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Psycho (franchise)

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Created byRobert Bloch
Original workPsycho (1959)
OwnerUniversal Pictures
Print publications
Films and television
Television seriesBates Motel (2013–2017)

Psycho is an American horror franchise consisting of six films loosely based on the Psycho novels by Robert Bloch: Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III, Bates Motel, Psycho IV: The Beginning, the 1998 remake of the original film, and additional merchandise spanning various media. The first film, Psycho, was directed by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock.[1] Subsequently, another film related to the series was made: an Alfred Hitchcock biopic, and two new novels, by Takekuni Kitayama and Chet Williamson, were released. Also, an independent documentary called The Psycho Legacy was released on October 19, 2010, mostly focusing on Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning, while covering the impact and legacy of the original film.

The franchise focuses on Norman Bates, a deeply disturbed individual who operates the Bates Motel. He is mentally unstable due to his domineering relationship with his mother, which results in him having a psychotic twisted split personality, and, as a result, he occasionally kills people.

A five-season television series, Bates Motel, aired on A&E between 2013 and 2017. In a modern-day setting, it is a re-imagining of the Norman and Norma Bates characters, and their unusual relationship. It stars Freddie Highmore as a teenaged Norman and Vera Farmiga as his mother Norma.


Psycho (1959)[edit]

In 1959, the novel Psycho was published. It was marketed as being loosely based on the Wisconsin serial killer and cannibal Ed Gein, after author Robert Bloch, who lived 40 miles away from Gein's farmhouse, learned of the killings shortly before finishing the novel, having independently liked the idea of somebody being able to kill people in a small community and get away with it for years without being caught.[2] Bloch was further surprised years later when news of Gein's living in isolation with a religiously fanatical mother came to his attention, in "how closely the imaginary character I'd created resembled the real Ed Gein both in overt act and apparent motivation".[2] The character of Norman Bates was very different in the novel from in the film version. In the novel, Bates is overweight, in his early 40s and drinks heavily. When Joseph Stefano adapted the novel into the screenplay, he made the character of Norman young, attractive and vulnerable.[3]

Psycho II (1982)[edit]

In 1982, Bloch wrote a sequel novel called Psycho II which satirized the slasher genre and mocked the production of the 1983 film version, which was created independently and without Bloch's input.[4] In the novel, Norman Bates escapes the mental institution and goes to Hollywood to stop the production of a film based on his life.[5] Criticisms of the novel stated that Bloch's writing was immature, incoherent and unsuitable for adaptation into a motion picture.[6]

Psycho House (1990)[edit]

In 1990, due to the pressure from his publishing company, Bloch wrote a third novel called Psycho House. However, according to horror writer David J. Schow, when writing it Bloch originally called it Psycho 13. In the novel, set ten years after Norman Bates' death, the Bates mansion and motel are both bought as tourist attractions, before a series of mysterious murders begin to take place.[7]

Danganronpa: Kirigiri 2 (2013)[edit]

In 2013, Takekuni Kitayama published the second volume of his Danganronpa: Kirigiri mystery light novel series, exploring the origin story of the Ultimate Detective Kyokto Kirigiri. Set fifty years after the death of Norman Bates, forty years after the Bates mansion and motel's conversion to tourist attractions in Psycho House, and six years before Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the novel follows the middle school-age detective Kyoko and her assistance Yui Samidare as they investigate a "Duel Noir" death game being hosted on the grounds, alongside a hologram of Norman Bates himself, and his "family".[8][9]

Psycho: Sanitarium (2016)[edit]

A fourth installment, titled Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium and written by Chet Williamson, was released in 2016. The book is set between the events of the original novel and Psycho II, recounting the events which took place in a state hospital for the criminally insane where Bates is a patient.[7]


Psycho (1960)[edit]

In need of money to get her boyfriend, Sam Loomis, out of debt (John Gavin), Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals $40,000 from her employer and flees Phoenix, Arizona by car. While en route to Sam's California home, she parks along the road to sleep. A highway patrol officer awakens her and, suspicious of her agitation, follows her. When she trades her car for another at a dealership, he notes the new vehicle's details. Marion returns to the road but, rather than drive in a heavy storm, decides to spend the night at the Bates Motel. The proprietor, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), tells Marion he rarely has customers because of the motel's disconnection from a new Interstate and mentions he lives with his mother in the house overlooking the motel. He invites Marion to supper. She overhears Norman arguing with his mother about letting Marion in the house, and during the meal, she angers him by suggesting he institutionalize his mother. He admits he would like this, but does not want to abandon her.

Marion resolves to return to Phoenix to return the money. After calculating how she can repay the money she has spent, Marion dumps her notes down the toilet and begins to shower. An anonymous female figure enters the bathroom and stabs her to death. Finding the corpse, Norman is horrified. He places Marion's body, wrapped in the shower curtain, and all her possessions - including the money - in the trunk of her car and sinks it in a nearby swamp.

Shortly afterward, Sam is contacted by both Marion's sister Lila Crane (Vera Miles) and private detective Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam), who has been hired by Marion's employer to recover the money. Arbogast traces Marion to the motel and questions Norman, who unconvincingly lies that Marion stayed for one night and left the following morning. He refuses to let Arbogast talk to his mother, claiming she is ill. Arbogast calls Lila to update her and tells her he will call again after he questions Norman's mother.

Arbogast enters Norman's house and at the top of the stairs is attacked by a figure who slashes his face with a knife, pushes him down the stairs, then stabs him to death. When Arbogast does not call Lila, she and Sam contact the local police. Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers (John McIntire) is perplexed to learn Arbogast saw a woman in a window since Norman's mother died ten years ago. Norman confronts his mother and urges her to hide in the cellar. She rejects the idea and orders him out of her room, but against her will, Norman carries her to the cellar.

Posing as a married couple, Sam and Lila check into the motel and search Marion's room, where they find a scrap of paper in the toilet with "$40,000" written on it. While Sam distracts Norman, Lila sneaks into the house. Sam suggests to Norman that he killed Marion for the money so he could buy a new hotel. Realizing Lila is not around, Norman knocks Sam unconscious and rushes to the house. Lila sees him and hides in the cellar where she discovers the semi-preserved and mummified body of Norman's mother. Wearing his mother's clothes and a wig and carrying a knife, Norman enters and tries to attack Lila, but she is rescued by Sam.

After Norman's arrest, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Richmond (Simon Oakland) tells Sam and Lila that Norman's dead mother is living in Norman's psyche as an alternate personality. After the death of Norman's father, the pair lived as if they were the only people in the world. When his mother found a lover, Norman went mad with jealousy and murdered them both. Consumed with guilt, Norman "erased the crime" by bringing his mother back to life in his mind. He stole her corpse and preserved the body. When he was "Mother", he acted, talked, and dressed as she would. The psychiatrist concludes that the "Mother" personality now has complete control of Norman's mind.

In the final scene, Norman sits in a cell, thinking in "Mother's" voice. In a voiceover, "Mother" explains that she plans to prove that she is incapable of violence by refusing to swat a fly that has landed on her hand. The final shot shows Marion's car being recovered from the swamp.

Psycho II (1983)[edit]

Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is released from a mental institution after 22 years. Lila Loomis (Vera Miles), the sister of Bates' victim Marion Crane and widow of the now-deceased Sam Loomis, vehemently protests with a petition that she has been circulating with signatures of 743 people, including the relatives of the six people Norman killed prior to his incarceration, but her plea is dismissed. Norman is taken to his old home, the Bates Motel, with the house behind it on the hill, by Dr. Bill Raymond (Robert Loggia), who assures him everything will be fine. He is introduced to the motel's new manager, Warren Toomey (Dennis Franz). The following day, Norman reports to a pre-arranged job at a nearby diner, run by a kindly old lady named Emma Spool (Claudia Bryar). One of his co-workers there is Mary Loomis (Meg Tilly), a young waitress. Mary claims she has been thrown out of her boyfriend's place and needs a place to stay. Norman offers to let her stay at the motel, then extends the offer to his home when he discovers that Toomey has turned his beloved establishment into a sleazy adult motel.

Norman's adjustment back into society appears to be going along well until "Mother" begins to make her presence known. Norman gets mysterious notes from "Mother" at the house and diner. Phone calls come from someone claiming to be Norman's mother. Toomey picks a fight at the diner after Norman fires him. Later, a figure in a black dress stabs Toomey to death with a kitchen knife as he is packing to leave the motel. Norman begins to doubt his sanity when he begins hearing voices in the house. He enters his mother's bedroom to find it looks exactly as it did 22 years ago. A sound lures him to the attic, where he is locked in. Believing the house to be abandoned, a teenage couple sneaks in through the cellar window. They notice a female figure pacing in the next room. As they try to climb out, the boy is stabbed to death. The girl escapes and alerts the police. Mary eventually finds Norman in the attic. Sheriff Hunt (Hugh Gillin) questions them about the boy's murder. He finds the cellar neat and orderly. Norman is about to admit that something suspicious is going on, but Mary claims that she has cleaned up the basement herself. After the sheriff leaves, Norman asks Mary why she lied. She explains that she had to save him from being arrested. Norman collapses into the chair with his head in his hands and moans, "It's starting again!"

Mary is startled later when she discovers someone looking at her through a peephole in the bathroom wall. She calls out to Norman, who is downstairs and out of reach. The two are horrified to find a bloody cloth that has been stuffed down the toilet. Norman appears confused and believes he may have committed another murder. Mary goes down to check the motel. In the parlor she is surprised by Lila, who reveals herself to be Mary's mother. She has been calling Norman claiming to be his mother, even going so far as to dress up as her and allowing him to see her in the window. Mary has been helping her. She was responsible for restoring Mother's room at the house and locking Norman in the attic. All of this was an attempt to drive Norman insane again and have him recommitted.

Mary's growing feelings for Norman, however, have been preying on her conscience leaving her to reconsider her actions. Meanwhile, Dr. Raymond discovers Mary's identity as Lila's daughter and informs Norman. He also orders the corpse of Norma Bates (which was buried in a proper grave after the events of the original film) to be exhumed, to prove that Norman isn't being haunted by his mother. Mary admits to Norman that she has been part of Lila's ruse, and that while she now refuses to continue, Lila won't stop. Mary goes to Lila's hotel and their argument is overheard by a bartender. Later, Lila drives over to Norman's house, unaware that Dr. Raymond is watching her from the Bates Motel as she sneaks into the cellar. While removing her "Mother" costume from a loose stone in the floor, another figure dressed as "Mother" steps out of the shadows and murders her. Dr. Raymond runs up to the house. Lila's body is not in the cellar.

Meanwhile, Mary discovers that a car has been retrieved from the swamp, with Toomey's body in the trunk. Realizing the police will shortly arrive to arrest Norman, Mary returns to warn him. The phone rings in the house, Norman answers, and starts speaking to his "mother". Mary listens in and discovers that nobody is on the line with Norman. Terrified, Mary runs downstairs into the cellar, and quickly dresses up as Mother to confront Norman. Someone grabs her from behind, and she plunges the butcher knife into… Dr. Raymond, who has sneaked back into the house. A stunned Mary runs downstairs and is confronted by a deranged Norman, who promises to cover up for "Mother". Mary tries to keep him away, repeatedly stabbing him in the hands and chest. He backs Mary into the fruit cellar to hide and slips on a pile of coal, which avalanches away from the wall, revealing Lila's body hidden behind it. Mary is now convinced that Norman had been committing the murders. She raises her knife to stab him and is shot to death by the incoming police. The sheriff inaccurately believes Lila and Mary committed all the murders.

That evening, a woman walks up the steps to the Bates' mansion. Bandaged from his injuries, Norman has set a place for dinner when he hears a knock at the door. It is Emma Spool, the kindly woman from the diner. Norman gives her a cup of tea. Mrs. Spool tells him that she is his real mother, that Mrs. Bates was her sister, who adopted Norman as an infant while Mrs. Spool was institutionalized. She further reveals that she was the murderer, having killed anybody who tried to harm her son. As she sips the tea, Norman kills her with a sudden blow to the head with a shovel. Norman is now completely insane again. He carries Mrs. Spool's body upstairs to Mother's room and we hear Mother's voice warn Norman not to play with "filthy girls". Norman reopens the Bates Motel and stands in front of the house, waiting for new customers as Mother watches from the window upstairs.

Psycho III (1986)[edit]

Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid), a mentally unstable young nun, is on top of a bell tower about to commit suicide. When another nun tries to get her to come down, Maureen accidentally pushes her over the railing to her death. Another nun tells Maureen that she will burn in hell. She is forced to leave the convent after this ordeal.

Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is still manning the desk at the Bates Motel and living with the preserved corpse of his real mother, Emma Spool (Claudia Bryar), whom Norman killed at the end of Psycho II. Local law enforcement and Norman's ex-boss Ralph Statler (Robert Alan Browne) are concerned since Mrs. Spool has been missing for over a month. Duane Duke (Jeff Fahey), a sleazy musician desperate for money, is offered the job of assistant manager at the Bates Motel. Maureen, now the new long-term tenant, has some issues to resolve in her life. She gave up her vows as a nun only days before, and she isn't sure just how she feels about either spiritual or earthly matters.

Sheriff John Hunt (Hugh Gillin) and Statler have a conversation at the diner, when Tracy Venable (Roberta Maxwell), a pushy journalist from Los Angeles, interrupts them. She is working on an article about serial killers being put back on the streets. Venable is trying to back up her theory that Norman is back to his old ways again. Norman appears and Venable jumps at the chance to talk with him. Unaware of her ulterior motives Norman opens up to her, but is distracted when an exhausted Maureen enters and sits at the lunch counter. He is startled by Maureen's presence, because he feels she strongly resembles Marion Crane. Seeing the initials "M.C." on her suitcase, Norman freaks out and leaves the diner. After a conversation with "Mother", Norman spies on Maureen as she undresses and heads into the bathroom to take a shower. Keeping "her" word, "Mother" enters Maureen's motel room with plans to kill her. Upon pulling back the shower curtain, it is revealed Maureen has attempted suicide by cutting her wrists, a sight which snaps Norman back to his "normal" side. Maureen looks up at "Mother" who is so weakened by what "she" sees, "she" lowers the knife. Due to blood loss, Maureen hallucinates and she mistakes Norman, dressed up as "Mother", for the Virgin Mary holding a silver crucifix.

Meanwhile, Tracy has met with Duane at a bar where they discuss Norman, and it seems Tracy blames Norman for Mrs. Spool's disappearance. When she leaves, Duane picks up another girl at the bar, Red (Juliette Cummins). Norman gets Maureen to the local hospital to save her life. After she is released, he invites her to stay back at the motel and they begin a romantic relationship. The same night, Duane and Red arrive at the motel and hear an argument between "Mother" and Norman, but think it's just a TV turned up too loud. Red and Duane, head to cabin 12 where they make love. Later that night, Red, makes it clear she wants more than just a fling. Calling him a pig, they argue. Duane, infuriated, throws her out of the cabin. Red heads down to the payphone to call a cab, where she realizes she is wearing her blouse backwards. As she takes it off to put it on the right way, "Mother" shatters the phone booth door and stabs a trapped Red to death. The next morning, Duane finds Norman scrubbing down the phone booth.

A group from out of town arrive at the motel where they plan to watch the local football game. Tracy comes to find Norman and ask questions about his past and "Mother". Norman becomes defensive with the reporter and tells her to leave, never to return. Later that night, he and Maureen go to a restaurant, where they dance and talk romantically, while Tracy searches Mrs. Spool's apartment. She discovers the Bates Motel's telephone number written on a magazine cover. Norman and Maureen return to the motel to find most of the other guests engaged in drunken stupor. Norman goes with Maureen to her room and they fall asleep in each other's arms having refused to make love. Some time afterwards, Patsy Boyle (Katt Shea Ruben), the only sober guest, wakes up Maureen to ensure her safety as Norman had left the door open, a bad idea with all the drunken guests around. Patsy, needing to use the bathroom, finds the one in Norman's parlor unoccupied, but "Mother" again emerges and slashes her throat. Norman (an homage to the reaction of finding Marion dead in the shower in the original Psycho) gasps when he discovers Patsy's body. He buries her in the motel's ice chest outside the office.

The next morning, Sheriff Hunt and Deputy Leo appear at Norman's house to investigate Patsy's disappearance. Norman tries to prevent Hunt from entering his mother's bedroom, when he discovers that "Mother"/Mrs. Spool has disappeared completely. Outside, Tracy tells Maureen about Norman, and she, rather upset, leaves the motel and goes to stay with Father Brian (Gary Bayer), who took care of her at the hospital. Meanwhile, Tracy is convinced Norman is behind the latest disappearances. Norman searches for his mother all over the house and finds a note from her stating that she is in cabin 12. When Norman arrives at the cabin, he learns it was Duane who took "Mother". Duane confronts him then attempts to blackmail Norman into paying him off, or he'll turn Norman in to the police. He tells Duane he doesn't have that kind of money, but Duane reminds him that Norman has made a lot of cash from his business, and if Norman doesn't give money for his silence, he will go to the police. He agrees to Duane's blackmail demands, but he then unexpectedly throws an ashtray at Duane's head. They fight and Norman seemingly kills Duane by hitting him several times with his own guitar. Terrified of what he has done, he blames "Mother" for this.

Tracy talks to Statler and Myrna (Lee Garlington) about Mrs. Spool and discovers she was working at the diner before Statler bought it from Harvey Leach. Tracy meets with Leach, a resident at an assisted living facility, and is informed that Mrs. Spool had also once been institutionalized for murder. Meanwhile, Norman drives Duane's car to the swamp with Duane and Patsy's bodies in it. Duane turns out to be alive and attacks Norman, who accidentally drives the car into the swamp. He struggles out of the car while Duane drowns. Tracy reads some old newspapers at her study and discovers about the "Bates kidnapping".

Maureen convinces herself that Norman is her true love. She returns to the motel and takes a shower before visiting Norman at his house. They share a tender moment at the top of the staircase when "Mother" shouts furiously at Norman, which startles him and causes him to lose grip on Maureen's hands. She falls down the stairs into the Cupid statue at the base of the stairs. She goes limp and sinks to the floor revealing the arrow had punctured her skull. Distraught, Norman screams and confronts his mother, saying that he will get her for this. "You don't have the guts, boy!" declares "Mother".

At that moment, Tracy arrives at the motel and tries to find Maureen. She enters the house only to find her lying dead on the couch of the living room which is filled with lit candles. Then she sees Norman dressed as "Mother", holding a knife, and tries to flee. She tries to reason with Norman by explaining his family history: Emma Spool, who was in fact his aunt, was in love with Norman's father, but he married her sister, Norma, instead. Mrs. Spool, having serious psychological problems, kidnapped Norman when he was a baby after she killed Mr. Bates, believing Norman was the child "she should have had with him". She discovers Mrs. Spool's corpse in the bedroom, and Norman takes off his mother's dress. "Mother" orders him to kill Tracy, and when Norman raises the knife, he instead brutally attacks "Mother", dismembering her preserved remains. The last scene shows Sheriff Hunt taking Norman to his squad car, with Father Brian and Tracy following behind. Hunt informs Norman that they may never let him out of the institution again, Norman replies, "But I'll be free… I'll finally be free". Norman, sitting silently in the back of the squad car on the way to the institution, enjoys his victory over his mother by caressing a trophy: the severed hand of Mrs. Spool. He smiles sardonically as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.

Bates Motel (1987)[edit]

Bates Motel ignores the existence of Psycho II and III (and would in turn be ignored by Psycho IV), with Norman Bates never being released from the mental institution to allow the events of those films. Alex West (Bud Cort) is a mentally disturbed youth who was admitted to the asylum for killing his abusive stepfather. At the asylum, he roomed with Norman Bates (Kurt Paul) and they eventually became close friends. Years later, Norman dies and Alex learns that he has inherited the Bates Motel. He travels to Norman's California hometown (renamed Fairville for this film; in the original film it was Fairvale) and with a little help from teenage runaway Willie (Lori Petty) and local handyman Henry Watson (Moses Gunn), Alex struggles to re-open the motel for business. Alex gets a loan to renovate the motel, but the project is plagued with rumors about the place being haunted by the ghost of Norman's mother, Mrs. Bates, and the discovery of her remains, as well as those of her late husband, buried on the grounds of the motel. When recovering the remains of Mrs. Bates, the sheriff said that the body "was never found", which seems to conflict with the original Psycho, with Mrs. Bates in the basement where Norman is finally captured by Sam Loomis.

While renovating the motel, Alex sees Mrs. Bates in her bedroom window, and sees the corpse of her late husband from the same window, supporting the idea that the property is haunted. Willie becomes suspicious and eventually they find that the haunting was a prank by the bank manager, Tom Fuller (Gregg Henry), who had approved a loan with predatory terms with Alex and was trying to sabotage the motel by trying to scare him away. Tom is then forced to help Alex and the others by negotiating friendlier payment terms for the loan or face prison for fraud.

Meanwhile, not all ghost stories turn out to be hoaxes as Barbara Peters (Kerrie Keane) books a room in Alex's motel for the night, contemplating suicide for getting older, going through three divorces without children. Barbara meets a teenage girl (Khrystyne Haje), who invites Barbara to dance at an after prom party in the motel with her and her teenage friends, including Tony Scotti (Jason Bateman), though Barbara felt uncomfortable hanging with young kids. It is then revealed that Barbara's real name is Sally, and that the teenage girl took her own life 25 years ago and is now trapped in "the other side", along with Tony, and other teens who also committed suicide. She tells Barbara that she has a life worth living for, before leaving with the rest of the group. Barbara leaves the motel the next day, planning to live her life to the fullest.

Alex looks at the screen telling viewers, "If you ever need a room, come by. I can't say for sure what you'll find, but it is what makes the world go around".

Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)[edit]

Fran Ambrose (CCH Pounder) is a radio talk show host who is talking on the topic of "matricide" (when children kill their mothers) with guest Dr. Richmond (Warren Frost), who was Norman Bates' former psychologist. The radio receives a call from Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who has re-entered society and married his former psychiatrist, Connie (Donna Mitchell). Under the alias of "Ed" (possibly a reference to Ed Gein, the killer after whom the character of Norman was modeled), Norman tells his story, which the audience sees as a series of flashbacks set in the 1940s and 1950s. Some flashbacks are slightly out of order. The chronological story is: In 1950, Norman's mother, Norma Bates (Olivia Hussey) had schizophrenia (see Psycho II); she was smothering Norman and would have violent mood swings. Due to Norman's sexual repression at her hands, when she was frolicking with him he had an incestuous erection, causing her to dress him in women's clothing and taunt him by calling him "Norma". She then got engaged to a man named Chet Rudolph (Thomas Schuster), who would beat up Norman. Eventually Norman got fed up with her allowing Chet to be in their lives and poisoned them both, albeit reluctantly. He then developed his infamous Dissociative identity disorder and stole her corpse to create the illusion that she was alive—whenever her corpse spoke to him, the "Norma" personality would take over. This caused Norman as "Norma" to kill two women who wanted to have sex with him.

Throughout the spaces in the flashbacks, Dr. Richmond realizes "Ed" is Norman and tries to convince Fran to trace the calls. Richmond's worries are dismissed because they cannot trace the call and they believe they can talk Norman out of the reason he called: he fears he will kill again. He tells Fran that Connie got pregnant against his wishes and that he does not want another "monster". He then tells Fran he does believe his mother is dead, but he will kill Connie "with my own hands, just like the first time". He then takes Connie to his mother's house and attempts to kill her, but after Connie reassures Norman that their child will not be a monster, he drops his knife in shame and Connie forgives him. He then burns the house where all his unhappiness began. As he tries to escape the flames, he hallucinates that he sees his victims, Chet, his mother and eventually himself preserving her corpse. He and Connie leave the scene with Norman stating, "I'm free". However, as the credits roll, the sound of his newborn baby crying can be heard.

This movie is said to ignore some of the events of the second and third films—in particular, the character of Emma Spool, who claimed to be Norman’s “real” mother, is apparently retconned;—however, the events of the earlier films are alluded to inasmuch as Norman claims to have caused “more” murders a few years prior to present time.

Psycho (1998)[edit]

In need of money to get her boyfriend Sam Loomis (Viggo Mortensen) out of debt, Marion Crane (Anne Heche) steals $400,000 from her employer and flees Phoenix, Arizona by car. While en route to Sam's California home, she parks along the road to sleep. A highway patrol officer awakens her and, suspicious of her agitated state, begins to follow her. When she trades her car for another one at a dealership, he notes the new vehicle's details. Marion returns to the road but, rather than drive in a heavy storm, decides to spend the night at the Bates Motel. The proprietor, Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn), tells Marion he rarely has customers because of a new interstate nearby and mentions he lives with his mother in the house overlooking the motel. He invites Marion to have supper with him. She overhears Norman arguing with his mother about letting Marion in the house, and during the meal she angers him by suggesting he institutionalize his mother. He admits he would like to do so, but does not want to abandon her.

Marion resolves to return to Phoenix to return the money. After calculating how she can repay the money she has spent, Marion dumps her notes down the toilet and begins to shower. An anonymous female figure enters the bathroom and stabs her to death. Finding the corpse, Norman is horrified. He cleans the bathroom and places Marion's body, wrapped in the shower curtain, and all her possessions - including the money - in the trunk of her car and sinks it in a nearby swamp.

Shortly afterward, Sam is contacted by both Marion's sister Lila Crane (Julianne Moore) and private detective Milton Arbogast (William H. Macy), who has been hired by Marion's employer to find her and recover the money. Arbogast traces Marion to the motel and questions Norman, who unconvincingly lies that Marion stayed for one night and left the following morning. He refuses to let Arbogast talk to his mother, claiming she is ill. Arbogast calls Lila to update her and tells her he will contact her again within an hour after he questions Norman's mother.

Arbogast enters Norman's house and at the top of the stairs is attacked by a figure who slashes his face three times with a knife, pushes him down the stairs, then stabs him to death. When Arbogast does not call Lila, she and Sam contact the local police. Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers (Philip Baker Hall) is perplexed to learn Arbogast saw a woman in a window, since Norman's mother died ten years ago. Norman confronts his mother and urges her to hide in the cellar. She rejects the idea and orders him out of her room, but against her will Norman carries her to the cellar.

Posing as a married couple, Sam and Lila check into the motel and search Marion's room, where they find a scrap of paper in the toilet with "$400,000" written on it. While Sam distracts Norman, Lila sneaks into the house to search for his mother. Sam suggests to Norman that he killed Marion for the money so he could buy a new motel. Realizing Lila is not around, Norman knocks Sam unconscious with a golf club and rushes to the house. Lila sees him and hides in the cellar where she discovers the semi-preserved and mummified body of Norman's mother. Wearing his mother's clothes and a wig and carrying a knife, Norman enters and tries to attack Lila, but she is rescued by Sam.

After Norman's arrest, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Fred Richmond (Robert Forster) tells Sam and Lila that Norman's dead mother is living in Norman's psyche as an alternate personality. After the death of Norman's father, the pair lived as if they were the only people in the world. When his mother found a lover, Norman went over the edge with jealousy and murdered both of them. Consumed with guilt, he tried to "erase the crime" by bringing his mother back to life in his mind. He stole her corpse and preserved the body. When he is "Mother", he acts, talks, and dresses as she would. Norman imagined his mother would be as jealous of a woman to whom he might be attracted just as he was of his mother's lover, and so "Mother" kills any woman he has feelings for; when Norman regains consciousness, he believes that his mother has committed the crime, and covers up for her. It is implied that Norman is responsible for the unsolved disappearances of two young girls. Richmond concludes that the "Mother" personality has now taken complete control of Norman's mind.

In the final scene, Norman sits in a cell, thinking in "Mother's" voice. In a voiceover, "Mother" explains that she plans to prove to the authorities she is incapable of violence by refusing to swat a fly that has landed on her hand. The final shot shows Marion's car being recovered from the swamp, and then goes to end credits.


Title Seasons Episodes First released Last released Showrunner(s) Network
Bates Motel 5 50 March 18, 2013 April 24, 2017 A&E

Bates Motel (2013–2017)[edit]

A TV series by A&E network named Bates Motel is loosely based on the Psycho movies and novels. The series is a television reboot set in the 2010s and chronicle Norman Bates' early childhood with his mother and how she drove him to become a killer. Bates Motel takes place in the modern day and stars Freddie Highmore as young Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga as Mrs. Bates. It premiered on March 18, 2013, and produced five seasons for a total of 50 episodes. The series was shot in Vancouver with a replica of the Psycho house from Universal Studios Hollywood and a recreation of the original Bates Motel from the first film. The original interior sets have also been recreated.

Storyline continuity[edit]

Psycho story chronology
Original continuity
Alternate continuity
Remake continuity
Bates Motel continuity

Cast and crew[edit]

Principal cast[edit]

List indicator(s)

This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in more than two films in the series.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  •  A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
  •  C indicates a cameo role.
  •  G indicates a guest appearance in the season.
  •  O indicates an older version of the character.
  •  R indicates a recurring role in the season.
  •  U indicates an uncredited appearance.
  •  V indicates a voice-only role.
  •  Y indicates a younger version of the character.
Characters Films Television series
Original series Television pilot Remake
Psycho Psycho II Psycho III Psycho IV:
The Beginning
Bates Motel Psycho Bates Motel
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5
1960 1983 1986 1990 1987 1998 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Norman Bates Anthony Perkins Anthony Perkins
Osgood PerkinsY
Anthony Perkins Anthony Perkins
Henry ThomasY
Ryan FinniganY
Kurt Paul Vince Vaughn Freddie HighmoreM
Beckham SkodjeY
Luke RoesslerY
Freddie HighmoreM Freddie HighmoreM
Nicholas HolmesY
Freddie HighmoreM
Norma "Mother" Bates Virginia GreggUV
Jeanette NolanUV
Paul JasminUV
Virginia GreggUV Olivia Hussey
Alice HirsonV
Mentioned Rose MarieUV Vera FarmigaM Vera FarmigaM
Sarah GreyY
Vera FarmigaM
Madyson ParsonsY
Vera FarmigaM Vera FarmigaM
Mira EdenY
Marion Crane Janet Leigh Janet LeighA Mentioned Anne Heche RihannaSG
Lila Loomis (née Crane) Vera Miles Mentioned Julianne Moore
Sam Loomis John Gavin Mentioned Viggo Mortensen Austin NicholsR
Arbogast Martin Balsam William H. Macy
Sheriff Al Chambers John McIntire Philip Baker Hall
George Lowery Vaughn Taylor Rance Howard Raphael SbargeG
Tom Cassidy Frank Albertson Chad Everett
Mrs. Chambers[a] Lurene Tuttle Anne Haney
Caroline Pat Hitchcock Rita Wilson Teryl RotheryG
Charlie[b] John Anderson James LeGros
Dr. Richmond[c] Simon Oakland Warren Frost Robert Forster
Highway Patrol Officer[d] Mort Mills James Remar Carlton CuseG
Sheriff John Hunt Hugh Gillin
Ralph Statler Robert Alan Browne
Myrna Lee Garlington
Mary Loomis Meg Tilly
Dr. Bill Raymond Robert Loggia
Warren Toomey Dennis Franz
Emma Spool Claudia Bryar Claudia BryarA
Maureen Coyle Diana Scarwid
Duane Duke Jeff Fahey
Tracy Venable Roberta Maxwell
Father Brian Gary Bayer
Red Juliette Cummins
Patsy Boyle Katt Shea
Fran Ambrose CCH Pounder
Chet Rudolph Thomas Schuster
Connie Bates Donna Mitchell
Mike Calvecchio John Landis
Eleen Stevens Cynthia Garris
Holly Sharen Camille
Alex West Bud Cort
Willie Lori Petty
Henry Watson Moses Gunn
Tom Fuller Gregg Henry
Sally Khrystyne Haje
Tony Scotti Jason Bateman
Barbara Peters Kerrie Keane
Dr. Goodman Robert Picardo
Dylan Massett Max ThieriotM
Emma Decody Olivia CookeM
Bradley Martin Nicola PeltzM Nicola PeltzG
Sheriff Alex Romero Néstor CarbonellR Néstor CarbonellM
Caleb Calhoun Kenny JohnsonR
Stephen BoersmaY
Kenny JohnsonM Kenny JohnsonG Kenny JohnsonR


Occupation Original series Television pilot Remake
Psycho Psycho II Psycho III Psycho IV: The Beginning Bates Motel Psycho
1960 1983 1986 1990 1987 1998
Director Alfred Hitchcock Richard Franklin Anthony Perkins Mick Garris Richard Rothstein Gus Van Sant
Screenwriter Joseph Stefano Tom Holland Charles Edward Pogue Joseph Stefano Joseph Stefano
Producer(s) Alfred Hitchcock Hilton A. Green George Zaloom
Les Mayfield
Ken Topolsky
Henry Kline
Gus Van Sant
Brian Grazer
Composer(s) Bernard Herrmann Jerry Goldsmith Carter Burwell Graeme Revell J. Peter Robinson Bernard Hermann
Danny Elfman (adapting)
Cinematographer John L. Russell Dean Cundey Bruce Surtees Rodney Charters Bill Butler Christopher Doyle
Editor(s) George Tomasini Andrew London David Blewitt Charles Bornstein Dann Cahn
Richard A. Freeman
Amy E. Duddleston
Production company Shamley Productions Universal Pictures
Oak Industries
Universal Pictures Universal Television
Smart Money Productions
Universal Television Imagine Entertainment
Distribution Paramount Pictures Universal Pictures Universal Television Universal Pictures


History (1959–1997)[edit]

Psycho is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch which in turn is based loosely on the case of convicted Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein.[10] Both Gein and Psycho's protagonist, Norman Bates, were solitary murderers in isolated rural locations. Both had deceased, domineering mothers, and had sealed off one room of their house as a shrine to their mother, and both dressed in women's clothing. However, there are many differences between Bates and Ed Gein. Among others, Gein would not be strictly considered a serial killer, having officially killed "only" two people.[11] Peggy Robertson, Hitchcock's production assistant, read Anthony Boucher's positive review of the Bloch novel and decided to show the book to Hitchcock, even though readers at Hitchcock's home studio Paramount Pictures rejected its premise for a film. Hitchcock acquired rights to the novel for $9,500.[12] He reportedly ordered Robertson to buy up copies to keep the novel's surprises for the film.[13] Hitchcock chose to film Psycho to recover from two aborted projects with Paramount: Flamingo Feather and No Bail for the Judge. Hitchcock also faced genre competitors whose works were critically compared to his own and so wanted to film new material. The director also disliked stars' salary demands and trusted only a few people to choose prospective material, including Robertson.[14]

Paramount executives did not want to produce the film and refused to provide the budget that Hitchcock received from them for previous films with the studio.[15] Hitchcock decided to plan for Psycho to be filmed quickly and inexpensively, similar to an episode of his ongoing television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and hired the television series crew as Shamley Productions. He proposed this cost-conscious approach to Paramount but executives again refused to finance the film, telling him their sound stages were occupied or booked even though production was known to be in a slump. Hitchcock countered with the offer to finance the film personally and to film it at Universal-International if Paramount would distribute. He also deferred his director's fee of $250,000 for a 60% ownership of the film negative. This offer was finally accepted. Hitchcock also experienced resistance from producer Herbert Coleman and Shamley Productions executive Joan Harrison, who did not think the film would be a success.[16]

Hitchcock hired writer James Cavanaugh to write a draft of the screenplay. Unsatisfied with Cavanaugh's screenplay, Hitchcock then hired up-and-coming writer Joseph Stefano to adapt the novel. The film began shooting in December 1959 and would go on to last about a month. It was filmed mostly on the backlot of Universal and in various sound stages. During shooting, Hitchcock was forced to uncharacteristically do retakes for some scenes. The final shot in the shower scene, which starts with an extreme close-up on Marion's eye and pulls up and out, proved very difficult for Leigh, since the water splashing in her face made her want to blink, and the cameraman had trouble as well since he had to manually focus while moving the camera. Retakes were also required for the opening scene, since Hitchcock felt that Leigh and Gavin were not passionate enough.[17] Leigh had trouble saying "Not inordinately" for the real estate office scene, requiring additional retakes.[18] Lastly, the scene in which the mother is discovered required complicated coordination of the chair turning around, Miles hitting the light bulb, and a lens flare, which proved to be the sticking point. Hitchcock forced retakes until all three elements were to his satisfaction.[19] The famous shower scene took a week to complete and took up a third of Janet Leigh's shooting time. Psycho was released on June 16, 1960, to mixed critical reception and financial success, making thirty-two million dollars in its theatrical run. The film received four Academy Award nominations.

In 1982, author Robert Bloch published his novel Psycho II, which satirized Hollywood slasher films. Upset by this, Universal decided to make their own version that differed from Bloch's work.[20] Originally, the film was intended as a made-for-cable production.[21] Anthony Perkins originally turned down the offer to reprise the role of Norman Bates, but when the studio became interested in others (including Christopher Walken), Perkins quickly accepted.[22] The studio also wanted Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of Psycho star Janet Leigh) to play the role of Mary Loomis.[22] Director Richard Franklin was hired to direct Psycho II because he was a Hitchcock student and even visited him on the set of Topaz, and because a year earlier, Franklin made a film called Roadgames starring Jamie Lee Curtis which was influenced by Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window. Franklin hired writer Tom Holland to write the screenplay after Franklin had seen The Beast Within, which Holland had written. Holland stated: "I approached it with more trepidation because I was doing a sequel to Psycho and I had an overwhelming respect for Hitchcock. You didn't want to mess it up, you really had almost a moral obligation to make something that stayed true to the original and yet updated it the same time. It really was the next step, what happens when Norman gets out". The assistant director of the original Psycho, Hilton A. Green, was contacted and asked if he wanted to produce the film. Green, fearing that Hitchcock may not have approved of sequels to his films, called Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock and asked what she thought of the film. Patricia Hitchcock gave her blessing to the film, saying that her father would have loved it. Psycho II was filmed at Universal Studios in Universal City, California on Stage 24 from June 30 to August 1982.[21]

The Bates house set was still standing from 1960, but the motel had to be reconstructed.[21] According to Richard Franklin, filming lasted 32 days. The film was made much like the first film; it was mostly shot on the backlot of Universal and on a number of sound stages. Several props and set pieces from the original film were found by set designers John W. Corso and Julie Fletcher. The town of Fairvale (seen when Lila Loomis is tailed by Dr. Raymond) is actually Courthouse Square, which is located on the Universal Studios backlot in California. Both Franklin and Holland wanted the film to be a tribute to Hitchcock and the original film: to accomplish this, they added in various in jokes such as the scene when Mary and Norman first go into Norman's mother's room, before they turn the lights on; one can see Alfred Hitchcock's silhouette on the wall to the far right. Franklin also repeated various shots from the original film such as the shot where Norman walks into the kitchen and sets his jacket down on the chair. Perkins had difficulty working with actress Meg Tilly due to Tilly never seeing the original film and not being aware of the significance of Perkins' comeback role. Midway through production, Perkins suggested that Tilly be replaced even though half of her scenes had been shot. The ending of the film was kept secret during production. The final pages of the shooting script with the ending on it weren't distributed to cast and crew until the last day of filming. The iconic last shot of the movie with Norman standing in front of the house was used as a Christmas card for various crew members. When Universal presented concept art for the one-sheet film poster, director Franklin wasn't pleased with it. It was editor Andrew London who came up with the idea of using the Christmas card photo as the film poster and also came up with the tagline: "It's 22 years later and Norman Bates is coming home". When the film opened on June 3, 1983, it earned $8,310,244 in its opening weekend and went on to gross about $34,725,000, making it one of the top hits of the year, just behind Return of the Jedi.[21]

Psycho II was generally received well by the public and critics and was a surprise box office success. However, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both gave the film thumbs down on At the Movies, specifically for its failure to live up to the original. In Siskel's words: "I think the ghost of the original, obviously hangs over this movie, and it's too bad because it's a nicely made picture". Ebert wrote of the film: "If you've seen Psycho a dozen times and can recite the shots in the shower scene by heart, Psycho II is just not going to do it for you. But if you can accept this 1983 movie on its own terms, as a fresh start, and put your memories of Hitchcock on hold, then Psycho II begins to work. It's too heavy on plot and too willing to cheat about its plot to be really successful, but it does have its moments, and it's better than your average, run-of-the-mill slasher movie".[23] In the British magazine Empire, film critic Kim Newman gave the film three out of five stars, calling Psycho II "a smart, darkly-comic thriller with some imaginative twists. The wittiest dark joke is that the entire world wants Norman to be mad, and 'normality' can only be restored if he's got a mummified mother in the window and is ready to kill again".[24]

With the surprise financial and critical success of Psycho II, Universal began development on a second sequel. Writer Charles Edward Pogue was hired to write the screenplay. In Pogue's first draft of the film, it was Duane who was the killer and had intentionally come to the Bates Motel because he was obsessed with Norman. Maureen was a neurotic psychologist who had come to the motel to replace Dr. Raymond from the previous film. Pogue had intended to cast original victim Janet Leigh in the role. Universal rejected these ideas, arguing that Bates had to be the killer and Leigh was wrong for the film. However, Maureen's actions remained virtually unchanged; her character was merely changed to a young nun. After the second draft of the screenplay was completed, it was sent to Perkins as an acting job. After Perkins read the script, he wanted to direct the film, saying he would do it for nothing. Universal agreed to this. When the film went into pre-production, Anthony Perkins asked Psycho II director Richard Franklin to co-direct the film with him, but Franklin declined. Filming for Psycho III began in June 1985. Perkins' main inspiration for the style of this film came from the movie Blood Simple directed by the Coen brothers. Before production began, he even took the entire cast and crew to a screening of the film. Like the two previous films, it was mostly shot on the backlot of Universal and in a number of sound stages. Despite Psycho III being Perkins' film directorial debut, the cast and crew have said in interviews that he was enjoyable to work with. Lee Garlington, who played the waitress Myrna, commented: "I have never to this date met a director who worked equally well with both the cast and crew. He was excited to be doing it, I adored him". During filming, actor Jeff Fahey suffered an on-set injury. When filming the scene where Norman is hitting Duke with the guitar, Anthony Perkins actually hit Jeff Fahey so hard that it cut his head open and he had to get six stitches. A shot of Fahey's actual injury was used in the final film. Universal originally wanted to release the film in February 1986 but the release was moved to July 2 due to various re-shoots that included the ending. Psycho III was released on July 2, 1986, to a mixed response from critics and financial failure. It earned $3,238,400 in its opening weekend and went on to gross about $14,481,606 at the domestic box office, becoming the lowest-grossing theatrical film of the Psycho movie franchise.[25]

With the financial failure of Psycho III, Universal decided to continue the Psycho franchise as a television series, Bates Motel, taking inspiration from the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street TV series. In this televised spin-off of Psycho, Norman Bates is portrayed by Kurt Paul, who previously stood in as a stunt double for Anthony Perkins in Psycho II and III. Perkins declined involvement in the project and even heavily boycotted it. The film was made as a pilot for a weekly anthology television series, but the series was never picked up.[26] Thus, Universal decided to air the pilot as a made-for-TV film over the 4th of July weekend. The film received mostly negative reviews and low Nielson ratings.

A year after Bates Motel aired, production on Psycho IV: The Beginning began. Perkins wanted to direct the film and even came up with a pitch for the film along with Psycho III screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue; however, Psycho III was a critical and financial failure, so Universal rejected that idea and Mick Garris was brought in.[27] Joseph Stefano was the screenwriter of the original film and was brought back to write the fourth film. He had disliked the two films between I and IV, feeling that they were too commercial and catered to the conventions of slasher movies. In an interview, Stefano said: "Gearing up for Psycho IV, I decided to ignore the two sequels – like the business in II about Norman's mother".[28]

Actress Olivia Hussey was directly offered the role of Mrs. Bates. It was the intention of writer Joseph Stefano to make her at a young age as attractive as Norman had been in the first film.[29]

When Henry Thomas was cast as young Norman Bates, Perkins wanted to meet with him and discuss the role. In the documentary The Psycho Legacy, Thomas stated: "Looking back on it now, he knew he had to have this conversation with me but I don't think that he was really into it. He just gave me a few broad strokes and told me to play the character real, that was it".[30]

During filming, Perkins had been diagnosed with HIV and had to receive treatment during production. Director Mick Garris has stated in numerous interviews that he had some creative control issues with Perkins. According to Garris: "He would get into long, drawn-out discussions in front of the crew, testing his director, making sure choices were not made "because it looks good", and seeing how deep the understanding of the story and process were. He could be very forceful, just shy of bullying, but also really appreciated helpful direction. I would have to say he was the most difficult and challenging actor I've ever worked with, but he ended up going on and on about how happy he was with the film. That was gratifying".[31]

Psycho IV: The Beginning was filmed at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida from June 4 to July 13, 1990. The facade of the Bates Motel and the Bates mansion were re-created at the theme park. The production was originally to be filmed before the opening of the park but due to delays and the studio's desire to have a high-profile production on the lot, the film was shot while the park was open. This led to tourists being able to watch the filming of several scenes at the motel and house on the back lot.

The film received mixed reviews when first broadcast on Showtime. Henry Stewart of L Magazine said: "Garris evinces high-grade professionalism, but his comic-book approximations of real emotions—like desire, madness and murderlust—feel empty. Hitchcock this most certainly ain't".[32] Ninja Dixon.com wrote: "This is a good TV movie, way better than it's [sic] reputation, and continues the tradition of great acting in the series".[33] Cult Reviews.com said: "The film is shot well, the fire sequence, by Rodney Charters, is particularly stunning. The only real trouble with this film is the bad writing, which, considering that it was the baby of the scriptwriter of the original, Joseph Stefano, is very disappointing indeed".[34] Matt Poirier of Direct to Video Connoisseur.com wrote: "This was a pretty unmemorable movie. It tried to make references to the original, like one where Perkins cuts his thumb, and the blood going into the drain mimics the blood in the famous shower scene. Way too obvious and pretty obnoxious".[35] Despite some negative reviews, the film received high Nielson ratings with around 10 million viewers watching the premiere.

In 1998, Universal made a remake of Psycho, with Gus Van Sant as a director. The audio commentary track that accompanies the DVD release of the film, and the "making-of" documentary (Psycho Path) that the DVD includes, provide numerous details about where the film strived to remain faithful to the original, and where it diverged. Some changes are pervasive: as the film opens, it is made clear that it is set in the late 1990s, so minor changes are made throughout the dialogue to reflect the new timeframe. For example, all the references to money are updated (how much Marion Crane steals, how much a car costs, how much a hotel room costs), as are references to terms from the original script like "aspic" that would seem anachronistic in the new setting.

According to Van Sant, in the original the only fully fleshed-out character was Norman Bates; the other major characters were more iconic, purposely written and portrayed to advance the plot. Van Sant relied upon his main cast more to flesh out and make consistent their character's motivations and worked with them to determine to what degree their characters were similar to the originals. William H. Macy chose to stay true to the original, while others, such as Vaughn and Julianne Moore, interpreted the dialogue and scenes from the original film differently. Moore's version of Lila Crane was much more aggressive than the one portrayed by Vera Miles, and there are differences in Marion Crane's evolving attitudes about the money she stole.

The cinematography and cinematic techniques were consistent between the two films in many memorable scenes, including the shower scene, scenes of the mother, scenes of the swamp, and the scene of Arbogast on the staircase, but other scenes changed significantly, particularly the climax, and the Dr. Simon monologue at the end, which was much shorter. Van Sant's comments from the commentary track attributes many of the updates to the need to make the film more accessible to a new audience.

The film earned $37,141,130 at the box office, $21,456,130 of which came from North America.[36] Estimates of the production budget range from $20 million[37] to $60 million;[36] while promoting his 2002 film Gerry, Van Sant said he thought the producers "broke even" financially.[38]

This version of Psycho received mostly negative reviews; it was awarded two Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Director for Gus Van Sant, while Anne Heche was nominated as Worst Actress. Camille Paglia commented that the only reason to watch it was "to see Anne Heche being assassinated", but that "it should have been a much more important work and event than it was".[39] A number of critics and writers viewed Van Sant's version more as an experiment in shot-for-shot remakes. Many people refer to this film as a duplicate of the 1960 film rather than a remake. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote that the film "demonstrates that a shot-by-shot remake is pointless; genius apparently resides between or beneath the shots, or in chemistry that cannot be timed or counted".[40] Screenwriter Joseph Stefano, who worked on the 1960 version, thought that although she spoke the same lines, Anne Heche portrays Marion Crane as an entirely different character.[41] Even Van Sant admitted that it was an experiment that proved that no one can really copy a film exactly the same way as the original.[42] Janet Maslin gave the film a positive review, calling it an "artful, good-looking remake (a modest term, but it beats plagiarism) that shrewdly revitalizes the aspects of the real Psycho (1960) that it follows most faithfully but seldom diverges seriously or successfully from one of the cinema's most brilliant blueprints"; she noted that the "absence of anything like Anthony Perkins's sensational performance with that vitally birdlike presence and sneaky way with a double-entendre ("A boy's best friend is his mother") is the new film's greatest weakness".[43] Critic Leonard Maltin gave the film a rating of one out of four stars, or "BOMB" compared to the four stars he gave the original. He describes it as a "slow, stilted, completely pointless scene-for-scene remake of the Hitchcock classic (with a few awkward new touches to taint its claim as an exact replica)". He ultimately calls it "an insult, rather than a tribute to a landmark film".[citation needed]


Bates family tree
Unnamed ParentsRay CalhounFrancine CalhounJohn MassettAlex Romero
Marion Crane
Marie Samuels
Sam LoomisLila Loomis
(née Crane)
Emma Spool
John Sam BatesNorma Louise Bates
Caleb CalhounWilliam "Will" DecodyAudrey Ellis
Mary LoomisNorman Bates
Doctor Constance "Connie" Forbes-BatesDylan MassettEmma Decody
Unnamed ChildRobert NewmanUnnamed Child

While Bates Motel (1987) was a partial continuation of the series as it continued from where Psycho left off, it ignored the continuity of Psycho II, Psycho III, and Psycho IV: The Beginning due to the death of Norman Bates in the film and the fact that Bates is deemed sane and returns to the Bates Motel in Psycho II. Psycho (1998), a shot-for-shot remake of the first film is not a sequel since it retells the same events as the original film, but set in 1998. There are also some continuity problems in Psycho IV: The Beginning that have to do with some of the past events explored in Psycho, Psycho II, and Psycho III. Reflecting on the continuity issues, Robert Price writes: "It seems that all the different Psychos drift into and out of one another. There is no real sequence. All are variant versions of the same myth. The deep conflict being rehearsed and resolved in these movies is that of the Oedipal complex".

Home media[edit]

2003 DVD box set of the first four main films (UK)

Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV: The Beginning, the Psycho remake and Bates Motel have been released on VHS. A DVD box set containing Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning was released in November 2003 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment in the UK. In America, Psycho was released on DVD on May 26, 1998, and a 2-Disc Special Edition with digitally remastered picture and new extras was released on October 7, 2008. As for the sequels, Good Times Home Video released Psycho II on DVD in full screen on March 2, 1999, and released Psycho III on September 28, 1999. Universal re-released Psycho II and Psycho III on September 13, 2005. A "Triple Feature" collection containing Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning (for the first time on DVD) was released on August 14, 2007. The Psycho remake was released on DVD on August 29, 2000. On October 13, 2013, Universal released the made-for-TV movie Bates Motel on DVD. In 2010, The Psycho Legacy documentary was released as a 2-disc set with the 87 minute documentary and 3 hours of special features. Hitchcock was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 12, 2013.

List of releases
Distributor Title Format(s) Release Date
MCA DiscoVision Psycho LaserDisc 1979
MCA Videocassette Psycho VHS June 1980
MCA DiscoVision Psycho LaserDisc October 1981
MCA Home Video Psycho II VHS, LaserDisc October 1983
MCA Home Video Psycho VHS, LaserDisc November 1984
MCA Home Video Psycho III VHS, LaserDisc February 1987
MCA Home Video Psycho: Hitchcock: The Collector's Edition VHS October 1987
MCA Home Video Bates Motel VHS November 1987 (UK)
MCA Home Video Psycho LaserDisc August 11, 1988
MCA/Universal Home Video Psycho IV: The Beginning VHS August 8, 1991
MCA/Universal Home Video Psycho IV: The Beginning LaserDisc August 15, 1991
MCA/Universal Home Video Psycho II LaserDisc November 11, 1992
GoodTimes Home Video Psycho II, Psycho III VHS July 13, 1994
MCA/Universal Home Video Psycho: The Alfred Hitchcock Collection VHS May 23, 1995
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho: Widescreen Edition (Digitally Mastered THX) VHS September 9, 1997
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho: Universal Signature Collection LaserDisc May 26, 1998
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho: Collector's Edition DVD May 26, 1998
GoodTimes Home Video Psycho II DVD March 2, 1999
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho (1998) VHS June 8, 1999
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho (1998): Universal Signature Collection LaserDisc June 29, 1999
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho: Collector's Edition (The Alfred Hitchcock Collection) DVD August 3, 1999
GoodTimes Home Video Psycho III DVD September 28, 1999
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho (1998): Collector's Edition DVD August 29, 2000
Universal Studios Home Video Psycho: The Collection I-IV DVD November 19, 2003 (UK)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho II, Psycho III DVD September 13, 2005
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV: The Beginning:
Universal Triple Feature
DVD August 14, 2007
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: Universal Legacy Series (Special Edition) DVD October 7, 2008
Shout! Factory The Psycho Legacy DVD October 19, 2010
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray October 19, 2010
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho DVD August 28, 2012
20th Century Studios Home Entertainment Hitchcock DVD, Blu-ray March 12, 2013
Shout! Factory Psycho II, Psycho III: Collector's Edition DVD, Blu-ray September 24, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Bates Motel: Universal Vault Series DVD October 3, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho Blu-ray+Digital May 6, 2014
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV: The Beginning, Bates Motel:
4-Movie Midnight Marathon Pack
DVD September 2, 2014
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray+Digital November 4, 2014
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: Collectible Pop Art Series DVD, Blu-ray July 12, 2016
Shout! Factory Psycho IV: The Beginning Blu-ray August 23, 2016
Shout! Factory Psycho (1998) Blu-ray May 9, 2017
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: Complete 4-Movie Collection DVD September 12, 2017
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: Complete 4-Movie Collection Blu-ray November 14, 2017
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV: The Beginning Blu-ray August 28, 2018
Universal Studios Home Entertainment Psycho: 60th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray September 8, 2020


Box office performance[edit]

Film U.S. release date Budget Box office revenue[44]
United States International Worldwide
Psycho June 16, 1960 $806,947 $32,000,000 $32,000,000
Psycho II June 3, 1983 $5,000,000 $34,725,000 $34,725,000
Psycho III July 2, 1986 $8,400,000 $14,481,606 $14,481,606
Bates Motel July 5, 1987
Psycho IV: The Beginning November 10, 1990 $4,000,000
Psycho December 4, 1998 $60,000,000 $21,485,655 $15,685,000 $37,170,655
Total $78,206,947 $102,692,261 $15,685,000 $118,377,261

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Critical Public
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[45]
Psycho 97% (115 reviews)[46] 97 (17 reviews)[47] C-
Psycho II 62% (37 reviews)[48] 54 (13 reviews)[49]
Psycho III 59% (34 reviews)[50] 58 (13 reviews)[51] B-
Bates Motel [52]
Psycho IV: The Beginning 20% (5 reviews)[53]
Psycho 41% (79 reviews)[54] 47 (23 reviews)[55]


In 1960, Psycho received four Academy Award nominations: Best Director for Alfred Hitchcock, Best Supporting Actress for Janet Leigh, Best Cinematography for John L. Russell and Best Art Direction for Joseph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy and George Milo. All three sequels have been nominated for Saturn Awards: Psycho II for Best Supporting Actress (Meg Tilly); Psycho III for Best Horror Film and Best Actor (Anthony Perkins); and Psycho IV: The Beginning for Best Genre Television Series.


Psycho has become one of the most recognizable films ever made. The shower scene alone has become one of the most iconic cut scenes in cinematic history. In 2000, The Guardian ranked the shower scene at No. 2 on their list of "The top 10 film moments".[56] Psycho is frequently referenced, given homage to or spoofed in television shows such as The Simpsons (see Treehouse of Horror XX), South Park, American Dad!, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, The Golden Girls and more. Films such as Scream 2, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Throw Momma from the Train, Scary Movie and more have referenced the film. Many critics and filmmakers have cited Psycho as the film that modernized the horror genre. Horror writer David. J. Schow stated in The Psycho Legacy: "It brought the idea that the killer in a horror film was not a mutant, didn't have dents in his head; he could look like that nice young boy from next door". The film also brought in a new level of acceptable violence and sexuality in movies. Psycho is considered by some to be the first film in the slasher film genre.[57][58] In 2010, The Guardian newspaper ranked it as "the best horror film of all time".[59] In 2021, Psycho was ranked at No. 5 by Time Out on their list of "The 100 best horror movies".[60] Both Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh spent the rest of their careers being typecasted by the film. Even Alfred Hitchcock's films began to decline in critical and financial popularity after the release of Psycho. Hitchcock film scholars argue that for the rest of his career, Hitchcock's films were constantly being compared to Psycho. The "Psycho" films still maintain a very large fanbase. Various websites dedicated to the franchise such as The Psycho Movies.com have appeared on the internet. Books detailing the making and impact of the film such as Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, The Moment of Psycho, Janet Leigh's Psycho: Behind The Scenes of the Classic Thriller have been published over the years. Two retrospective documentaries have been released detailing the making of all four films including The Making of Psycho (1997) and The Psycho Legacy (2010). The film also spawned the show Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies at Universal Studios Florida, with part of the show detailing how the shower scene was filmed. In 1992, Psycho was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

A musical stage adaptation from Neil Diamond, Psycho: The Musical, was performed from January 25 to February 9, 2019, at PULP Black Box Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.[61]

Other media and merchandise[edit]

Various Psycho related merchandise has been sold ever since the release of the original film. Merchandise includes T-shirts, posters, DVDs, books, stationery, shot glasses, shower curtains, action figures, model house kits, pens and more. Much of the merchandise is related to the fictional Bates Motel where items commonly found in an actual motel have the Bates Motel logo on them. A Bates Motel light up sign was released in 2009. To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of the original film, a Psycho house model kit was released in the U.S. Props from all the films are also sold occasionally on eBay. The original one sheet poster for Psycho is worth around $3000 in mint condition. The original one sheets for Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning are worth around $50 each.

Graphic novels[edit]

In 1992, a series of graphic novels based on the original Psycho was published by the Innovation Comics group. Today, the novels are out of print and are very rare to find.[citation needed]

Video game[edit]

A horror adventure game with a key-driven verb interface vaguely based on the same-named film by Alfred Hitchcock for Commodore 64, DOS, Amiga, and Atari ST was released in 1988.[62]

The Psycho house and Bates Motel sets[edit]

The Bates House and Motel were constructed on the backlot at Universal City Studios in 1959 for the production of Psycho. It has been said that the house, designed by art directors Joseph Hurley and Robert Clathworthy, was loosely based on an Edward Hopper painting called "House by the Railroad". The house and motel sets were actually empty shells, also known as facades. When the house was originally built, there was no right side of the house, since the right side is never seen on camera in the original Psycho film. Interiors of the Bates house and motel were constructed on Sound stage 18-A at Universal, just a short walk from the actual exterior locations making production convenient for all involved. After production had wrapped on Psycho, the house was featured in several television productions including The Virginian, Wagon Train and Boris Karloff's Thriller.

In 1964, Universal Studios opened its patented Studio Tram Tour. The right side of the house was then added and the set was unceremoniously dubbed "The Psycho House". The house and even the motel went on to appear in several shows such as Night Gallery, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and even in films such as Invitation to a Gunfighter and Modern Problems. The motel was torn down in 1979 and the house was moved to an alternate location on the backlot to accommodate the new tour. In 1982, Richard Franklin and Hilton A. Green announced plans to film Psycho II. The house was then moved to a location that best matched the original hill and only about 40 feet of the motel was actually re-built. The rest of the motel in the film was a matte painting. TV shows during the '80s promoted the Universal Tour and prominently featured the Psycho House including Amazing Stories, Knight Rider and Diff'rent Strokes.

In 1985, the Bates Motel was fully re-built for the filming of Psycho III. In 1987, the NBC-TV network announced plans for the TV pilot Bates Motel. The motel in the film was re-modeled to look very Spanish like. This version of the set remained until 1994 when the new renovations were taken away and the motel was put back to look the way it did in the original Psycho. A 1992 episode of Murder, She Wrote called "Incident in Lot 7" featured the Psycho House and Bates Motel as key locations in the popular Angela Lansbury series.

In 1988, plans for Psycho IV: The Beginning were underway at Universal. Plans to shoot the film in Orlando, Florida were set into motion and the film crew constructed a full-scale replica of the Bates Motel and Psycho House at the soon-to-be built Universal Studios Florida. The final dressing and painting was done by the art department crew in 1990, but the house and motel was fully built in 1988 long before the production team was assembled for the project. After production wrapped, the sets were left as attractions at the park until 1999 when it was torn down to make room for another attraction.

In 1998, the Psycho House in California was renovated to preserve the set. All of the rotting wood was replaced and the set had a new paint job. That same year, plans to remake Psycho were announced. It was originally announced that Gus Van Sant was going to be using the original house and motel sets, but the production team built a new house directly in front of the old one, and the motel was updated to look like it was from the 1960s. The new house was moved next to the original house and remained there for about three years after production. In 2003, due to popular demand, the remake's house was torn down and the motel was restored to the original way once again. To this day, the house and motel are still standing on the backlot of Universal and continue to be major tourist attractions. The tram tour features an actor playing Norman Bates coming out of cabin 1 with a body, putting it in the trunk of a car and then wielding a large knife at the tourists as the tram drives away.

24 Hour Psycho[edit]

An art installation, 24 Hour Psycho, created by artist Douglas Gordon in 1993, and later installed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, consists of a silent screening of Psycho, slowed down to two frames per second (from the usual 24), so that it lasts 24 hours rather than 109 minutes. 24 Hour Psycho is featured prominently in Don DeLillo's 2010 novel Point Omega.

The Psycho Legacy (2010)[edit]

In 2010, a direct-to-DVD documentary was released called The Psycho Legacy. It included interviews with cast and crew from all four Psycho films. It also featured interviews with current horror filmmakers who are fans of the series. The documentary was written, produced and directed by horror journalist Robert Galluzzo. Galluzo made the documentary because of the lack of information on the sequels and also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of the original film. The documentary discussed the impact and legacy of the original Psycho and the production stories of Psycho II, Psycho III and Psycho IV: The Beginning. To the surprise of some critics and fans, the failed TV pilot Bates Motel and the Gus Van Sant remake were not discussed in the documentary; originally in the deleted scenes section on the DVD two short segments on the two films were supposed to be on there, but for unknown reasons they were left off of the DVD when it was released. The documentary sold well, received mostly positive reviews and garnered new interest in the series from horror fans.

Hitchcock (2012)[edit]

A film adaptation of Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, which follows the complex relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959 was made. The film is directed by Sacha Gervasi and stars Anthony Hopkins as director Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins. Produced by The Montecito Picture Company and distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures, the film was released on November 23, 2012, in selected cities with a worldwide release on December 14. The film has received mixed reviews from critics and moderate box office returns, with a worldwide gross of $5,337,378 as of January 2013.

78/52 documentary (2017)[edit]

A documentary examination of the Psycho shower scene was released on October 13, 2017, by director Alexandre O. Philippe running 91 minutes. The cast of participants included Guillermo del Toro, Peter Bogdanovich, Bret Easton Ellis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Karyn Kusama, Eli Roth, Oz Perkins, Leigh Whannell, Walter Murch, Danny Elfman, Elijah Wood, Richard Stanley and Neil Marshall.[63]


  1. ^ Unnamed and referred to as "Mrs. Chambers" in the original 1960 film, but is fully named in the 1998 remake and referred to as Eliza Chambers.
  2. ^ Referred to as "California Charlie" in the original 1960 film.
  3. ^ Referred to as "Fred Richmond" in the original 1960 film, "Leo Richmond" in Psycho IV: The Beginning, and as "Simon Richmond" in the 1998 remake.
  4. ^ Referred to as "Officer Kaplan" in Bates Motel.


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External links[edit]