Monday, February 1, 2010

WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH EXTRAVAGANZA: WHAT IF NORMAN BATES HAD BEEN NORMA?

 The scariest monsters we could ever think of aren't wearing masks, possess superhuman powers, or only come out at night. There are people who walk amongst us every day, who stand in front of us at Starbucks, who pass us at the crosswalk, and who sit behind the front desks at our motels. This is the first edition of "What if ______ had been a Woman". Our first character of choice? Norman Bates of Psycho.

As the killer of what is arguably the most well recognized death scene to ever hit the silver screen, Norman Bates is a character that has been studied and analyzed immensely. Alfred Hitchcock was an absolute genius when it came to putting such a well created character into a film adaptation. The levels of the character are all as equally intense as the one previous...but what if Norman wasn't a man? What if Momma Bates had pulled a Mrs. White and abused her poor daughter into believing she was a whore and that only her mother was void of such a disgusting trait?

 I thought long and hard as to who I would even allow to touch the role of "Norma Bates", and it wasn't until I saw this photograph that I knew Emma Watson would be absolutely perfect. As an actress she completely exemplifies the child-like charm of Norman Bates as well as remaining to appear innocent while having a complete twisted and sadistic mind.

The big question when it comes to thinking if Norman had been a Norma, is whether or not she would deal with the problems of a mother, or a father. The way I see it, in order to truly cause the emotional damage while remaining true to the character, the character would still have to be the mother. Think of it the same way Margaret White treated Carrie. While trying to raise a child, she instilled into Norma's mind that all women are whores (except for Mommy of course) and that she herself would inevitably reach the day where she would be a whore. This would trigger the idea for Norma to be exactly like her mother, to essentially become her mother for fear that she would become a whore, something she was absolutely petrified of.


 While it is off-putting to imagine a man dressed in his mother's clothing, it is equally as off-putting to see a pretty, young girl dressed in such matronly attire. A major problem people have with the Duggar family is that their daughters look too much like their mother and it takes away from normal development. The same case would be for Norma. Working at a motel would expose her to many different women, which would add fuel to the fire of fearing to become just like them. Like Norman, she would appear absolutely normal when working at the front desk, and also like Norman, she would be plotting each and every one of their demise.


When Marion Crane stepped foot into the Bates Motel, that was the very last straw. She was the absolute epitome of everything she wasn't supposed to be. However, Norma was naturally intrigued by the female species because it was something she never fully could be. Like Norman, she had the split personality between herself and her mother. As Norma, she longed to be a normal girl and have normal friends, as her mother however...she knew how important it was to prevent herself from becoming just like her. As the Norma character, she invited Marion to dinner, but as the mother character...she knew being the presence of such a woman would be dangerous. Much of the rest of the film would remain the same as she would still kill Marion, be worried of what mother would think, and she would still have mummified Mommy Dearest.


There are few things in this world stronger than the love between mother and child, and sometimes...that love can be deadly.

6 comment(s):

Chet Of The Undead said...

There are people who walk amongst us every day...

....naked..

who stand in front of us at Starbucks

...nekkid

who pass us at the crosswalk

...naked.

and who sit behind the front desks at our motels.

...NAKED!

Unexpected nudity from doofuses who SHOULDN'T be nude anytime...ever...can be one of the scariest things of all. ;) lol

But in all seriousness...yeaaap I could totally see that. Hell, I always thought Norman had a little bit of gender ID issues anyway, and wee Emma W needs something more Meat (severed fingers) and Potatoes than Hogwarts to add to her resume...so it works quite well.

Bully of and Idea!! I dig it!

Now then, pass the potatoes and fingers please? ;)

forestofthedead said...

In I believe Psycho: The Beginning it firmly establishes a potential for Norman to have gender issues as his mom makes him dress a girl...it would be interesting to see not only Norma Bates in the first movie but in the sequels as well, it would transform everything. Great post.

C.L. Hadden said...

I do believe that somewhere in the Psycho series we learn that Norman's mother was indeed named Norma - so you're right on the mark.

I love your choice for Norma, so unexpected...and so perfect.
Great post.

William Malmborg said...

Great post. I love the idea you present here and your choice for 'Norma' Bates.

elin said...

i love reading your blog!

Blooming Psycho said...

It would lack the Oedipal issues that Norman had, but I agree that the parent would still have to be the mother. Fathers tend to be abusive, even emotionally abusive, in different ways. On a personal level I have always had a great deal of trouble forming connections with other people because my parents were both emotionally abusive and physically distant. They picked me up as little as possible when I was a child, and nothing I did was ever good enough. So even though I wasn't physically or sexually abused by them, I've always related to these fucked up parent as a motivator for doing awful things movies. Not that I actually would, but there is an understanding.

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