A Sense of Place and Time

When a movie is made, that is, the actual dates in time in which the movie is completed,  is often of little value to the plot.  A story with well drawn characters may or may not be much affected by what year it takes place in anymore than where.  Many movies of all genres have been remade or adapted into television shows multiple times with simple updating of technologies and terminologies to fit the times.  The Seven Samurai works in feudal Japan, the old American west or with a bunch of insects in an animated setting.  It’s an archetypal story that can be translated into many different places and times.  But what of the stories that have a deep connection to their time and place?   Some stories just don’t work well if they don’t take place in the universe of their making.   And for some, the when and where is as important as anything in the story.

Norman 01

All this came to mind recently with the premiere of the television show Bates Motel.  There was some fair amount of furor in certain places about updating the story from the time of the movie to the present day.  Some people claimed that those complaining were just too rigid about keeping the story rooted in its original time period.  But they weren’t.  For whatever reason, unknown to me, the creators of Bates Motel seem to understand almost nothing of the time and place of the original movie and how important it is to the story.  If one wants to make a prequel to Psycho, one should necessarily make it take place in the late forties and/or early fifties.  The movie takes place in contemporary time, that is, 1960, the year it was made, thus we can assume Norman was a young man in the late forties to early fifties.   So to update a prequel to a time advanced past the date of the original story would seem foolish.

Of course, it could be said that it is merely a reimagining but that’s a different thing altogether.  For instance, if someone wanted to make a tv show based on Rear Window, it could easily be updated to today and made to work quite well.  A prequel to Rear Window, on the other hand, should occur before the events of the film.  But that’s still not the real problem here.  The real problem here is that Psycho isn’t just of its time.  It is integrally connected to it.

Psycho isn’t some slapdash killer movie about a nutjob running an abandoned motel.   It’s a pretty remarkable commentary on postwar America with the hard working individual, the entrepreneur that starts his own business, the mom and pop store, all being pushed aside to make way for suburbia, baby boomers and television.  It’s a world where an independent and intelligent woman is nevertheless so stifled in her everyday existence, and so marginalized by the world around her, that doing a cash grab and run seems like a pretty damn good idea.  When she changes her mind, the world gives her the finger and jabs a knife into her about forty times.

The movie is populated with societal outliers: the motel keeper, the hired detective, the used car salesman.   And Norman’s world becomes even more isolated as postwar progress decides to build a brand new highway designed specifically, it almost seems, to pass him right by.  This story takes place in 1960.  It does not take place in 1930 or 1910 or 1990.   What people seem to miss about Psycho, often, is that it is as rooted in its time as Casablanca or The Third Man.  It’s one of the reasons the almost shot for shot remake in 1998 didn’t work either.  Because it took place in 1998!  It would be like placing Rick and Ilsa in a club with Nazis and talking about concentration camps, only they set it in 2003.  The viewer would inevitably express, “I think you guys are missing something about this story.”   And what I’m saying about Psycho isn’t anything new.  Hell, Richard Harland Smith has said everything I’ve said, and more, much more, and better, about a hundred times, and long before I ever said it the first time.

And Psycho’s not alone.  They don’t represent the majority of movies but there are still a good amount that truly depend upon their time and place to make their stories work (exempting biographical histories, like Patton or Lincoln, that obviously have a fixed timeline they’re following).   The Godfather, for instance.    When it was first being bandied about for cinematic adaptation, the studio wanted to update the story to contemporary times.  But it’s not just a mob story with gangsters.  It’s a story of an immigrant at the turn of the century building his business his own way and fulfilling an American Dream that calls into question the entire nature of the dream in the first place (and yes, it starts in the middle of Vito’s story but at the beginning of Michaels but we still get the point long before Part II).  If Michael is a war hero from Vietnam (for a version set in contemporary 1972) it just doesn’t work as the same myth-building exercise of good son turned tragic hero.

grapes-of-wrath-film

Or The Grapes of Wrath.  Certainly, one could write a story about a poor family named the Joads and have it take place now but the story is so deeply informed by the dustbowl and the depression that the characters as related to in that particular story would be meaningless outside that time and place.

With other movies, it’s not so clear.  Does Citizen Kane have to take place when it does?  Aside from a humorous online video suggesting that in the current time a reporter would just google “Rosebud” to discover it was a popular sled model in Kane’s childhood, is there anything in Kane that holds it back from a modern updating?  Could you make a show today about Charles Foster Kane in the modern age? Instead of a paper, a website?  Honestly, I don’t see too many stumbling blocks to that, outside of the obvious: constructing something that won’t look inept in comparison to the original film.

And how about another Hitchcock classic, Strangers on a Train?  Could we see a story about a young Bruno in the modern age?  Again, I don’t think Bruno is as rooted in his time as Norman Bates but I’m thinking more about remakes than prequels.  With prequels, no matter how unattached to time and place the original inspiration is, it seems foolish to ever have it take place after the original.

In the end, I think the makers of Bates Motel simply didn’t want to deal with the set and costume design hassles and the big budgets of a period tv show.  And that’s fine, honestly, I understand that.  I won’t deny anyone the right to a reboot about anything but that doesn’t mean it makes sense.   And if money is going to be an issue, just make a show about a crazy kid and his murderous mom that takes place now, don’t claim it’s a prequel to Psycho.  There’s no real weight to claiming that they had to use the Psycho brand to sell the show; television is littered with successful horror shows that claim no connection to a pre-exisiting film.  If it’s a true prequel, set it in the fifties (with all the accompanying Mad Men-esque contemporary arched eyebrows at the past) and give us what the story intended:  The Bates, in Eisenhower America, clean-cut and well-kept on the outside, but seething with turmoil and violence on the inside.  That’s a prequel I’d watch.  Any place, any time.

92 Responses A Sense of Place and Time
Posted By Emgee : March 20, 2013 10:10 am

I haven’t seen Bates Motel, so i can’t comment on that. You could ask yourself why they wanted to do a prequel in the first place if they decided to do it in the present time. Does “cashing in”sound too cynical?

I’m not sure i’m with you on the interpretation of the Marion- character. Yes, she clearly dislikes her job, but she steals the money to go off with her boyfriend, so a quite selfish motive.
And Norman has no idea she has the money, so is he acting out The World’s revenge? He/she couldn’t care less about the money.
It’s the temptation of Norman she’s punished for.
To me, Norman is a man of out time (as well as out of mind) therefore the choice of the Gothic house and it’s contents, already outdated in the Forties. He would be an outsider in any era.

Having said that: yes, they should have been respectful enough to the original to place it in the Forties. Appartently they didn’t care enough.

Posted By Emgee : March 20, 2013 10:10 am

I haven’t seen Bates Motel, so i can’t comment on that. You could ask yourself why they wanted to do a prequel in the first place if they decided to do it in the present time. Does “cashing in”sound too cynical?

I’m not sure i’m with you on the interpretation of the Marion- character. Yes, she clearly dislikes her job, but she steals the money to go off with her boyfriend, so a quite selfish motive.
And Norman has no idea she has the money, so is he acting out The World’s revenge? He/she couldn’t care less about the money.
It’s the temptation of Norman she’s punished for.
To me, Norman is a man of out time (as well as out of mind) therefore the choice of the Gothic house and it’s contents, already outdated in the Forties. He would be an outsider in any era.

Having said that: yes, they should have been respectful enough to the original to place it in the Forties. Appartently they didn’t care enough.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 10:41 am

I think the fact that Norman is a man out of time is related to the point I was making, that the modern, postwar world has no use for him. As for Marion, it’s an entirely selfish motive and a bad idea but once she’s made her choice, she becomes a bad person and isn’t allowed redemption. That’s all I meant there. Norman’s just the instrument for her demise. From Norman’s standpoint, it’s completely different. His mother is pissed off and jealous and for that, he is punished by losing Marion as an object of desire.

Finally, no, “cashing in” isn’t too cynical. I’m sure placing it in contemporary times had to do with budget and using the PSYCHO brand was bringing in a ready-made audience. I’m a big fan of reboots, especially the recent James Bond one. But a prequel that takes place after the original story isn’t a prequel at all.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 10:41 am

I think the fact that Norman is a man out of time is related to the point I was making, that the modern, postwar world has no use for him. As for Marion, it’s an entirely selfish motive and a bad idea but once she’s made her choice, she becomes a bad person and isn’t allowed redemption. That’s all I meant there. Norman’s just the instrument for her demise. From Norman’s standpoint, it’s completely different. His mother is pissed off and jealous and for that, he is punished by losing Marion as an object of desire.

Finally, no, “cashing in” isn’t too cynical. I’m sure placing it in contemporary times had to do with budget and using the PSYCHO brand was bringing in a ready-made audience. I’m a big fan of reboots, especially the recent James Bond one. But a prequel that takes place after the original story isn’t a prequel at all.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 12:59 pm

I was intrigued, somewhat, by the premise when I initially heard about it, despite being a little weary from prequel overload. But when I found out that it was set NOW and NOT back then? I lost what little interest I had in it, based on the fact that it makes no sense to set a prequel 50+ years after the story that was supposed to take place years later. Psycho IS closely tied to its time for all the reasons you stated. And remember at the end of Psycho, as Simon Oakland explains transvestism to the people in attendance? People were shocked that such behavior existed. We are much more aware and much less innocent or naive about such things today.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 12:59 pm

I was intrigued, somewhat, by the premise when I initially heard about it, despite being a little weary from prequel overload. But when I found out that it was set NOW and NOT back then? I lost what little interest I had in it, based on the fact that it makes no sense to set a prequel 50+ years after the story that was supposed to take place years later. Psycho IS closely tied to its time for all the reasons you stated. And remember at the end of Psycho, as Simon Oakland explains transvestism to the people in attendance? People were shocked that such behavior existed. We are much more aware and much less innocent or naive about such things today.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 1:20 pm

In the end, Rob, I keep thinking about the prequel logic (sounds like a Steely Dan album) and you say it well: “…it makes no sense to set a prequel 50+ years after the story that was supposed to take place years later.”

It just doesn’t make sense. Even if PSYCHO weren’t tied to its time and place (off the main road, overlooked by the highway – the new one has it as a seaside motel (slaps head, groans)) it’s still just a hare-brained idea. It would be as if when they made the YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES in 1992, they set it in 1992 instead of 1905 – 1916.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 1:20 pm

In the end, Rob, I keep thinking about the prequel logic (sounds like a Steely Dan album) and you say it well: “…it makes no sense to set a prequel 50+ years after the story that was supposed to take place years later.”

It just doesn’t make sense. Even if PSYCHO weren’t tied to its time and place (off the main road, overlooked by the highway – the new one has it as a seaside motel (slaps head, groans)) it’s still just a hare-brained idea. It would be as if when they made the YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES in 1992, they set it in 1992 instead of 1905 – 1916.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 1:22 pm

A seaside motel? It was in the desert. Like Rick Blaine, they must have been misinformed.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 1:22 pm

A seaside motel? It was in the desert. Like Rick Blaine, they must have been misinformed.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 1:35 pm

Behold, from the official plot blurb: “After the death of her husband, Norma purchases a motel located in the coastal town of White Pine Bay so she and Norman can start a new life.”

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 1:35 pm

Behold, from the official plot blurb: “After the death of her husband, Norma purchases a motel located in the coastal town of White Pine Bay so she and Norman can start a new life.”

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 20, 2013 4:19 pm

Sounds like lazy television show creators came up with this plot/premise to me.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 20, 2013 4:19 pm

Sounds like lazy television show creators came up with this plot/premise to me.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 20, 2013 4:21 pm

Oh, and when you included Vince Vaughn’s pic, I couldn’t help but laugh! My older kids and I watched that remake version and when the big reveal was made at the end, with Vince all crazy, we just burst out laughing! I like VV, but he was miscast for that remake. I don’t know who else should have played that part, but poor VV.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 20, 2013 4:21 pm

Oh, and when you included Vince Vaughn’s pic, I couldn’t help but laugh! My older kids and I watched that remake version and when the big reveal was made at the end, with Vince all crazy, we just burst out laughing! I like VV, but he was miscast for that remake. I don’t know who else should have played that part, but poor VV.

Posted By Emgee : March 20, 2013 4:33 pm

How about a follow-up to Vertigo? “After getting over Madeleine’s demise he decides to get married to Midge after all.
Soon after though he spots a familiar blonde woman on the street.
Could it be trouble all over again. Watch and see!”

Posted By Emgee : March 20, 2013 4:33 pm

How about a follow-up to Vertigo? “After getting over Madeleine’s demise he decides to get married to Midge after all.
Soon after though he spots a familiar blonde woman on the street.
Could it be trouble all over again. Watch and see!”

Posted By paxromano : March 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Amen.

Posted By paxromano : March 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Amen.

Posted By jojo : March 20, 2013 5:19 pm

When I first heard of the show and it’s premise, I thought the pitch was Mad Men meets Dexter, which made perfect sense to me.

Then, when I found out it had a contemporary setting, I had no clue what the pitch was, and still don’t.

I’m sure there’s some reasoning as to why they would take a pretty attractive concept then hamstring it. But whoever pulled the trigger on that decision is going to have a lot of explaining to do once the series is canned in a half a season.

Posted By jojo : March 20, 2013 5:19 pm

When I first heard of the show and it’s premise, I thought the pitch was Mad Men meets Dexter, which made perfect sense to me.

Then, when I found out it had a contemporary setting, I had no clue what the pitch was, and still don’t.

I’m sure there’s some reasoning as to why they would take a pretty attractive concept then hamstring it. But whoever pulled the trigger on that decision is going to have a lot of explaining to do once the series is canned in a half a season.

Posted By Gene : March 20, 2013 5:36 pm

Great post. I think you are spot on pointing out the social commentary that underlines Psycho. Hollywood has cyclically tried to reinvent popular movies, sometime successfully, but considering they are making a TV show based on a legendary film character and displacing him from the space-time continuum of a great film is really lacking imagination and ingenuity.

Posted By Gene : March 20, 2013 5:36 pm

Great post. I think you are spot on pointing out the social commentary that underlines Psycho. Hollywood has cyclically tried to reinvent popular movies, sometime successfully, but considering they are making a TV show based on a legendary film character and displacing him from the space-time continuum of a great film is really lacking imagination and ingenuity.

Posted By kingrat : March 20, 2013 6:02 pm

Greg, here’s something else to keep in mind about PSYCHO and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN: these films come out of an era where people were very much concerned about “Momism.” Moms were too strong. They stifled their sons’ growth and turned them into killers, or worse, homosexuals. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE goes along with this, too–lots of furor about Dad wearing an apron. The assumptions which underly these films are no longer assumptions we make.

Posted By kingrat : March 20, 2013 6:02 pm

Greg, here’s something else to keep in mind about PSYCHO and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN: these films come out of an era where people were very much concerned about “Momism.” Moms were too strong. They stifled their sons’ growth and turned them into killers, or worse, homosexuals. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE goes along with this, too–lots of furor about Dad wearing an apron. The assumptions which underly these films are no longer assumptions we make.

Posted By jeanette : March 20, 2013 6:43 pm

I’d love to hear what Robert Bloch would have to say about this show. Knowing Bob it would be “tasty”.

Posted By jeanette : March 20, 2013 6:43 pm

I’d love to hear what Robert Bloch would have to say about this show. Knowing Bob it would be “tasty”.

Posted By Emgee : March 20, 2013 7:37 pm

@kingrat : domineering Moms are not just a thing of the past. So that still remains relevant IMO.

Posted By Emgee : March 20, 2013 7:37 pm

@kingrat : domineering Moms are not just a thing of the past. So that still remains relevant IMO.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 8:48 pm

Domineering moms are still a very real thing. I’m related to one and I’ve dated some. The concern about their sons turning gay might not be around any longer, but turning their sons into mama’s boys isn’t great.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 8:48 pm

Domineering moms are still a very real thing. I’m related to one and I’ve dated some. The concern about their sons turning gay might not be around any longer, but turning their sons into mama’s boys isn’t great.

Posted By Murphy;s Law : March 20, 2013 9:49 pm

After watching the first episode, I have to say that I don’t hate it. The modern mixed with the 60′s elements are a bit odd. Knowing that this is the Bates family adds a sense of foreboding to the show – everyone knows where this is going, it’s just a matter of how do we get there.

Posted By Murphy;s Law : March 20, 2013 9:49 pm

After watching the first episode, I have to say that I don’t hate it. The modern mixed with the 60′s elements are a bit odd. Knowing that this is the Bates family adds a sense of foreboding to the show – everyone knows where this is going, it’s just a matter of how do we get there.

Posted By Richard B : March 20, 2013 11:17 pm

And of course, this was all done more than twenty years ago: PSYCHO IV, made for Showtime, with a script by Joseph Stefano, and with Anthony Perkins himself (who was obviously the exactly correct age at the time) reprising his role as Norman Bates in contemporary time and recounting his youth via flashbacks. There’s nothing about this concept that is out of place or out of time or doesn’t make sense. Unlike, say, these clowns today. You can quibble about whether it was a good idea to show us Mrs. Bates walking the earth instead of leaving us with the impression the first movie had left in our minds, but that’s about it.

Posted By Richard B : March 20, 2013 11:17 pm

And of course, this was all done more than twenty years ago: PSYCHO IV, made for Showtime, with a script by Joseph Stefano, and with Anthony Perkins himself (who was obviously the exactly correct age at the time) reprising his role as Norman Bates in contemporary time and recounting his youth via flashbacks. There’s nothing about this concept that is out of place or out of time or doesn’t make sense. Unlike, say, these clowns today. You can quibble about whether it was a good idea to show us Mrs. Bates walking the earth instead of leaving us with the impression the first movie had left in our minds, but that’s about it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:29 pm

Jenni – agreed on all counts.

Emgee – I’d watch that. I just hope that crazy Midge doesn’t keep any souvenirs from a killing like dumb old Judy.

Pax – Thank you, kind sir.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:29 pm

Jenni – agreed on all counts.

Emgee – I’d watch that. I just hope that crazy Midge doesn’t keep any souvenirs from a killing like dumb old Judy.

Pax – Thank you, kind sir.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:35 pm

In the Vertigo sequel, Barbara Bel Geddes would be replaced by Donna Reed and hardcore Vertigo fans would be pissed!

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:35 pm

In the Vertigo sequel, Barbara Bel Geddes would be replaced by Donna Reed and hardcore Vertigo fans would be pissed!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:36 pm

Jojo, Gene, Kingrat: When I watched it, I found the most troubling aspect was the lack of anything interesting about the characters. Now, on that count, I’m willing to say there’s time since it’s the first episode but for God sakes, when Norman walks back to the kitchen to find that his mom has stabbed the crazy former tenant/owner, at least have the good sense to have him react, “Mother, oh god, mother! Blood, blood!” That was the first tip that the writers and creators of the show really don’t actually know the film well at all: Norman doesn’t react strongly. Norman in the movie does. So, somehow, this is supposed to be Norman but he only reacts to murder later in life.

Also, when Norma bemoans the bypass will make their motel a place know one will know about, I thought, of course they will, through Yelp! One of the major differences now with small diners, motels, etc, is they’re no longer hidden from the world thanks to Google Maps, Yelp and the like. So again, it doesn’t work outside of the fifties! They’re trying to make it work but all they’re ending up with is a tv show about a murderous, domineering mother and her son, who happen to own a motel and happen to be named Bates.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:36 pm

Jojo, Gene, Kingrat: When I watched it, I found the most troubling aspect was the lack of anything interesting about the characters. Now, on that count, I’m willing to say there’s time since it’s the first episode but for God sakes, when Norman walks back to the kitchen to find that his mom has stabbed the crazy former tenant/owner, at least have the good sense to have him react, “Mother, oh god, mother! Blood, blood!” That was the first tip that the writers and creators of the show really don’t actually know the film well at all: Norman doesn’t react strongly. Norman in the movie does. So, somehow, this is supposed to be Norman but he only reacts to murder later in life.

Also, when Norma bemoans the bypass will make their motel a place know one will know about, I thought, of course they will, through Yelp! One of the major differences now with small diners, motels, etc, is they’re no longer hidden from the world thanks to Google Maps, Yelp and the like. So again, it doesn’t work outside of the fifties! They’re trying to make it work but all they’re ending up with is a tv show about a murderous, domineering mother and her son, who happen to own a motel and happen to be named Bates.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:39 pm

I don’t know much about California, but wouldn’t the motel, if it’s seaside, be on the PCH? Don’t a lot of tourists drive along that?

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:39 pm

I don’t know much about California, but wouldn’t the motel, if it’s seaside, be on the PCH? Don’t a lot of tourists drive along that?

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:42 pm

Murphy, I didn’t hate it, I just felt like I was watching something that had nothing to do with any character connected to the movie Psycho. And I’d like to see that. Why not make a show, in the proper period, and contract it for three seasons only. Each episode focuses on either young Norman Bates or young Marion Crane. Both have disgruntled, dissatisfied lives which builds toward the finale of the show, at the end of season three when Marion looks down at the money and decides to go for it. The final shot shows Marion pull up to the hotel and as we see her car in the rain, under the Bates Motel sign, fade to black, the end. That’s how I’d do it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:42 pm

Murphy, I didn’t hate it, I just felt like I was watching something that had nothing to do with any character connected to the movie Psycho. And I’d like to see that. Why not make a show, in the proper period, and contract it for three seasons only. Each episode focuses on either young Norman Bates or young Marion Crane. Both have disgruntled, dissatisfied lives which builds toward the finale of the show, at the end of season three when Marion looks down at the money and decides to go for it. The final shot shows Marion pull up to the hotel and as we see her car in the rain, under the Bates Motel sign, fade to black, the end. That’s how I’d do it.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:43 pm

Richard, I agree, that movie, though I don’t care for it much, works exactly the way the show doesn’t. At least the sense of time and place was preserved.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:43 pm

Richard, I agree, that movie, though I don’t care for it much, works exactly the way the show doesn’t. At least the sense of time and place was preserved.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:43 pm

That’s a much better idea, Greg.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:43 pm

That’s a much better idea, Greg.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:45 pm

I don’t know much about California, but wouldn’t the motel, if it’s seaside, be on the PCH? Don’t a lot of tourists drive along that?

Rob, not only that, but there are high school girls who drive by, neighborhood cops who show up, parties Norman gets dragged to, I mean, lordy, there is no sense of isolation at all. None. The creators of the show have truly missed just about everything that made the movie what it was, even the basic atmosphere of solitude. Yeesh.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:45 pm

I don’t know much about California, but wouldn’t the motel, if it’s seaside, be on the PCH? Don’t a lot of tourists drive along that?

Rob, not only that, but there are high school girls who drive by, neighborhood cops who show up, parties Norman gets dragged to, I mean, lordy, there is no sense of isolation at all. None. The creators of the show have truly missed just about everything that made the movie what it was, even the basic atmosphere of solitude. Yeesh.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:51 pm

I am NOT sorry that my TV schedule is already solid and that I don’t have room for anything else.

Posted By robbushblog : March 20, 2013 11:51 pm

I am NOT sorry that my TV schedule is already solid and that I don’t have room for anything else.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:53 pm

That’s something to be thankful for.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 20, 2013 11:53 pm

That’s something to be thankful for.

Posted By Christine in GA : March 21, 2013 1:27 am

I agree with Greg and all the posters. The creators of the tv show wanted to do it on the cheap so they set it in the modern day and they cynically call it BATES MOTEL to chash in on PSYCHO without respect to anything. Of course, it cannot be a prequel if it’s set in the present; that’s impossible. They figured the kids would watch it. Like robbushblog, my current TV schedule is full and I would rather watch SOUTHLAND or JUSTIFIED or TCM.

Posted By Christine in GA : March 21, 2013 1:27 am

I agree with Greg and all the posters. The creators of the tv show wanted to do it on the cheap so they set it in the modern day and they cynically call it BATES MOTEL to chash in on PSYCHO without respect to anything. Of course, it cannot be a prequel if it’s set in the present; that’s impossible. They figured the kids would watch it. Like robbushblog, my current TV schedule is full and I would rather watch SOUTHLAND or JUSTIFIED or TCM.

Posted By Shuvcat : March 21, 2013 3:37 am

OK, unless I’m intensely stupid (which I likely am) I just watched the show and it looks like Norman’s mother kills someone who had tried to RAPE HER. Are we supposed to feel like she’s the villain after this? Seriously?? I’d go back to check except I don’t feel like watching that again.

Posted By Shuvcat : March 21, 2013 3:37 am

OK, unless I’m intensely stupid (which I likely am) I just watched the show and it looks like Norman’s mother kills someone who had tried to RAPE HER. Are we supposed to feel like she’s the villain after this? Seriously?? I’d go back to check except I don’t feel like watching that again.

Posted By Richard B : March 21, 2013 8:40 am

Greg: As you say, PSYCHO IV wasn’t necessarily a great movie, or even a great idea, but it worked. Whereas from the sounds of it, the makers of BATES MOTEL don’t even have an idea…any idea of what they’re doing, that is.

Posted By Richard B : March 21, 2013 8:40 am

Greg: As you say, PSYCHO IV wasn’t necessarily a great movie, or even a great idea, but it worked. Whereas from the sounds of it, the makers of BATES MOTEL don’t even have an idea…any idea of what they’re doing, that is.

Posted By Heidi : March 21, 2013 12:07 pm

Greg, I would watch that 3 season mini series. That is exactly the kind of thing that should be done. You could get the young man that played Norman in the latest movie, “Hitchcock.” He was really believable to me.

Posted By Heidi : March 21, 2013 12:07 pm

Greg, I would watch that 3 season mini series. That is exactly the kind of thing that should be done. You could get the young man that played Norman in the latest movie, “Hitchcock.” He was really believable to me.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 12:44 pm

Of course, it cannot be a prequel if it’s set in the present; that’s impossible. They figured the kids would watch it.

Pretty much, and idiots like me curious to see if it worked. It didn’t.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 12:44 pm

Of course, it cannot be a prequel if it’s set in the present; that’s impossible. They figured the kids would watch it.

Pretty much, and idiots like me curious to see if it worked. It didn’t.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 12:53 pm

Shuvcat, everything about that scene and setup is wrong. First of all, Norma Bates was never a villain because she “taught” Norman to be a killer but because she was an overbearing and domineering force in his life. And the kind of domineering implied in the first Psycho and greatly expanded upon in Psycho IV is nowhere present in Bates Motel. Norma Bates seems to be a determined woman who would like her son to stay at home but when he disobeys or disappoints her, she guilts him a little. That’s it. She just kind of guilts him. She doesn’t seem cruel or overbearing or domineering at all, really.

And just to go back to Norman not reacting very much to the murder of the rapist, when they’re taking the body out to the bay to dump it, he’s smiling and making his mom feel better. Not biting his nails, not nervous it’s all going to fall apart, not… anything.

Again, if you take everything in the pilot in relation to the characters in the movie, you could conclude that it’s possible, maybe even likely, that the producers/creators/writers have never actually seen the movie. They just know of it and the basic story and that’s it. And that’s sad.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 12:53 pm

Shuvcat, everything about that scene and setup is wrong. First of all, Norma Bates was never a villain because she “taught” Norman to be a killer but because she was an overbearing and domineering force in his life. And the kind of domineering implied in the first Psycho and greatly expanded upon in Psycho IV is nowhere present in Bates Motel. Norma Bates seems to be a determined woman who would like her son to stay at home but when he disobeys or disappoints her, she guilts him a little. That’s it. She just kind of guilts him. She doesn’t seem cruel or overbearing or domineering at all, really.

And just to go back to Norman not reacting very much to the murder of the rapist, when they’re taking the body out to the bay to dump it, he’s smiling and making his mom feel better. Not biting his nails, not nervous it’s all going to fall apart, not… anything.

Again, if you take everything in the pilot in relation to the characters in the movie, you could conclude that it’s possible, maybe even likely, that the producers/creators/writers have never actually seen the movie. They just know of it and the basic story and that’s it. And that’s sad.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Thanks, Heidi. I’d actually like to see that get made one day. I wish it could have been this one.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Thanks, Heidi. I’d actually like to see that get made one day. I wish it could have been this one.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 21, 2013 4:52 pm

I watched the first episode (damn it, Greg! I was avoiding it but your post encouraged me to check it out) and my own take away was the writers had no understanding of the psychology at work behind Hitchcock’s film. Sense of time/place? Not such a big deal to me. Complete lack of understanding regarding Norman’s motives/actions? They lost me.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 21, 2013 4:52 pm

I watched the first episode (damn it, Greg! I was avoiding it but your post encouraged me to check it out) and my own take away was the writers had no understanding of the psychology at work behind Hitchcock’s film. Sense of time/place? Not such a big deal to me. Complete lack of understanding regarding Norman’s motives/actions? They lost me.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 8:30 pm

Complete lack of understanding regarding Norman’s motives/actions? They lost me.

And it is complete! Seriously, like they never watched the movie but know the plot because it’s so well known in popular culture.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 21, 2013 8:30 pm

Complete lack of understanding regarding Norman’s motives/actions? They lost me.

And it is complete! Seriously, like they never watched the movie but know the plot because it’s so well known in popular culture.

Posted By Emgee : March 22, 2013 6:45 am

“like they never watched the movie…….”

“What, watch some old b/w movie, not even in 3-D? Waste of time!Some nutcase carves up girls cause him Mom told him to. Need we know more? Let’s do this!”

Posted By Emgee : March 22, 2013 6:45 am

“like they never watched the movie…….”

“What, watch some old b/w movie, not even in 3-D? Waste of time!Some nutcase carves up girls cause him Mom told him to. Need we know more? Let’s do this!”

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 22, 2013 8:37 am

Btw, Greg, from your earlier post about 80s teen actors and who became a star and who fizzled…I heard via radio that today is Matthew Modine’s birthday, and he is 54 today.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : March 22, 2013 8:37 am

Btw, Greg, from your earlier post about 80s teen actors and who became a star and who fizzled…I heard via radio that today is Matthew Modine’s birthday, and he is 54 today.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Emgee, I don’t want to think about how close to reality your scenario probably is.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 22, 2013 5:13 pm

Emgee, I don’t want to think about how close to reality your scenario probably is.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 22, 2013 5:14 pm

Jenni, amazing how fast time goes. From 24 to 54 in what seems to me to be about ten years. When I say, “I saw that about ten years ago” it usually means thirty years ago and I’ve just left off twenty years. I do that a lot as I get older.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : March 22, 2013 5:14 pm

Jenni, amazing how fast time goes. From 24 to 54 in what seems to me to be about ten years. When I say, “I saw that about ten years ago” it usually means thirty years ago and I’ve just left off twenty years. I do that a lot as I get older.

Posted By Shuvcat : March 23, 2013 2:44 am

Greg, I agree. Olivia Hussey was great as Norma because she was better at seeming menacing. Also the new actress seems too young to be playing Norman’s mother. I’m not saying Olivia was old, but she at least looked like she could have a kid Norman’s age.

Posted By Shuvcat : March 23, 2013 2:44 am

Greg, I agree. Olivia Hussey was great as Norma because she was better at seeming menacing. Also the new actress seems too young to be playing Norman’s mother. I’m not saying Olivia was old, but she at least looked like she could have a kid Norman’s age.

Posted By robbushblog : March 23, 2013 12:37 pm

Vera Farmiga will be 40 in August.

Posted By robbushblog : March 23, 2013 12:37 pm

Vera Farmiga will be 40 in August.

Posted By jbryant : March 24, 2013 8:02 am

Some good points here, but to give the creators of the show a little benefit of the doubt: Isn’t it probable that they’re intending to have all this lead up to a retelling of the events seen in PSYCHO? Thereby making this less a “prequel” than the lead-up to a remake? If so, some of the period concerns seem to me beside the point. The most convincing arguments against the premise are the psychological ones mentioned.

That said, I enjoyed the show and thought it fantastically well acted by Vera Farmiga. Reviews suggest that forthcoming episodes will be taking on more of a TWIN PEAKS quality, so that might be interesting.

Posted By jbryant : March 24, 2013 8:02 am

Some good points here, but to give the creators of the show a little benefit of the doubt: Isn’t it probable that they’re intending to have all this lead up to a retelling of the events seen in PSYCHO? Thereby making this less a “prequel” than the lead-up to a remake? If so, some of the period concerns seem to me beside the point. The most convincing arguments against the premise are the psychological ones mentioned.

That said, I enjoyed the show and thought it fantastically well acted by Vera Farmiga. Reviews suggest that forthcoming episodes will be taking on more of a TWIN PEAKS quality, so that might be interesting.

Posted By Doug : March 24, 2013 9:20 am

From the wiki page:
“Bates Motel (film), American television film structured as TV series pilot; broadcast by NBC on July 5, 1987; sequel to Psycho III; the film has retroactive continuity conflicts with the Psycho IV storyline

Bates Motel (TV series), American production, prequel to Psycho, with ten episodes filmed for an initial season on A&E; first broadcast March 18, 2013″

So, they’ve fallen off this horse before. Didn’t work the last time either; the 1987 failure might have been the genesis for this new series: “We can rebuild it!”

Posted By Doug : March 24, 2013 9:20 am

From the wiki page:
“Bates Motel (film), American television film structured as TV series pilot; broadcast by NBC on July 5, 1987; sequel to Psycho III; the film has retroactive continuity conflicts with the Psycho IV storyline

Bates Motel (TV series), American production, prequel to Psycho, with ten episodes filmed for an initial season on A&E; first broadcast March 18, 2013″

So, they’ve fallen off this horse before. Didn’t work the last time either; the 1987 failure might have been the genesis for this new series: “We can rebuild it!”

Posted By swac44 : March 26, 2013 6:40 pm

I can’t wait for a CSI/Shadow of a Doubt crossover, with modern forensic experts tracking the mysterious serial killer Uncle Charlie.

Posted By swac44 : March 26, 2013 6:40 pm

I can’t wait for a CSI/Shadow of a Doubt crossover, with modern forensic experts tracking the mysterious serial killer Uncle Charlie.

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