A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
How well we remember Norman Bates. Tens of thousands of movie characters have come and gone since 1960, when he made his first appearance in "Psycho" (1960), and yet he still remains so vivid in the memory, such a sharp image among all the others that have gone out of focus.
Most movies are disposable. "Psycho" supplied us with the furnishings for nightmares. "Dear Mr. Hitchcock," a mother wrote the master, "after seeing your movie my daughter is afraid to take a shower. What should I do?" Send her to the dry cleaners, Hitch advised her.
In "Psycho III," there is one startling shot that completely understands Norman Bates. Up in the old gothic horror house on the hill, he has found a note from his mother, asking him to meet her in Cabin Number 12. We know that although his mother may have frequent conversations with him, she is in no condition to write him a note.
Norman knows that, too. He stuffed her himself. As he walks down the steps and along the front of the Bates Motel toward his rendezvous, the camera tracks along with him, one unbroken shot, and his face is a twitching mask of fear.