A & E debuted the spin off TV Series, Bates Motel, in 2013. The show is an adaptation of the original horror film, Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock. Psycho isn’t just any horror movie, it is a world renowned classic that STILL is attracting a large fan base. The original movie tells the story about a young man and his mother’s lives as motel managers, while also telling the story of Marion Crane. The 1960 film begins with introducing Marion and her current dilemma of wanting to be with a married man, but her lover doesn’t feel financially stable enough to properly take care of someone like Ms. Crane. She decides to take matters into her own hands and robs $40,000 from her real estate company’s office. Instead of depositing the money, she decides to make a trip across country.
The movie plot follows her cross country excursion and gives the audience a chance to feel invested in her character. Eventually, she arrives at Bates Motel and the reality of Norman’s ‘alternate personalities’ ends up deadly. Bates Motel is the story before Marion Crane. It is intended to provide a bit of a backstory to why Norman is the way he is. With such an iconic film being the inspiration, the show has done incredibly well. The series finale will be on April 24th at 9/10 C.
15. Mother vs. Norma Bates
In Psycho, mother is cynical and she isn’t a likable character. In Bates, Norma is humanized and often times portrayed as a desperate parent trying to protect her son and make a normal life for the two of them. She is only perceived as an evil entity when Norman visualizes her/himself as her. Her presence in the show helps better understand the relationship between mother and son and often times we are clued in to the awkward husband/wife-like relationship between Norman and Norma. After doing some research, it was revealed that the creators had a much more twisted path that they wanted the mother/son relationship to go down. For instance, they had a sex scene planned but it was scrapped!
14. Show Was Inspired By Real People
Psycho, the movie, is actually based off of the 1957 book, Psycho, by Robert Bloch. Bloch was residing in Wisconsin during the time he wrote the book and during that time, the infamous serial killer and cannibal, Ed Gein, was just arrested in close proximity to where Bloch lived. The author didn’t necessarily base the character of Norman off of the serial killer, but later on, Bloch discovered that the two had quite a few similarities. Ed Gein has an almost identical family history to Norman Bates. For instance, suspiciously dead mothers are common to both, and Gein had a morbid obsession with women too.
13. The Series Finale Won’t End Like The Movie
According to an interview the production team did with Entertainment Weekly, they revealed that the series end would be anticlimactic if it ended the same way that the movie it is based on did. This is exciting news for die hard Bates Motel fans. The entire series has thrown viewers for a loop. Most of the perceived notions about the realities of life in White Pine Bay are disproved on more than one occasion. So, it’s no surprise that the ending will be another twist. If you don’t recall the original ending of the psychological horror film, Bates is imprisoned and order is restored back in the community. Hopefully, Bates Motel wraps up a few loose ends, but we definitely need more closure than what the movie provided.
12. Vera Farmiga Originally Didn’t Want To Be Norma
Actress Vera Farmiga does a remarkable job portraying the perceived conception of Norma Bates so it’s surprising that she hadn’t been too fond of the idea when she first read the script. She felt that trying to regenerate one of the most popular thrillers in cinema, as a TV series, was bound to fail. She didn’t feel as if the show would be well received by the die-hard classic movie lovers. Fortunately, she was wrong. Even some who would consider themselves crazed Hitchcock fans can’t help but be enthralled in the show. Farmiga made a great career choice when she decided to take on the role of ‘Mother’. The New Jersey native also had a role in The Departed, Up in the Air and an independent film, Down to the Bone.
11. Norman Bates Actor Is British
Freddie Highmore, who flawlessly portrays Norman Bates, is actually a British actor and did most of his acting in child roles. He was in Finding Neverland as well as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s always a shock to find out that an actor isn’t a native to the American accent when they do it so well in their acting role. Now that I think back, his peculiarly creepy voice and over pronunciation of syllables definitely fits the character, but the fact that Highmore isn’t native to our accent could help with the weird feeling his voice gives you. He does portray a character that has formal and proper mannerisms so perhaps his native roots helped him land the role.
10. Friday Night Lights and Lost Producers Came Together to Produce Bates Motel
The creative genius behind the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, Psycho, was thought up by an extremely talented group of people. Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano are the ones to thank for coming up with the idea to show the world how they perceive the infamous Norman Bates to have grown up and how he became the notorious serial killer in both the movie and the TV series. The producers had created two of the most productive TV series and they can now add Bates Motel to their repertoire. Friday Night Lights and Lost were both epic TV hits. Ehrin also produced the hit TV show, Parenthood. There were clearly a plethora of creative minds working on producing this show, so there is no surprise that Bates Motel is one of the most popular shows on TV right now.
9. There Are Psycho References
There are quite a few visual details that mirror Hitchcock’s spooky masterpiece. For instance, the house on the hill and Norman’s taxidermy obsession (the final episode of season 2 features a stuffed owl in the parlour, a spot-on reference to a scene in the movie). The show is set in modern day, but Norma and Norman oftentime portray the 1950’s/60’s version of themselves as Hitchcock created them. Viewers find themselves questioning the absence of modern technology in almost all the episodes (except a few, you see Norman with an iPhone), reminding us to keep in mind that the Bates Motel originated more than a half century ago. The producers were able to find a happy medium and didn’t make the show seem dated by not including things like plasma TV’s and iPhone 7’s. They do have computers that they use frequently, and there will be background extras with modern day cell phones, but Norman and Norma are never seen with one of the futuristic devices.
8. Dylan Massett
Dylan is the half brother/cousin to Norman. Bates Motel is meant to provide a backstory to what elements helped shape Norman Bates into being a serial killer. The nature vs. nurture concept comes into play when the viewer is given a glimpse into the life before White Pine Bay. In Psycho, there’s no mention of a sibling to Norman, but the show gives Dylan a crucial part in Bates’ life. His presence is unsettling for a while, but he is the one whom both Norman and Norma rely on to maintain some type of normalcy. The only time Dylan provides the viewer with a hint that Norma may not exist is one of the first episodes when he walks into the house and Norman says, “Mother? Is that you?”Dylan tells Norman to stop doing that because it’s creepy, perhaps giving an early glimpse at what’s going on inside Norman’s mind.
7. Caleb Calhoun
Another character that didn’t have a mention in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Caleb Calhoun makes his debut in season 2 when he shows up looking for his estranged sister, Norma. Introducing another family member provides an even deeper insight into family history and how it plays a role in Norman ending up a serial killer. As Caleb makes an attempt to reunite with his sister, Norma’s reaction gives a clear indicator that there is some deep history between the two of them. Later on, we find out that Caleb actually sexually assaulted Norma when she was younger. We also find out that her mother was mentally ill and she was too afraid to tell her father, due to the fear that he might kill Caleb. Oddly enough, she ends her conversation about her unfortunate past by stating that it doesn’t really matter, she just wanted someone to know in case something happened. Hmmm.
6. A Few Differences Between Show And Movie
Although the visual aspects share similarities, the production team did not intend for the series to perfectly mimic the film. But there are some major differences; for instance, the film doesn’t introduce Norman until well into the movie. The TV show introduces him and his mother immediately and continues to focus more on their everyday life instead of the murders (as the film does). We also never actually see Norma Bates in the film, and she isn’t referred to by anything but Mother. Unlike Bates Motel where ‘Mother’ actually has a name and is arguably the most crucial character in the plot. Die-hard Hitchcock fans have voiced their disdain for the TV adaptation. This isn’t the first time that the film has been made into a TV show either. Back in 1987, NBC launched the original version of the movie spin-off, but it proved unsuccessful.
5. Bates Motel Leaves Less To The Imagination
Psycho is categorized as a psychological thriller, and rightfully so. Hitchcock leaves all the gory details to our imagination throughout the entire film. Of course, movie production and costume/special effects were unheard of at the time of the film, so a realistic visualization of Norman’s killer antics was impossible. But that made the movie that much creepier. In Hitchcock’s movie, viewers are forced to create the images of the gruesome killings and the dead bodies. This is something that happens much more frequently in modern day entertainment because of technological advances.
4. There is A Psycho Sequel, Psycho II
Right before the TV show attempt, a Psycho II was released in 1983. The film takes place after Norman is released from the mental institution and it follows the difficulties he faces being back in the ‘real world’. He falls in love with a nun, which of course, angers his “mother” , and poor Norman is back to square one in this sequel. The sequel does include similar murderous habits, as does Bates Motel. There are frequent female guests that stay at the motel and predictably, they mysteriously disappear. The film is set 22 years later and Norman was in solitary confinement for the entirety. Norma does have a stronger role in this film than the original and her personality is mimicked in the TV series as both character spin-offs tell Norman, “Remember Norman: Only your mother truly loves you.” Creepy.
3. Rihanna Is A Die Hard Bates Motel Fan
How cool would it be to be chosen to act the part of the iconic, murdered woman from the film, on your favorite TV show? Well Rihanna knows how cool it was. She was given the role of Marion Crane. The infamous Mary Crane is murdered by Norman after she overhears his ‘argument’ with Norma about letting a stranger in the house. Marion suggests that perhaps Norman should commit his mother into a mental hospital. Unfortunately, speaking ill of his mother causes his murderous side to surface. He beheads Marion in the bath tub and rolls her up in the shower curtain. At the end of the Hitchcock film, Norman is institutionalized after the murder and is fully transformed into Norma Bates by the time of his lock up. This episode was well-received by viewers as it’s not the norm to use one of the hottest music stars of our time as an infamous murder victim, but it worked! And the creators made a direct reference to a crucial part of the movie so I think having RiRi on the series was an all-around win!
2. Taissa Farmiga Might Look Familiar
Well if she does, there is good reason as she is Vera’s little sister and also a long-standing star in the TV series American Horror Story. The sisters are over 20 years apart, but that hasn’t stopped them from forming a BFF-type bond. Taissa was never fearful of taking on a horror genre role and now that Vera has attempted a few of her own, she is eager to continue the trend. When asked if she would consider a spot on AHS, she giddily replied that she would LOVE that. Not only is being a horror fan a theme in the Farmiga family, but all across the Bates Motel set. Olivia Cooke, the actress that portrays Emma in the series, has appeared in Ouija and The Quiet Ones, while Max Thieriot, who plays Dylan, was in The House at the End of the Street and My Soul to Take. Looks like they hired the pros!
1. Sheriff Romero Isn’t Wearing Eyeliner
Okay, maybe not a crucial fact, but I can’t be the only one who sat and pondered how his eyes looked like that! Nestor Carbonell, the man behind Romero, said that the question about guyliner is something that is brought up more often than questions about the series finale. Not only did Nestor get some major publicity for having natural eyeliner (he’s so lucky), he also is fortunate that the audience took kindly to his character. In the original Psycho, there is no Sheriff Romero and there is no love interest for Norma, so adding this character was a risky move for the production team. Carbonell has gained exposure and has been able to launch his acting career by appearing on Bates Motel in such an important role. The guyliner is still a mystery though.