Monday, February 8, 2010

Female Villains in Horror: "Mother"

"A boy's best friend is his mother..."

Now before you go all psycho on me (sorry, couldn't resist!) - I'm not just talking about Norman Bates dressed up as Mother. I'm talking about Mother herself.
The condescending, confidence-shattering, ball-busting, poorest excuse for a mother this side of Andrea Yates.
So this is a two-fer, truth be told.

Poor Norman didn't stand a chance of being normal.

In 1960's Psycho, highly regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, it really isn't touched upon too much why Norman offed his mom. Basically we are to assume it was from her constant berating and hovering. Yelling at him to 'go open the motel' and to 'stay away from filthy whores!' (Good advice for any man, really...)

So what did he do? Why kill her of course.
And then dress up in her clothes and start killing people. In his mind, he becomes Mother. Can you say split personality disorder?

When Marion Crane is at the motel and Norman goes to get something for her to eat up at the manse, she hears him arguing with Mother about having a woman in their house. (Obviously he is chatting with himself.)

And we all remember discovering Mother in the fruit cellar. Lovely.

In Psycho II, they gave us Mrs. Spool.
At first we thought she was just the kindly old lady who was a co-worker of Norman's at the restaurant, trying to be "Christian-like" by getting Norman hired.

At the end of the film it is revealed that she was Norman's true mother - and that because she was young, had her own "troubles", and was sent to the looney bin - Norman was given to Mrs. Spool's sister to raise as her own. And as we all know, she did a bang-up job, right?

When Norman poisons Mrs. Spool and then bashes her head with a shovel--

--things really come full circle. He apparently preserves her as he did her sister, because...

In Psycho III we have someone stealing Mrs. Spool's mummified body. Gah!
Norman is up to his old tricks again, too. Guess he never moves into the present, either. His poor choice of "mother" clothes remains reprehensibly heinous.

We also learn that Mrs. Spool was institutionalized for murder. Wow, great role model. She was in love with Norman's dad but he chose her sister instead. So she kidnaps Norman and pretends she's his mother.
Are you still with me?

So, Mrs. Bates really was Norman's nasty mom.

In Psycho IV they turned the tables a bit. Turns out Mrs. Bates was herself a bit of the skanky whore she always warned her son about.

Not only that, but when Norman was younger Norma Bates had violent mood swings. Evidently, she also teased Norman a little too much and a little too sexily, causing him to rise to the occasion. Creepy.

She then made fun of him and dressed him in women's clothes and called him Norma.
That explains a lot.
Norman grows up pretty much having a love-hate relationship with Mother, always trying to please her and yet insanely jealous when she takes a lover. Norman eventually kills her and her boyfriend (who was also known to abuse Norman).

So there you go.

When you lay out all the facts, it's really no wonder Norman killed his mom and was so messed up. He almost gets a free pass on this one. And you know, the poor guy never really did get out from under her omnipotent influence. How sad.

Brutality, insanity, jealousy, deceit, incestuous overtones, torment and eventual murder.
More than enough reason for Norman and Mother to be an interchangeable villain.

Buy it here and here.

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The Shitty Astrologer said...

I haven't seen the Psycho sequel with Olivia Hussey...gotta check that one out.

SheHartley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SheHartley said...

Andrea Bates not Yates......and Btw I lovelovelove the pic of the day........The Shining is my favorite movie of all time!!!

C.L. Hadden said...

SheHartley - Actually it is Andrea YATES. If you click my link you'll see.
The motel and family name is BATES.

And I love The Shining as well;)

SheHartley said...

aaaa i see now......sorry i should read more before i you blog too i am a confirmed horror film addict myself!!! and it is also the next blog after mine if i hit next blog when i am viewing mine......just lucky to find it i guess!!!!

thanks for the great work!!!