In 1960 Alfred Hitchcock produced and directed the film Psycho, based on the novel written by Robert Bloch, with the same name. Last year, while searching for something to watch on Netflix, I found a TV series called Bates Motel that I decided to watch. Being more of a person that likes action movies and comedies, I hesitated when it was under the genre “psychological thriller horror drama”. However, feeling the need to expand my horizons, I decided to give it a chance. I have not regret one minute of my choice. The Bates’ sheer jaw-dropping secrets, left me breathless.
The TV series is a prequel to the movie Psycho and shows Norman Bates, played by Freddie Highmore, as a teenager living with his mother Norma Bates, played by Vera Farmiga. They move to White Pine Bay in Oregon where Norma has bought a motel. Early on Norma gets attacked by the previous owner and stabs him to death, covering up the murder. Norman who has a very fragile psyche helps his mother to cover it up and Norma does everything in her power to protect her son. The two of them are very close, almost like they are the same person, and eventually Norman, in his mind, ”becomes” his mother. He starts killing women, thinking it’s actually his mother telling him to do it and as his insanity progresses, Norman starts believing that it is indeed his mother committing these brutal crimes. Their odd relationship is the main thread in the TV series and what makes it one of the best I have ever seen. They are both very psycho and the more dangerous Norman gets, the more scared of him Norma becomes.
The sound effects, the eerie music, the acting and the facial expressions of Norma and Norman are absolutely incredible. The plot, the motel, the creepy house they are living in, the setting, the clothes they are wearing, Norma’s disturbing childhood, and Norman’s mental illness are portrayed in such an excellence that it’s hard to give it justice in writing. This is a TV series that I wish would go on and on forever – I have never quite watched anything like it. The creators of the series Anthony Cipriano, Carlton Cuse, and Kerry Ehrin, have done an amazing job in showing Norman Bates life, before adulthood. The transformation when Norman becomes his mother Norma is portrayed by Freddie Highmore with simple facial expressions and body movements. By the way, I must admit that he really creeps me out at times.
The dysfunctional relationship between mother and son also includes Norman’s half-brother Dylan. Norma had Dylan with her brother Caleb, they eventually reveal, and their tragic childhood is above and beyond anything I have ever seen. The mind manipulation that Norma uses on Norman and the numerous fear tactics in the TV series are superb. The characters in this little town, which main business is growing marijuana with the involvement of the town sheriff, also kill people and cover it up. All these things combined are things you don’t experience in just any TV series. If you dare to take a chance and if you feel like entering this crazy world of theirs, please let me be the first to welcome you to Bates Motel.