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|Portrayed By|| Anthony Perkins|
|First Appearance||Psycho (1960)|
|Last Appearance||Psycho IV: The Beginning|
|Also Known As||"Mother"|
|Other Family||Emma Spool (aunt)|
Norman Bates is the central character in the Psycho movies. He is also the main character of the Psycho novels by Robert Bloch.
Norman Bates grew up with his mother, Norma Bates. He had been kidnapped briefly by his aunt, Emma Spool, when he was a baby. Emma was instutionalized once Norman was retrieved. Norman's father, Mr. Bates, died either while Norman was a baby or when he had not been born yet, from bee stings. Norma preached to Norman that he shall never become a father, and that all women besides herself are dirty, untrustworthy, and evil. As Norman reached his teenage years, he began to doubt what he was told, and slowly started becoming obsessed with women. He led a sheltered life and Norma was arguably the only other person who he knew. This changed when Norma herself met someone and started a relationship with him. As this relationship progressed, Norman's sanity started falling apart. He felt that Norma was a hypocrite for preaching to him not to ever be in love, while she herself was in a serious relationship with a man who Norman disliked. Norman also started losing attention from Norma because she was now focused more on this man and less on her son. All of this eventually resulted in Norman one day snapping.
Desperate to pay Norma back for her relationship with this man, Norman served both "Mother" and her lover iced tea that he had poisoned. The poison almost instantly killed them. He then realized what he had done and devised a clever plan to cover up the double-homicide. He forged a suicide note allegedly from his mother, claiming that she had killed her lover and then herself while Norman was away. The authourities fell for the trick and gave no second look at nervous, shy little Norman Bates.
However, Norman had to go to the hospital from shock. This shock was caused by realizing that he had killed his mother, but it seemed to be caused by discovering that she killed herself. During this period of time, he was compelled by his twisted mind to keep Norma alive by pretending to be her. To do so, he filled her coffin with books to weigh it down and stole her corpse. He mummified the corpse and stuffed it. He was no longer only Norman Bates - now, more than 50% of his mind belonged to Norma Bates.
Norman inherited the Bates House and Bates Motel. He ran the motel alone, but people very rarely checked in. Norman's only company was hallucinations of his dead mother, and of course himself recreating her voice and pretending to be her. He argued with his "Mother" side on more than one event. Eventually, a lone woman checked in to the motel. The woman was interested in Norman and tried to seduce him, which "Mother" did not agree with. "Mother" took over and flew into a rage, killing the woman. Norman then hid the corpse and convinced himself that "Mother" was the killer. Soon, another woman checked in, and the event repeated itself. Norman's mental illness still prevented him from realizing that he had killed both women. It was in 1960, when Marion Crane checked in, that Norman's life drastically changed.
Norman invited Marion to dinner at the motel. While she got ready, Norman argued with "Mother", and managed to refuse to listen to his mother's bidding for once. Marion overheard this and told Norman that she did not wish to upset his mother, but Norman convinced her that everything was fine. As Marion ate, Norman told her that his mother was (mentally) ill, and she suggested that Norman instutionalize her. Norman angrily refused, saying that his mother was not a bad person, she just "goes a little mad sometimes - we all go a little mad sometimes". Later, as Marion took a shower, the "Mother" persona took control again. "Mother" walked into the room and stabbed Marion to death while she was still in the shower. Norman then returned to the room and saw what happened; he again thought that "Mother" was the killer and hid Marion's corpse in her own car. He then sunk the car in a nearby swamp.
A few days after, Milton Arbogast arrived at the motel to ask Norman some questions. Nervously, Norman lied that Marion had not been to the motel. Eventually, he admitted that she had, but stated that she had only been for the night and had barely spoke with him. Arbogast wanted to meet Norman's mother. Norman refused to let Arbogast do so and told him to leave. Arbogast secretly snuck up to the house and attempted to meet Norman's mother. However, he was attacked on the stairs by Norman, dressed as "Mother". "Mother" slashed Arbogast, causing him to fall down the stairs. "Mother" then ran down and stabbed Arbogast to death.
Marion's sister, Lila Crane, and boyfriend Sam Loomis arrived at the motel eventually, posing as a married couple. They suspected that Norman had killed Marion for the money that she had stolen. Sam distracted Norman in the motel office while Lila snuck up to the Bates house. The conversation between Sam and Norman quickly became a heated arguement. When Norman realized where Lila was, he powerfully punched Sam in the face. Sam fell backwards and hit his head on a hanging vase. The vase smashed, knocking Sam out. Norman fled to stop Lila. He dressed up as "Mother" hurriedly and ran into the fruit cellar where he had placed his mother's corpse. Lila had just discovered the corpse and screamed in horror, alerting Norman to her location. As "Mother" (Norman) entered the room, knife in hand, Sam ran in behind him as well. Sam grabbed "Mother" from behind and they fell to the floor. Sam held the killer down; the police soon arrived and Norman was quickly placed in an asylum.
While a pyschologist explained to Sam, Lila, and a group of others the details of why exactly Norman did what he did, the "Mother" persona took control of Norman completely. As "Mother", he thought about how to prove "her" innocence by refusing to swat a fly crawling on "her" hand. "Mother" stated in Norman's thoughts that Norman was always "bad" and deserved to be locked up like he had been. As complete control of his mind and actions fell away to "Mother", Norman managed a sinister and creepy smile to show that he was no longer himself.
Luckily, "Mother"'s control over his mind didn't last forever. Norman was eventually cured many years later. He was released from the asylum, now a pefectly sane man. Lila, now named "Lila Loomis" after marrying Sam, protested the release of Norman. She started a petition and had it signed by 743 people, mainly relatives of Norman's victims. However, Norman was released anyway because he had been deemed sane. Norman was taken back to his only home, the Bates Motel, as well as the house that he grew up in. Norman met the motel's new manager, Warren Toomey. Norman got a job as a busboy/dishwasher at a nearby diner. The diner was run by Emma Spool, his insane aunt, but Norman didn't know of the connection and knew her as a kindly old lady.
Norman met Mary Samuels, who also worked for Emma Spool at the same diner. Mary had nowhere to live, so Norman invited her to stay at the motel. He soon discovered that while he was instutionalized, Toomey had changed the motel completely. Under the management of Toomey, wild parties were held at the motel, with illegal drugs that guests could use, and do other things that Norman did not approve of. Toomey had allowed the drugs to be used because of the money that he received from guests who flocked there. Norman, angry that his childhood home had been completely wrecked by Toomey, fired the new manager and extended his offer by letting Mary live at the motel. Toomey insulted Norman, stating that while his guests had fun, Norman's were all murdered. This deeply offended Norman.
Norman soon started getting notes from "Mother". He soon even gets phone calls from his late mother's voice. As Toomey left the motel drunkenly, a person disguised as "Mother" killed Toomey. When Norman saw this figure while renovating the motel, he started to wonder if he was going crazy again. As he saw that his mother's bedroom looks the same as it did 22 years ago, a sound lured him to the attic and he was locked in.
At the same time, a teenage couple, believing the house to be abandoned, snuck in through the cellar window. As they were making out, they noticed a human female figure dressed in black pacing in the next room and heading towards the cellar trapdoor with a large kitchen knife. The girl tried to climb through a small window, but knocked over a pile of logs. As they tried to climb out, the window slammed down on his hands and the boy was stabbed to death. The girl escaped and alerts the police. Mary eventually found Norman in the attic, but the door is unlocked, confusing Norman. Minutes later, the sheriff arrived at the house and questions them about the boy's murder. He found the cellar neat and orderly. Norman was about to admit that something suspicious is going on, but Mary claimed that she has cleaned up the basement herself. After the sheriff left, Norman asked Mary why she lied. She explains that she had to save him from being arrested. Norman collapsed into the chair with his head in his hands and moaned, "It's starting again!"; Norman was aware that he was slipping into insanity again.
That evening, Mary goes down to the motel to look for a bottle of brandy. In the parlour she is surprised by Lila, who revealed herself to be Mary's mother and ask her why she alibied for him. She had been calling Norman claiming to be his mother; Mary had also been helping her. She was the figure Norman spotted in the window, and also restored mother's room in the house plus locking Norman in the attic. All of this was an attempt to drive Norman insane again and to have him recommitted. Mary's growing feelings for Norman, however, have been preying on her conscience, leaving her to reconsider her actions. Lila became annoyed at Mary for giving an alibi to the police, because she is desperate for Bates to be recommitted. Mary, however, believed Norman to be innocent and states there could be somebody else lurking in the house. As she left, Lila warns her that Norman will eventually kill her just like the rest. As Norman enters the bathroom he calls for Mary, and the two were horrified to find a bloody cloth that has been stuffed down the toilet and overflowing. Norman appears confused and believes that he may have committed another murder. Mary told Norman it could not have been him as he was in the attic, and asked Norman to make them both a drink.
As Mary cleans up the mess, she was startled when she discovered someone looking at her through a peephole in the bathroom wall. She screams and then calls out to Norman, who was downstairs and out of reach. Mary then returned to her room to fetch her gun, which she has been keeping in her bag, and entered Norman's mother's bedroom. As she entered, she discovered a peephole behind a painting and looks through and finds somebody else staring at her through the bathroom wall. Norman rushed to her aid but is sad to learn that Mary had a gun, thinking it is because of him she carries it, which Mary denied.
Norman grabbed a knife and went to look for the intruder. Hearing a voice calling to him, he went back up to Mary. He thought that his mother was downstairs and was trying to kill Mary; he locked the door to protect her. Mary tried to go see because of her belief that it was Lila again, but Norman stopped her defensively.
Norman was eventually shocked to learn that Mary was Lila's daughter, after his psychologist called him to tell him about her secret parentage. His psychologist then ordered Norma's corpse to be exhumed to prove that Norman isn't being haunted by his mother. Mary admitted to helping Lila try and drive Norman insane again, but tells Norman that she had stopped, while Lila had not. Mary discovered that Lila had not killed the boy or Toomey, but still refused to help her mother try and break Norman's sanity. Meanwhile, Norman spoke on the phone with who he thought was Norma. Mary grabbed the phone, only to find out that nobody was on the other end; she also begin to fear that Norman was going insane again.
As Lila got ready to dress up as Norma once again, another "Mother" figure violently killed her by sticking the knife in her mouth. Mary found the corpses of Toomey and the boy and realized that the police would arrive any minute to arrest Norman for murders that he was innocent of. She panicked and called Norman as his mother, as well as dressing up in a Mother costume and grabbing a butcher knife, to confront Norman and save him. She also killed Norman's psychologist, Dr. Raymond. Norman found her pulling the knife out of the body and promised to cover up the murder for her, as he assumed her to be his mother due to the costume.
Mary accused Norman of being the killer all along. He denied it, claiming that "Mother" killed everyone. Mary raised the knife to stab Norman, but the police arrived at that moment. A deputy shot Mary dead, saving Norman's life. The sheriff assumed that Mary had killed everybody in order to protect Norman. Norman, proved innocent, later that night heard a knock at his door. He invited the person in; it was Emma Spool, his employer (and secret aunt).
Emma lied that she was his real mother, and that Norma had been her sister. She then truthfully revealed that she had been the killer all along, killing anyway who threatened Norman. Norman then grabbed a shovel and suddenly killed Emma, striking her on the head with it. Norman has now lost his sanity and is insane again, exactly what Lila had died to ensure. He reopened the Bates Motel, now using the stuffed corpse of Emma Spool as his "Mother". He began to wait for visitors and guests at the motel, who he would clearly kill.