Bates Motel - thoughts so far...
PLOT – The prequel to the iconic classic, shows Norman and his beloved mother years ago when they first bought the infamous Bates Motel. Here we're able to dig deeper into this twisted family's dark secrets and what made Norman the man...or woman he would later become.
LOWDOWN – With only three episodes in, I really don't want to make any judgments but I wanted to post my currant thoughts on the new A&E show that has caught my interest. Nobody can forget nor top Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. One of the very first major stepping stones for the world and future of horror and slashers. This is a movie that has been closely studied, copied, and respected. It was complete flawless film making and extremely ahead of it's time. Fifty years later, three sequels, novels, and a failed TV pilot, Psycho is among horror royalty for telling the simple tale of a haunted broken boy and his controlling mother.
I'm a huge fan of the Psycho series. I honestly think the biggest thing that grabs me is the back story and the classic setting of the desert side motel on the back highway. Sadly as horrible as it sounds, I didn't view Hitchcock's classic first. In fact, I saw the shit shot by shot color remake which still puts a bitter taste in my mouth. How I went that long (age ten I believe?) and never saw the classic black and white film is beyond me. Instead I had one of the greatest ending twists spoiled for me watching it in that shithole color remake. Of course after viewing it I quickly saw the original classic, and of course it's sequels.
Over the years after the original, part II has become a huge favorite of mine. In fact I've been meaning to review it soon. But as silly as part III was, part IV always caught my interest. I adore Mick Garris, and early on in his career he came from humble beginnings (via Critters 2). I always found that prequel very interesting even though it wasn't really made that well. I loved the scene where Norman is just a boy and twirling around with his mother in the rain and how she lets her hair down. Something so beautiful and haunting with that scene always got me. I mean through the whole series you can't help but feel bad for Norman. Here was a troubled young man who never really left being a boy. After years of abuse he was driven to murder and sadly never recovered. Finding out more about him and his mother always caught my interest.
I own the bootleg of the original 1987 Bates Motel which was a failed TV pilot that took the setting of the motel, but pretty much ditched Norman's storyline. Even though I found it a clever idea, I can see how it never took off. Sorry, but it's the Bates family that makes the movies and storyline so interesting.
When I first heard of them remaking the series and starting fresh I got very excited. I'm not really a big TV nut, I mean yeah I watch The Walking Dead, but I really don't follow it. I mostly like old television shows that have aired years ago. (Twin Peaks, Friday the 13th the series, ect.) So right away after seeing the stunning photo of actors Vera Farmiga, and Freddie Highmore as Norma and Norman, I was hooked.
After viewing the teaser for the show, I right away got chills. Like I said I'm a huge Psycho fan, so seeing that a television show was finally being made about these people, I couldn't contain my excitement.
Now a friend of mine who lives down in Florida, got to see an advance screening of the first episode a month before it originally aired. His biggest problem with it was the fact it was set in modern times and that Norman had a smart phone. I agree, when I heard this I was a little taken off guard, yet wanted to see with my own eyes exactly what I thought. So I waited and just three weeks ago, Bates Motel aired.
I was blown away.
The pilot episode was amazing. I have pointed this out and believe it or not I kinda dig the fact it's set in modern times. I feel they did this for a reason and it may even help the storyline. I feel this show will be very stylized. I noticed that the characters drive cars from the 1950's, and even dress from that area. The music is from the 60's, and the overall look and feel looks like a beautiful strange surreal painting.
I like that their going against the grain, adding new characters and story line we're not used to seeing from the original films. Still, seeing that motel and looming house makes a fan like me smile from ear to ear.
With only three episodes in, I'm hooked. I agree the second episode dragged a little, but the suspense and tension that's building in this show is amazing. I remember director John Lands commenting once on the original Psycho. How well written it was when Normal is dumping the body and the house stops for a second in the swamp and how us as an audience feel our own hearts freeze for a second and we gasp. We're putting our-selfs in his shoes. We think to oursels “Oh my God! He's going to get caught!” even though he's covering up a horrible murder. Watching Norman and Norma work together in the first episode brought back that same tension.
In fact I was pretty blown away with the events of the first episode. I won't be giving much away, but there were some very unsettling scenes, which created a perfect plot. I love how this town is hiding many secrets and a whole lot darker than we think.
I love how corrupted the town is, along with the sheriff (Nice to see you out of those chains Richard! - Boom I just did a LOST reference!) So far I'm very interested to see where this is going. The town seemed messed up beyond belief and Norma seems like a real bitch who has plenty of things to hide.
I agree with so many others that I got chills this Monday when Norman was telling his brother he didn't remember attacking him.
And so the blackouts begin.
So I'm pumped to see where this is going. I will review twice more, once mid-season, the next when the final episode airs to show my final thoughts on the show. As of right now I feel it's slick, original, and very well written!