It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?
So this Horrorfest IV, we are doing something different. For Horrorfest (the original) we ended on Halloween (of course) as we had looked at the big 3 of horror film producing sequels: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, & Halloween. On Horrorfest II, we had to cut our reviews in half due to my schedule and ending with a film that takes place on Halloween (along with our yearly Stephen King film review), Children of the Corn. And of course I don’t think anything will top last years “theme” of Werewolves, starting with The Wolf Man (1941) and ending with it’s remake The Wolfman (2010). This year I decided it was time to finally review one of my favorite films, the one I have been talking about again and again, Psycho (1960).
I love this film, in fact it was one of my early introductions to the ultimate, obsessive, fangirling that I would do over Alfred Hitchcock.
My first film was The Birds. I loved it and knew I wanted to see everything he made. That second film that completely made me in love with his works, was Psycho (1960).
The first time I saw this film was on AMC. When they were announcing the line up, they played this song.
So whenever I hear this song I think of the film, and vice-a-versa.
So if you are wondering if this is going to be an extremely long post all about how much I love this film, like my review of Jaws, then you are right. I love this film so let’s get started.
(Although this movie is fifty-five years old, so if you haven’t seen it already, then shame on you)
This year marks the 55th anniversary of Psycho, and select theaters brought it back. And as I was lucky that mine did, I immediately bought tickets and went to see it.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is remarkable for many things. It is considered his first horror film, and while not the first slasher film in history, it is the first American slasher film, influencing countless director’s and movies.
While many adore this film today, it had quite a few problems getting it off the ground in 1960. Alfred Hitchcock read the novel Psycho, by Robert Bloch, and immediately saw the benefits of turning this into a film. Unfortunately, Paramount Pictures did not. They cut the budget down to $800,000, hoping that Hitchcock would stop this idea of making a “dirty”, “smut” film; but he would not be deterred. Hitchcock used more of Universal to make the film, which is why in the end they won the rights.
Instead Hitchcock gave up his usual pay, taking over 30% of the profits on sales. As the film did amazingly well in theaters he made a bundle.
Hitchcock bought the book for $9,000 anonymously, and then went on to buy up every book out there to try and keep the ending a secret. He used most of the crew from his show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and made everyone promise to keep the film as secret as possible. He didn’t tell any the ending until filming, a technique that would be copied in other films, like the Scream franchise.
To begin with how different this film was, let’s start with the trailer. It was over six minutes long, much longer than any trailer made then or now.
But it was great and gets you pumped for the film.
So the first thing we are introduced is to is the credits, with the famous score.
The music just drags you in sending shivers down your spine.
Now the actors we see on here, we all know today, but at the time the only real famous person was Janet “Scream Queen” Leigh. Part of this was due to the cut budget of Hitchcock, but he also wanted a different style and to use unknowns instead of huge stars.
Prior to this movie Anthony Perkins was being groomed to being a big star. In 1953, he debuted in The Actress and in 1956, Friendly Persuasion, won him best supporting actor. That all changed with Psycho. After this movie he became famous, but also typecasted.
Vera Miles was in a few things but also hadn’t been cemented as a “Star”. Alfred Hitchcock liked her looks, and more, planning on giving her the lead in Vertigo (1958), but when she became pregnant and had to drop out, he couldn’t stand her. He thought she did it on purpose and was upset that she made him recast. The only ever worked together on this film.
Before Psycho, John Gavin was known for the remake in Imitation of Life (1959). Psycho made him famous (along with Spartacus).
Anyways, back to the film!
So we are introduced to the city of Phoenix, Arizona; where our film takes place, December 11th. I had never realized this until I saw the film this most recent time, but I don’t recall ever seeing any Christmas decorations anywhere. Not in the homes of the characters or offices. Supposedly the reason why it was set in December was because of the Christmas decorations in Phoenix but I didn’t spot any. I’ll just have to look again. But you know what that means? That this can be a Christmas film! I smell a new tradition!!!!
So the film opens with Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Samuel Loomis (John Gavin) in bed together. Sam is half naked baring his chest and Marion is in her bra and slip.
Yeah, something like this is not shocking for today (I mean look at Game of Thrones) but you didn’t see anything like this after the motion picture code association (MPAA) was created. We saw plenty in the late 1960s early 1970s when the code lost its fierce control. But in 1960, oh ho ho. This was super raunchy!
This part always makes me sad as all Marion wants is to be married to Sam. Sam, however, wants to wait a few years. He is still paying his ex-wife alimony, paying off his father’s debts, and lives over the hardware store he owns in Fairvale, CA.
Now Fairvale doesn’t exist, as it was all shot on the Universal backlot or in a soundstage. I originally thought it took place in Fairfield CA as they sound the same and that would make a lot of sense. But in a later scene I saw a map of Shasta County, so I think that Fairvale is supposed to be Redding.
Then again I could be wrong.
So Sam does not want to be married for a few years, and it horrible to be leading her on like that with weekend trips every now and then; stolen lunch hours. That is not a complete relationship. Marion hates it as she wants to be a respectable woman.
Marion Crane: Oh, we can see each other. We can even have dinner but respectably in my house with my mother’s picture on the mantel and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three.
Sam Loomis: And after the steak, do we send Sister to the movies? Turn mama’s picture to the wall?
Sam tells her that them marrying now is a bad idea, but Marion doesn’t care. She would do it all for him. He jokes that maybe she should move on, but when she agrees he quickly is worried. They part on good terms, making plans for the next visit. Neither are incandescently happy, but that’s love.
Marion heads back to work at the real estate agency. As she comes through the doors, you can spot Alfred Hitchcock in a cowboy hat standing outside the window. Hitchcock knew people would spend the whole film searching for him, so he wanted it out of the way as soon as possible.
Back at the Agency, Marion checks in with her associate secretary, Caroline (played by Pat Hitchcock, Alfred’s daughter). Caroline is married, which makes Marion feel as if everyone in the world is married but her.
In walks her boss, Mr. Lowery, and their new client, Tom Cassidy, a rich oilman. He is paying $40,000, in cash, to buy his daughter a house for her and her soon-to-be husband.
Tom Cassidy: I’m buying this house for my baby’s wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now, that’s… not buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness [waves money in front of Marion] I never carry more than I can afford to lose! Count ’em.
Caroline: I declare!
Tom Cassidy: [staring at Marion] I don’t! That’s how I get to keep it!
He then goes on to flirt with Marion, disgustingly.
Cassidy then makes a comment about Mr. Lowery being able to afford air conditioning. Can you imagine being in Arizona without air conditioning? It would drive ANY person insane!
Marion is asked to take the money to the bank, while the boss and Mr. Cassidy get their drink on. Marion has a headache, and asks to go home after she drops the money off, her boss lets her and she heads on her way.
The next shot we see is the money on Marion’s bed, next to a suitcase.
What a great shot, Hitchcock defintely knows his stuff.
So yes Marian stole $40,000. That would be around $350,000 today. That’s a lot of money.
On one hand you kind of understand Marion. She is so tired of her life, all she wants is to be with Sam, now and always. She thinks she can take the money, pay his debt, and they can live happily ever after. But she is not thinking clearly, what about when they discover the money is gone? They will know it is her.
She decides to drive to see Sam. When she gets stopped at a light who should she see but her boss!!!
This is when the score starts up again, heightening the intensity!
Marian is driving, but starts to fall asleep. She pulls off on the side of the road.
She is awakened the next day by a CHP officer (California Highway Patrol) . Now this police officer is very scary. He is wearing sunglasses and never takes them off, giving him almost a robotic look. Super creepy as you can’t see the expression on his face or his eyes.
Now Marion doesn’t help her case as she acts super suspicious, being cold, curt, and trying to take off.
You can see here that Marion is not a rule breaker. She’s always been a good girl, and as this is her first time breaking the rules she is doing poorly at “being bad”.
The CHP follow her, but turns off in Gorman, CA while she continues to Bakersfield. There, she decides to change cars. The salesman is so sweet, and adorable, but as Marian is in such a hurry, he starts to wonder about her too.
This is not good Marion, as if anyone is to come later and ask questions about you, you would be remembered. Not only for acting weird, but also because it’s Janet Leigh.
As she is there, up comes the CHP. Too bad Marion looks as good as she does, the cop could spot her right away.
Marion buys a newspaper, looking for news of the stolen money but is relieved to find nothing. It is too early for that, but you understand how scared she is.
As she is looking at the cars I can’t help but notice that, man those cars are dirt cheap. $957 for a 3 year old car? I wish they were that cheap now.
Anyways, the cop continues to watch her from across the street. This only makes Marion more nervous and suspicious sounding. In fact the car salesman starts to wonder if she is trying to get rid of a stolen car.
The paperwork is completed, Marion paying $700 of the $40,000 and trading in her car. She then takes off, only to be stopped because she forgot her luggae in her haste. This gives the cop plenty of time to see her plates.
Poor Marion, she’s not a master criminal mind.
She heads off, but as she drives all she can hear in her head how terribly everything has gone and how it will all blow up in her face in the end.
All she can do is keep driving, hanging on to the hope that when she gets with Sam everything will be okay.
Unfortunately, it begins to rain and Marian being from Arizonia, doesn’t know how to drive in Northern California winter rains. So she has to pull over at the nearby motel she finds.
The property consists of a giant Victorian mansion on the hill, with twelve rooms down the way. The house was designed after Edward Hopper’s painting, House by the Railroad, it wasn’t supposed to be creepy but a part of early Americana. But as we only really see the house at night, except for once at the end, and because if the events that later transpire; this all looks uber creepy.
After the fire occurred on the Universal backlot (the same one that destroyed Back to the Future’s clock tower), this building and the motel was declared a historic landmark and can never be destroyed or taken done (unless by a non-human disaster). Isn’t that great, that will be there forever!
We are then introduced to Norman Bates, son of the motel owner, and played by Anthony Perkins.
When I saw Norman I was like whoa!!!! That guy is hot!!!!!
So cute with his boyish charm. He looks as if he is in his early twenties (was actually 27) and just utterly adorable. Perkins was chosen for being a gentle, stammering, handsome young man: the ultimate all-American boy next door. You just want to give him a hug. At one point during the filming, Perkins asked Hitchcock if playing Norman Bates would be a bad career move and Hitchcock told him it might be. He was right as it killed his career, but he was just too perfect as Norman, the movie would not have worked without him.
Anyways, so Norman tells Marion that he can give her a room, and that there is a diner up the way, right outside of Fairvale, which is only 15 miles away.
15 miles!!! If only it hadn’t rained, she’d be with Sam right now.
Marion signs in under a false name, Marie Samuels, and says she is from Los Angeles. After careful consideration, Norman gives her key #1.
He takes her into the room and shows her around the closet, desk with stationary, bathroom etc. When it comes to the bed, he actually stumbles over the words, being too bashful.
He’s so young, and adorable. He has such a sweet little boy smile, so adorable. Those things are fatal to me as they just make me smile in return. I let down all my defenses.
So Norman knows Marion is hungry and probably does not want to travel out in the storm coming down, so he offers to make her dinner, sandwiches, and have her come down to the house. Marian agrees.
After he leaves, Marion looks around the room for a place to hide the money. Where should she put it that’s not obvious? Where?
She finally settles on hiding the cash in the newspaper. As she waits for Norman to finish making the sandwich, she overhears Norman and his mother yelling in the house.
Norma Bates: No! I tell you no! I won’t have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!
Norman Bates: Mother, please…!
Norma Bates: And then what? After supper? Music? Whispers?
Norman Bates: Mother, she’s just a stranger. She’s hungry, and it’s raining out!
Norma Bates: “Mother, she’s just a stranger”! As if men don’t desire strangers! As if… ohh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! You understand, boy? Go on, go tell her she’ll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with MY food… or my son! Or do I have tell her because you don’t have the guts! Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy?
Norman Bates: Shut up! Shut up!
Man his mother is horrible. She is evil and cruel, treating him like he’s a little boy instead of a grown man. Mean old woman, I wonder if she was abusive in other ways than emotional/verbal. There are some deep issues here.
Norman takes off down to the motel bringing the sandwiches. Marion reveals that she heard everything, and Norman offers for them to eat here instead. Marian moves aside so that he can come in the room, but he can’t. He sees the bed in the room, and stops.
It makes him too uncomfortable, so he ends up inviting her into his office, and then the parlor.
Here is where we see a lot of Norman’s issues. His mother has cuckholded him so that he is still a child in many ways, but at the same time a grown man with grown man like interests. He likes Marian but also a bit freaked as well. Marion on the other hand is a grown woman and not squeamish about sharing a room to eat, even though the major feature is the bed.
They go into the parlor which is full of birds, taxidermied ones. Now this used to always freak me out, but after working in a museum last year and being around a lot of taxidermied animals it’s not that bad. Did you catch that not as bad,meaning it is still creepy.
So while he and Marian are back in the parlor he tries hard to be “adult”, but keeps stammering as he hasn’t ever entertained anyone before.
Norman Bates: You-you eat like a bird.
Marion Crane: [Looking around at the stuffed birds while eating] And you’d know, of course.
Norman Bates: No, not really. Anyway, I hear the expression ‘eats like a bird’ – it-it’s really a [stammers] fals-fals-fals-falsity. Because birds really eat a tremendous lot. But -I-I don’t really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know – taxidermy.
The two then discuss Norman’s mother.
It turns out that Norman’s father died when he was only five years old and his mother had to raise him all on her own. She met a man and when she found out her boyfriend was married, became broken. He mentions something interesting here, that this guy could have made mother do “anything”. Maybe get rid of him or kick him out even? Hmm……..
The conversation moves on:
So this saying was actually used first in the film The Awful Truth starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. In it Irene is about to complete her divorce to Cary and marry a mamby-pamby mamma’s boy, who when Irene leaves him, goes off with his mom as after all “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” It of course was made famous by Psycho.
Marian tries to give helpful advice, but Norman is not in agreement.
In that moment we see something lurking below that boyish charm and sweet face. Something dark.
You may notice the theme of “mother issues” in this film. Norman and his mom have serious issues, which may extend to her not only being emotionally abusive but physically as well. Possibly molestation, but we are not sure. Hitchcock himself had a lot of issues with his own mother, her forcing him to stand at the foot of her bed for hours as punishment. The screenwriter, was currently in therapy for his own issues with his mother when he wrote this script. And Anthony Perkins also had mother issues and an early life eerily similar to Norman’s. His father died when he was five, and he also was raised by a controlling and cruel woman.
They end their talk and Marian tells him she needs to go to bed as she has a long drive back to Phionex. She also gives him her real name. He says goodnight and double checks the book seeing that she lied.
Marian heads next door, and Norman doesn’t leave yet. Instead he decides to take a look at Marian changing.
You know I have seen this movie like a million times and on the big screen is the first time I have ever noticed the painting that Norman uses to hide the hole he peeks through, it is Susannah and the Elders by Giovan Battista Tiepolo. The story of Susannah and the Elders is that Susannah is a young and beautiful woman. She sends her attendents away as she takes a bath, and two voyeuristic elders, watch and lust after her. They try to blackmail her into having sex with them, saying they will lie that she was meeting a lover. When she refuses, they try to put Susannah to death, but the prophet Daniel intervenes and saves her. It works with the whole voyeuristic theme the film has going.
Looking at that I notice there are a lot of naked women paintings and scultptures in the house. Who picked these? Norman? Unlikely. His mother? Even unlikelier. The lover? Most likely. But weird that his mother would allow such things.
Norman heads back to the house and is about to go upstairs, but stops. Where was he going before? To see his mother? Go to bed? He heads to the kitchen instead and thinks.
After speaking to Norman, Marian has a change of heart. She decides to head home and turn herself in, hoping they will be lenient. She does a few sums, and determines that she has $39300 left. As she rips it up and dumps it down the toilet and decides to take a shower.
This short scene involving the toilet took forever to get approved. In fact, this is the first american film to show a toilet in a movie.
I notice as she shuts the bathroom door, there is NO lock on the door.
She goes to take the shower and we have the scariest and one of the best scenes ever!
So intense and scary!!! I mean think of it, the shower os the most vulnerable place you could be at. You are naked, and have nothing to cover yourself up, nothing to use to defend yourself. In fact Janet Leigh said she was so freaked out when she saw herself murdered, that she never took a shower again. Opting only for baths.
There are tons of myths surrounding this shower scene and I am going to set the record straight. So the filming of this scene took a whole week to get it just how perfectionist Alfred Hitchcock wanted it, this was 1/4 of the total time it took to make the entire film.
Janet Leigh filmed most of this scene. She wore pasties to cover her privates, but the warm water from the shower melted them, and Alfred Hitchcock kept on filming. She did have a stunt double, who did some nudes, and she was sadly murdered the same way in real life as shown on screen.
And whoa this was a huge move to make. Killing the most famous person off? This was not done at the time, not at all.
When Norman discovers his mother covered in blood, he runs down to check on Marion. He finds her dead and freaks out, almost becoming sick.
He looks all around trying to compose himself, when he decides to put her body and belongings in the trunk of her car and cleans up the bathroom. He puts all her belongings in it, but forgets the newspaper. A car drives up, which surprises him, so much that he looks back in the room and grabs the paper. He then takes the car to the swamp to dump.
I just love that moment when it doesn’t go down right away and he freaks out. What will he do if it doesn’t sink. But it does, and he is relieved. The end.
A week later, Sam is sitting in his office writing a letter to Marian. On the small screen they have always shown this too quickly for me to read the whole thing. This time I was able to see everything and in the letter, Sam apologizes to Marian and says he doesn’t want to wait a few years but wants to marry her now.
If only he had asked her sooner! If only she had waited a week. If only, if only, if only. 😦
Lila comes in and introduces herself to Sam. She questions him about Marion and whether he and her were in it together, but Sam has no idea what’s going on.
Private Investigator Arbogast comes on the scene. He was hired by Mr. Lowrey and Cassidy to find Marion, hoping she would give the money back and that they wouldn’t have to bring in the police.
Sam denies knowing where Marion is, and Arbogast tells him that he will find Marion, one way or another.
He goes around asking at ever motel, hotel, and boarding house in the area. Each one says no. He spots the Bates Motel, and goes in to speak with Norman.
Norman is sitting on the porch eating Kandy Korn, as it says on his candy bag. Where’s he getting this in December? I guess it could have been leftover from Halloween. This was Norman’s personal touch, to add even more of a boyish charm.
Arbogast interrogates Norman, and I notice Norman speaks in a lot of clichés and metaphors. It’s probably due to him being only with his mother and never with peers.
He starts to clean the rooms, but skips door number one. He knows what went in that room and doesn’t want to think about it.
Arbogast follows and looks up at the house. He sees a figure, and questions Norman again. At first Norman says no one is there, but then says that it is his mother. Arbogast thinks Norman is hiding Marian, and infers that she seduced him, which angers Norman.
Milton Arbogast: Now, if this Marion Crane were here… you wouldn’t be hiding her would you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: Not even if she paid you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: All right, then lets say for the sake of argument that she needed your help and that she made you out to be a fool in helping her…
Norman Bates: Well, I’m not a fool. And I’m not capable of being fooled! Not even by a woman.
Milton Arbogast: I mean no slur on your manhood.
Norman Bates: She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.
Norman is angry. Arbogast wants to speak to his mother, but Norman says no. As Norman is angry his face is put in more shadow and he loses that boyish charm and innocence, looking much darker.
Arbogast starts to head back to Lila and Sam, but stops and calls Lila from a phone booth. He tells her what Norman said, that Marion was here and then left, but it doesn’t feel right.
He decides to go back to speak to Mrs. Bates, promising to be back in an hour. As he drives back to the motel, we see Norman there. Arbogast starts up to the house going through the back and leaving the door open, checking the front and bottom floor. When he can’t find anything, he heads upstairs. As he walks up, he gets attacked.
Back at the store, Lila and Sam are waiting for Arbogast. It has been hours and he hasn’t shown, with Lila getting really impatient.
She is determined to head down to the motel to find out if her sister was there. Sam tells her to wait while he calls, but she is heading out the door. Sam stops her and agrees, he will go and look for Arbogast and she should stay here in case he returns.
All I can think is, man Lila is intense in what she wants. If she had been the one dating Sam, then she would have been married a long time ago.
Sam gets there but can’t find Arbogast or Norman anywhere. We see Norman by the swamp. Yep, dumping another body and car. Whoa, Norman really stepped into it this time. If it weren’t for the money, they wouldn’t be lookingthis intensely for her.
When Sam gets back and finds out that Arbogast still hasn’t returned, he and Lila head to the Sheriff’s house. They tell the Sheriff everything, but he doesn’t really seem to take them seriously.
Sheriff Al Chambers: Your detective told you he couldn’t come right back because he was goin’ to question Norman Bates’ mother. Right?
Lila Crane: Yes.
Sheriff Al Chambers: Norman Bates’ mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cenetery for the past ten years!
Eliza Chambers: I helped Norman pick out the dress she was buried in. Periwinkle blue.
Sheriff Al Chambers: ‘Tain’t only local history, Sam. It’s the only case of murder and suicide on Fairvale ledgers.
Sam Loomis: You mean the old woman I saw tonight wasn’t Mrs. Bates?
Sheriff Al Chambers: Now wait a minute, Sam, are you *sure* you saw an old woman?
Sam Loomis: Yes! In the house behind the motel! I called and I pounded, but she just ignored me!
Sheriff Al Chambers: You mean to tell me you saw Norman Bates’ mother?
Lila Crane: It had to be – because Arbogast said so too. And the young man wouldn’t let him see her because she was too ill.
Sheriff Al Chambers: Well, if the woman up there is Mrs. Bates… who’s that woman buried out in Greenlawn Cemetery?
Ten years? Ten years dead?
And if she’s not dead but in the house, who’s in the cemetery?
Norman knows that there will be more people coming. They came for Marion, and they will follow Arbogast as well. So he moves his mother to the fruit cellar to hide.
Norman Bates: Now mother, I’m going to uh, bring something up…
Norma Bates: Haha… I am sorry, boy, but you do manage to look ludicrous when you give me orders.
Norman Bates: Please, mother.
Norma Bates: No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar! Ha! You think I’m fruity, huh? I’m staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it, least of all my big, bold son!
Norman Bates: They’ll come now, mother! He came after the girl, and now someone will come after him. Please mother, it’s just for a few days, just for a few days so they won’t find you!
Norma Bates: “Just for a few days”? In that dark, dank fruit cellar? No! You hid me there once, boy, and you’ll not do it again, not ever again; now get out! I told you to get out, boy.
Norman Bates: I’ll carry you, mother.
Norma Bates: Norman! What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you touch me, don’t! NORMAN! Put me down, put me down, I can walk on my own…
This is probably the first time he has ever stood up to his mother in his life.
The next day, Lila and Sam head over to the church to go over to the Bates residence with the sheriff. To their surprise, the sheriff has already gone, and found nothing.
Lila and Sam are unsatisfied and decide to go over there themselves. They check in as man and wife, and hide out in their room until the coast is clear.
The two sneak into room one, where they search every inch to find any trace of Marian. In the bathroom, they discover a slip of paper in Marian’s handwriting. Lila is excited, but Sam dashes that by telling her it doesn’t really help as Norman admitted that she came there. They need proof of what occurred next.
They decide to split up, with Sam distracting Norman, while Lila questions the mother. As Sam walks out, it turns out Norman is standing in the doorway of the office.
He must have heard them, I mean right? Right?
Anyways, Sam distracts him as Lila heads up the hill.
All I can think is that what the Sheriff said to them did not seem to register. He and his wife say that the mother is dead. Do they think it is a lie? She faked her death? She never died? Another body is in the casket?
As Lila looks upstairs, she spots the mother’s room. It has a deep indentation in the bed, creepy mirrors everywhere, brass hands, etc.
She goes into another room and sees that it is Norman. And the bedroom is weird. It is itty-bitty. In a giant house, why would he be given a room the size of a cell?
All he has is baby toys, and they all look sad. Like I seriously think he was abused as a child. Look at his doll. The rabbit that sits on the bed with him. Why would an almost 30 year old man sleep with a stuffed animal, unless he was abused as a child.
The music he listens to is Beethoven’s Eroica. I used to think it was used because it was a letter away from Erotica, but after looking into the backstory, it was written for Napoleon, and supposed to signify all a man is, powerful, brave, strong; what Norman wished to be.
She then spots a book with no title. I always wondered what the book signified, and discovered that books then that were pornographic were published titleless.
This whole scene in the room is supposed to show the duality of Norman, a grown man, but still a child in so many, many ways.
Norman realizes that Sam has been distracting him, and knocks him out, then running for home. Lila spots Norman coming, and hides in the downstairs. That’s when she notices the fruit cellar and heads down.
When she gets there we have one of the best reveals ever!
So the sheriff takes him down to the jail, an they call in the psychiatrist to find out what was going on.
Dr. Fred Richmond: No. I got the whole story – but not from Norman. I got it – from his mother. Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half-existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over. Probably for all time.
Lila Crane: Did he kill my sister?
Dr. Fred Richmond: Yes, – and no.
Dr. Fred Richmond: Now to understand it the way I understood it, hearing it from the mother… that is, from the mother half of Norman’s mind… you have to go back ten years, to the time when Norman murdered his mother and her lover. Now he was already dangerously disturbed, had been ever since his father died. His mother was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world. Then she met a man… and it seemed to Norman that she ‘threw him over’ for this man. Now that pushed him over the line and he killed ’em both. Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all… most unbearable to the son who commits it. So he had to erase the crime, at least in his own mind. He stole her corpse. A weighted coffin was buried. He hid the body in the fruit cellar. Even treated it to keep it as well as it would keep. And that still wasn’t enough. She was there! But she was a corpse. So he began to think and speak for her, give her half his time, so to speak. At times he could be both personalities, carry on conversations. At other times, the mother half took over completely. Now he was never all Norman, but he was often only mother. And because he was so pathologically jealous of her, he assumed that she was jealous of him. Therefore, if he felt a strong attraction to any other woman, the mother side of him would go wild. [Points finger at Lila Crane] When he met your sister, he was touched by her… aroused by her. He wanted her. That set off the ‘jealous mother’ and ‘mother killed the girl’! Now after the murder, Norman returned as if from a deep sleep. And like a dutiful son, covered up all traces of the crime he was convinced his mother had committed!
Sam asks about the clothes, definitely weirded out by seeing Norman in that getup. And I agree, he was totally creepy looking.
Officer: He’s a tranvestite!
Dr. Fred Richmond: Ah, not exactly. A man who dresses in women’s clothing in order to achieve a sexual change, or satisfaction, is a transvestite. But in Norman’s case, he was simply doing everything possible to keep alive the illusion of his mother being alive. And when reality came too close, when danger or desire threatened that illusion – he dressed up, even to a cheap wig he bought. He’d walk about the house, sit in her chair, speak in her voice. He tried to be his mother! And, uh… now he is. [pause] Now, that’s what I meant when I said I got the story from the mother. You see, when the mind houses two personalities, there’s always a conflict, a battle. In Norman’s case, the battle is over… and the dominant personality has won.
Sheriff Al Chambers: And the forty thousand dollars? Who got that?
Dr. Fred Richmond: The swamp. These were crimes of passion, not profit.
It wasn’t about the money at all? Yes folks, that is this film’s MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is something that the characters search for or aspire for, but in the end, has nothing really to do with the actual plot.
This last scene is my favorite as it is soooo creepy.
That moment when he smiles, it sends shivers down my spine.
So Mrs. Bates is evil. Pure evil. She was abusive to Norman throughout his life, and now throwing him under the bus. Pure evil.
So before we en I thought I would include some thoughts I had about Norman now that I’ve revealed the “truth” about him
1)When Norman chooses the parlor over the bedroom, I wonder if the Norman side “knew” it was best not to get to close as it might awaken mother sooner and “she” might do something drastic?
2)When he gets angry about institutionalizing his mother is it the dutiful son Norman that is angry, or his “mother”?
3) When Norman tells Marion he can’t leave, if he does then his mother will die all over again. Poor Norman, stuck in an endless cycle of abuse.
4) When Norman sees that Marion gave a false name in the book, do you think that “mother” found her an easier person to kill as no one was likely to connect that Marie Samuels to anyone? Do you think it made her more suspicious of her character?
5)I wonder if Marion had stayed up later with Norman would that have changed things? Would “Mother” have failed to come out? Or would she have come out earlier?
They are nothing with any real answer, but just something to ponder on and ask your cinephile friends.
I know you guys know that this post isn’t going to end. Like Jaws, I have a LOT to say. So in Universal Studios, when I took the backlot tour, they showed us a scene from Psycho. As they have declared the site historical, they also decided to have someone act out a scene from the movie every time a tram goes by. And it is awesome!
And so ends another Horrorfest. I know it has been crazy this year, as personal issues made me fall behind in posting. In fact, by the time this airs I still might not have caught up. However, what I was able to do was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a very happy, and safe, Halloween. May it be everything you wish it to be.
To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
For the previous post, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series
For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)
For more films based on books, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)
For more psychos, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)
For more slasher films, go to Don’t F*** the Original: Scre4m (2011)