Emma Spool

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Psycho II character
Psycho 2 emma spool.jpg
Emma Spool
Aliases Mrs. Spool
Gender Female
Born 1915
Died 1982 (aged 67)
Cause of death Head trauma caused by Norman Bates
Race Caucasian
Relationships Norma Bates (sister, deceased)
Norman Bates (nephew)
John Bates (brother-in-law, deceased)
M.O. Kills everyone who hurts Norman, who she believes is her son.
Enemies Everyone except her nephew.
Weapon of Choice: Kitchen knife
Portrayed by: Claudia Bryar (Psycho II)
Kurt Paul (Psycho II, stunt-in for murder scenes)

Emma Spool is a fictional character in the Psycho film series, created by Tom Holland for the screenplay of the 1983 sequel to the 1960 film Psycho, Psycho II. More attention is given to her character in Psycho III, although she only appears as a corpse. In Psycho II, she was played by Claudia Bryar. She serves as the primary antagonist in Psycho II.

In the Psycho sequels[edit]

Psycho II[edit]

In Psycho II, Mrs. Spool, the cook at a diner in Fairvale, California urges owner Ralph Statler to make Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) — newly released from the mental institution he was institutionalized in during the original film — the cook’s helper. Statler accepts and Norman meets with Mrs. Spool. At about this time, a series of brutal murders occur that bear a similarity to the ones Norman committed years before.

In the film's final scene, Mrs. Spool comes to visit Norman and reveals to him that she is his real mother. She tells him that she had him when she was very young and out of wedlock. She was put away by the state and her sister, Norma, took Norman in her care, raising him as her son. Mrs. Spool, while telling him this, is unaware she is actually sipping tea which Norman has poisoned. The poison takes effect and Mrs. Spool begins to cough. Norman picks up a nearby shovel and hits her on the head, killing her.

Norman takes his new “Mother” upstairs, and begins talking to himself in Spool's voice, recreating his murderous "Mother" persona.

Psycho III[edit]

In Psycho III, Mrs. Spool’s murder remains undiscovered and she is thought missing. By now, Norman has begun his murder spree anew, keeping and communicating with Mrs. Spool's preserved corpse in the same way he had with Mrs. Bates. A reporter named Tracy Venable (Roberta Maxwell) comes to Fairvale to investigate the murders, and quickly suspects Norman.

Eventually, an itinerant musician named Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey) discovers the truth about Mrs. Spool. Norman kills Duane when he tries to use Norman's secret to extort money from him. Tracy eventually discovers the truth behind Mrs. Spool’s disappearance, as well as her true identity: Spool was in fact Norman's aunt, and killed Norman's father in a jealous rage after he left her for her sister. Spool then kidnapped the infant Norman, having convinced herself that he was her child. She was arrested and institutionalized, and Norman was returned to Mrs. Bates.

Tracy confronts Norman, who is now assuming the "Mother" personality, and tells him the truth about Spool and his mother. At last knowing the truth, Norman rebels against "Mother" and attacks Spool's preserved corpse.


The later prequel Psycho IV: The Beginning doesn´t mention the revelations of the previous two films, so that Mrs. Spool is not featured.

Behind the scenes[edit]

  • For the murder of Mrs. Spool in Psycho II (being hit with a shovel on the head), a special effects dummy was used that is seen in the interview of Andrew London (editor of Psycho II) on the official website of the Psycho movies. Although the Spool dummy can be seen for a brief second, Claudia Bryar did Mrs. Spool dying on the floor after being hit.[1]

Other notes[edit]

The role of Mrs. Spool was one of the few Claudia Bryar played in theatrical films. Most of her career as an actress was built by her roles in many TV series. Claudia Bryar was aged 64 during the filming.

Mrs. Spool was also played by Kurt Paul, who was Claudia Bryar's stunt-in for the murder scenes in Psycho II.

Claudia Bryar and Virginia Gregg, the actress who voiced "Mother" in all Psycho sequels co-starred in "A.P.B.", an episode of the series The Fugitive.[2]


External links[edit]