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Norma Bates

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Don't you have any respect for the dead?!
~ Norma Bates abusing a young Norman in Psycho IV: The Beginning

Norma Bates is a character in Psycho film series. She is the evil mother of Norman Bates, and would indirectly influence her son's development into a serial killer. Norma had an incestuous relationship with Norman throughout his teenage years, causing him to develop an exaggerated form of the Oedipus Complex. She is depicted as highly unpredictable, cruel, controlling, jealous, and possessive, but at other times very loving and affectionate. Although never mentioned as yet in any film, it is possible, and very likely that Norma suffered from severe mental health issues, two of which are Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Olivia Hussey plays the character in flashback segments for Psycho IV: The Beginning.

History

Norma Bates [nee Spool] married John Bates in the 1940s, and lived with him in Fairvale, California. They had one child together, who they named Norman. When Norman was only a few years old, John died after being attacked by a swarm of bees. John's death deeply affected Norma, causing her to become overprotective of young Norman, even smothering him with her affections. She began toying with Norman when he was barely out of diapers, provoking various reactions out of him then punishing him immediately. Norman recalled in his conversation with talk show host Fran Ambrose that whilst they attended John's wake, she tickled him as they sat in the church causing him to laugh. She immediately chastised him for his laughter, despite being the direct cause of it. This behavior would continue as Norman grew into a young man, with the relationship becoming sexualized to the point were simple mother-son play would result in her sexually stimulating him, then punishing him for developing an erection. As Norman started to become interested in girls, she imposed a strict belief system on him which had him believe that all women, apart from her, were whores and should be punished for being promiscuous. She would become very jealous if Norman interacted with girls, even blowing up into a rage when she found a pornographic magazine in his bedroom. When Norman was in his teens, Norma became romantically involved with Chet Rudolph, and was not shy about her sexual activity with him around the house. Chet himself repeatedly discussed his sex life with Norma in front of Norman, and was egotistical, chauvinistic and pig-headed. Norman quickly grew to dislike Chet and became extremely jealous of his relationship with Norma. After Norma married Chet, they built and invested in a motel which they built close to the house.

During a conversation with Norman whilst out in the yard hanging some laundry, Norma expressed her hatred for Norman and told him that he was a mistake and should never have been born. This was the end for Norman, who decided he could no longer tolerate her abuse.

Death

Norma Bates' corpse

After a night of having sex with Chet, Norma was surprised to find Norman had made them both two iced teas. After consuming the drinks, Chet began to convulse, shortly followed by Norma. Chet instantly surmised that Norman had poisoned them, and he was correct; the drinks were laced with arsenic. Despite suffering the agony of arsenic poisoning, Chet found the strength to attack Norman, and after a short struggle and scuffle, fell down the stairs to his death. Norma would die on the bedroom floor.  

Norman would dispose of Chet, and carried Norma's corpse to the basement where he would embalm her.

Psycho

Norma's voice is heard at various points throughout the first film, with it transpiring that it was either Norman hearing voices, or him emulating her voice himself. We are led to believe that Norma is the killer until the film's climax, when it is revealed that she has been dead all along, with Norman taking on her persona and donning a disguise. Her desiccated corpse is located in the basement of the Bates house by Lila Crane. It is later given a proper burial.

Psycho II

Norman starts to lose his mind again, which prompts Dr. Raymond to prove to him his mother is truly dead. Norma's coffin is dug up and opened, showing her corpse similar to the one in the original film. During a psychotic episode, Norman hears her voice over the telephone and becomes convinced that she has come back to haunt him.

Psycho III

Although not shown, it is revealed that Emma Spool is Norma's sister, making her Norman's aunt. There is a love triangle between the two sisters with Mr. Bates. So he chooses Norma, making Emma jealous of this as she could have been Norman's mother.

Psycho IV

She only appears in flashbacks and is played by Olivia Hussey.

Norma first appears with her son at his father's funeral. She tickles him in order to get him to laugh and slaps him for it, warning him to not laugh at the dead. For years, they live together as if they were the only people in the world. However, Norman gets abused by his mother such as locked in a closet for having dirty magazines, dressed up like a girl and bringing a prostitute.

Later, she becomes engaged to a man named Chet Rudolph. This makes Norman jealous as he believes his mother betrayed him for a lover. As a result, he ended up poisoning them both, starting the events of the first movie.

Bates Motel

See: Norma Bates (Bates Motel)

Quotes

Don't you have any respect for the dead?!
~ Norma slapping her son Norman for laughing despite her being the cause of his laughter by tickling him
Norman, come over here!
~ Norma calling for Norman when she's scared of a thunderstorm
No, not with those wet clothes! You'll catch a cold. Take them off.
~ Norma asking Norman to remove his wet clothes before consoling her
Now hold me!
~ Norma asking Norman to hold her as he comforts her during a thunderstorm
What's the matter with you? What's wrong?
~ Norma questioning Norman's rejection of her due to his becoming aroused by her
Norman? NORMAN!!
~ Norma calling for Norman as he exits her room and runs to his room
It's a wonder you don't have 100 exotic diseases in this place!
~ Norma questioning the state of Norman's room during the thunderstorm
A lot like you'd care! Sometimes I think you'd loathe me!
~ Norma rebuffing Norman when asked to go back to sleep and calls him out on his running away from her
WHAT IS THIS?
~ Norma's horrified and angry reaction upon discovering a pornographic magazine in Norman's room
You dirty little pig! Take that right out to the garbage!!
~ Norma in her anger towards Norman upon discovering the pornographic magazine he keeps in his room
No, you go as you are! Maybe some of the rain will wash some of this filth off of you!!
~ Norma ordering Norman to dispose of his pornography and forces him to go outside in the rain in just his underwear
PIG! DIRTY PIG! DIRTY AS WHOLE WHORE-MONGERING SEX!!
~ Norma yelling hysterically, calling Norman out for his hidden pornography while he disposes of the magazine
Someday, you're going to wish I had been more firmer with you.
~ Norma teaching Norman a lesson as she covers him with a raincoat
I'm going to die from this heat! You'll wish you'd be nice to me.
~ Norma bemoaning to Norman about the summer heat as well as questioning his devotion towards her
With your fingers. Unless my skin disgusts you, does it?
~ Norma telling her son where to apply flower water to keep cool then questions his rejection of her out of insecurity
Silly boy, spilling mommy's orange flower water! WICKED WICKED BOY!
~ Norma engaging Norman into mother-child play by throwing him to the floor and tickling him uncontrollably
GET OFF ME!! YOU'RE GOING TO FORGET THAT NASTY THING OF YOURS!
~ Norma's furious reaction to Norman developing an erection whilst on top of her during their embrace
You're going to forget you even HAVE one of those things! You understand me, boy!?
~ Norma emasculating Norman, as she forcefully him puts a dress on him to wear it
There, see?! Look at yourself, boy! Ha! GIRL! Yes, girl! Mama's little girl!
~ Norma to Norman as she forcefully dresses him as a girl and locks him in the closet as punishment
He's going to live here...In MY house!
~ Norma to Norman about her relationship with Chet Rudolph
You're dead! You hear me, boy? You're DEAD!
~ Norma's last words to Norman as she realizes too late that she's been poisoned.

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