in the series, the one that interested Hitchcock enough to make a movie off of it, was almost a direct copy of the film. Hitchcock did Robert Bloch proud with his version of Norman Bates. The only thing that really differed between the book and film was Norman’s appearance, which was a bit overweight, with thick glasses. Personally, I believe that both Freddie Highmore and Anthony Perkins pulled off “the look” so much more effectively. Originally, I believe Bloch based Norman off of Ed Gain.
- Psycho: Sanitarium
- Psycho Sanitarium was actually the last one written, as it wasn’t Robert Bloch that wrote it. It takes place in-between the first and second book, and it quickly being respected as the one true Psycho sequel book. Long story short, but Robert Bloch destroyed the franchise in the second book of his, which even confuses me to why there is a third. This book covers his life in the sanitarium, where there is yet again another mystery, another case, and yes – more killings. It all starts when Norman is told he has a brother that he never knew about – which is interesting, considering he has a brother in Bates Motel, but not in the films. I was definitely a fan of this book and the original.
- Psycho II
- [Book Spoiler Alert] This is where the crap hits the fan. The origins of this book are hilarious, but that’s the only thing funny about it. You see, both this book and the movie came out about the same time. Both the book and the movie took a 20-year hiatus to bring Norman back to the books, and there’s a reason. Hollywood decided they were going to bring back Norman Bates in a sequel to the original film, and Robert Bloch offered his hand to writing the script. They basically said no thanks, we’re good, which really ticked off the author. So he made sure to write a sequel with the same name before the movie came out. That part is hilarious, but that’s it. This is a crapshoot of a book that has forgotten what Bates is all about. It’s like, they cured him, so he’s good to just rape nuns and kill them without a second thought, and just die right then and there. The idea was, they were making a movie about his life, and he was going to head out there and kill them, because…why not. That doesn’t happen.
- Psycho House
- The final book is just bizarre. Norman is dead at this point, they’ve since burned down the house and motel, and rebuilt it as a theme park. Something bad happens there, of course, and then the “mother” wax figure goes missing. So, a reporter heads around figuring out about Norman Bates and trying to figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile, a demonologist finds his way to the Bates place and says Norman Bates was possessed by a demon, which left when he died, went to someone else, which was the main bad guy of the second book, and is now in some unknown person. What? This is a grounded series that’s suddenly gone paranormal? Needless to say, I haven’t finished the book yet, I’m almost done, but I get the gist. I’m just happy the book series is over. If Chet wants to keep making Psycho books, I happily welcome it, because he seemed to respect the story more than Bloch ultimately did.