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Villain Overview
A boy's best friend is his mother.
~ Norman Bates' famous quote.

Norman Bates is a fictional American serial killer and keeper of the fictional Bates Motel in California.

Bates suffered from psychosis and Dissociative identity-disorder, believing himself to be his controlling Mother. At the same time, he suffered from visual and auditory hallucinations, in which his mother apparently talked him into committing acts of violence in order to appease her. When the Mother personality took over, Bates would fly into murderous rages targeting women who aroused him, usually whilst dressed in her clothing. He is known to have eventually slaughtered his mother and kept her mummified corpse in the basement of his house for many years.

He is the titular main antagonist of the 1959 suspense novel Psycho and the 1960 film of the same name and appears as the titular anti-heroic protagonist of the three sequels.


Related Media

  1. A 1987 TV pilot titled Bates Motel was produced following the release of Psycho III, which had Norman Bates [played by Kurt Paul] in a minor part alongside fellow psychopath Alex West. It was filmed in black and white in keeping with the style of the original film. The pilot was poorly received and any plans for syndication were abandoned. Of note, the story had Bates die whilst incarcerated, and the new protagonist West inherits the motel and house.
  2. In 1990 (the same year Psycho IV: The Beginning was released) Perkins appeared as Norman in a commercial for Oatmeal Crisp & Oatmeal Raisin Crisp cereal. This along with Psycho IV would be the final time he portrayed the character.
  3. A three-part comic adaptation of Psycho was released in 1992. Although a colorized adaptation of the Hitchcock film, Norman did not look like Anthony Perkins due to the actor refusing his likeness to be used. Instead, Norman appears like he did in the novel: a middle-aged, overweight, balding man.
  4. Vince Vaughn portrays Norman in the 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Psycho.
  5. In 2016 a fourth Psycho book titled Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium was released and written by Chet Williamson. The book takes place after the events of the original Psycho novel (and before Psycho II) and explores Norman's stay at the asylum.

List of Norman Bates Victims

Book Series

  1. Norma Bates - poisoned by arsenic in Ice Tea.
  2. Joe Considine - poisoned by arsenic in Ice Tea.
  3. Mary Crane - decapitated with a butcher knife in the shower.
  4. Detective Milton Arbogast - stabbed to death with a razor.
  5. 1st nun - strangled to death with rosary beads.
  6. 2nd nun - hit in the head a a tire iron.

Film Series

  1. Norma Bates - poisoned by arsenic in Ice Tea.
  2. Chet Rudolph - poisoned by arsenic in Ice Tea.
  3. Holly - stabbed to death with a kitchen knife.
  4. Gloria - strangled with a rope and drowned in a swamp.
  5. Marion Crane - stabbed to death with a kitchen knife in the shower.
  6. Detective Milton Arbogast - stabbed to death with a kitchen knife. 
  7. Emma Spool - hit over the head with a shovel.
  8. Maureen Coyle - head impaled. 
  9. Patsy Boyle - stabbed to death with a kitchen knife.
  10. Duane Duke - hit over the head and left to drown in the swamp. 
  11. Red - stabbed to death with a kitchen knife.



  • Norman Bates was based on the American murderer and body snatcher Ed Gein
  • Psycho IV and The Godfather Part III came out in 1990. They were also the final films in their respective sagas.
  • Norman Bates' incestuous relationship with his mother is an exaggerated interpretation of the human Oedipus Complex. The psychiatrist Sigmund Freud coined the term to describe the theoretical psychosexual desires of a child, whom during his development desires his mother's love. Freud theorized that this could manifest in both male and female infants, with the female iteration being the Electra Complex.
  • Interestingly, the film Scream 3 would explore a similar concept depicted the original novel's sequel decades later, with a spree of killings occurring on a film set intended to emulate the environment of the original film's murders. The Scream series itself was, in part, inspired by Psycho, with references made to the films in dialogue.
  • Norman's pattern of killing those who arouse him is plausible in the psychological development of sociopaths. Real life murderers such as Andrei Chikatilo were known to enact extreme forms of violence in order to achieve full sexual gratification.
  • The character of Norman Bates and the Psycho mythos has been said to have inspired dozens of other horror films and is considered as the benchmark for slasher movies. The character name of Sam Loomis in Halloween was taken directly from Psycho, with the character of Billy Loomis in Scream being inspired by both characters of the same name, and even quotes Bates in the final act of the film.
  • When Norman kills Duane Duke in Psycho III, this is the only time that he is not seen acting up as "Mother."
  • Anthony Perkins was diagnosed with HIV during the filming of Psycho IV. That aside, the director of the film described Perkins as one of the most difficult actors he has ever worked with.
  • It was rumored that the middle initial of Norman Bates is "F.", because of the coincidence that the license plate on the rear of Marion Crane's vehicle is titled "NFB 418".
  • Norman's usage of the alias "Ed" in the last Psycho film may be a nod to Ed Gein, whom Norman is based on.
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