If you’re like us and going Psycho waiting for haunt season then be sure to check in to the Bates Motel premiering tomorrow night, Monday March, 18th on A&E. With the continuous popularity of suspense/horror based drama series such as American Horror Story and The Walking Dead it only seems appropriate that Hollywood would now take a stab at recounting the story of Norman Bates and his beloved mother for the television screen.
The series is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, and depicts the life of Norman Bates and his mother Norma (played by Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, respectively) and the events that would eventually make him go… Psycho. The series is said to be based on the characters and settings portrayed in Hitchcock’s film but is in no way to be considered (by the producers) as a direct prequel. Distinctively, the story takes place in today’s world of iPhones, Facebook, etc. along with the iconic house and Bates Motel being relocated from the Arizona desert to a sleepy Pacific Northwest town.
This past week we were able to attend the show’s premier party (pics on Twitter) and in addition to having a good time at the elaborately themed party, we also got to see the first episode titled “First You Dream, Then You Die”. Without providing any spoilers we can say that the first episode begins with a mysterious event that then quickly takes Norman and Norma to the center of the show’s universe at the Bates Motel. Here they encounter unwelcoming neighbors, fast girls, well intentioned but nosey teachers and suspicious police officers. The show is suprsisingly tense throughout and offers subtle homages to it’s movie source. At the end we couldn’t wait to see more as the relationship between Norman and his mother seems to be on the verge of becoming quite distrubing. We’re told the series isn’t going be a about a blood thirty Norman but from what we already saw there was a nice balance between the elements of mystery and suspense, and the visceral thrills that should be able to keep both drama and horror fans satisfied.
If the show is successful, which we hope it is, then we wonder if Universal will have any interest in turning it into a haunt for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). We may have to wait for a few seasons so it can build up a fan base and more scenarios that can be placed into a haunt, similar to what they did with The Walking Dead, which became a haunt after running for 2 seasons. A&E is producing the show, but the characters and settings are owned by Universal. Therefore, this is a property that they already have the rights for and could easily transform into a haunt. In fact, as many of our Haunt Stalkers already know, every year at HHN in Hollywood, the Terror Tram takes HHN visitors to the iconic Psycho house where they can walk past the hotel and up to the house to take a picture with Norman, himself. While this is always a nice atmospheric touch to HHN, it isn’t really scary. So it’s hard to tell if there’s enough in the Psycho movies or the new Bates Motel series to make a complete and satisfactory scary maze. Let us know what you think…