Excellent horror. I just wish I could have kept the movie out of my head while reading it.
A quick read and much better than the movie. I absolutely loved this book.
Norman Bates. What does this name evoke for you? Perhaps a shower scene, blood, or a motel? Maybe Mother?
Norman lives in the house on the hill above his motel off the old highway. Travelers take the new highway that is a far distance away from the motel, so Norman rarely gets a guest to stop by and stay.
Except for Mary. Mary's escaping from her job, the boredom of her life, and with forty thousand in cash that she stole from her sexist boss. She's taking this money to see Sam, her fiance, and she's trading in one used car after another to throw the police and others off her tracks. It's not like her to do something like this -- after all, she's given up her own future to make sure that her sister, Lila, gets to go to college, and succeeds with more opportunities than Mary ever had.
Less than twenty miles from her fiance's town, Mary decides she'll stop to rest at a small motel. She'll get much needed sleep and freshen up. Tomorrow, she'll surprise her fiance with a made-up inheritance story and help to get him out of debt so they can marry. Unfortunately, she's picked Norman's motel to stay the night.
You may know the rest. There is the famous shower scene and screams of the beautiful young woman as she is literally hacked to pieces. The story then continues with Lila visiting Sam to see if he's heard from Mary as it's been over a week since her disappearance, and together they try to track her down.
It's a short story at around 175 pages, and in this short telling, it is without a doubt, utterly terrifying. Particularly when the story is told from Norman's perspective. He's quite an innocent, and his blackouts are written so genuinely that you truly do believe that Mother is really the problem. But the problem is that people think Mother's been dead for twenty years. An astute study in the question of when -- when does a person like this become who they are? Who shapes them to be this way? In several ways, it's a dated book, but overall, it feels strangely fitting even reading it today. Robert Bloch's tale of terror is frightening in its simplicity, and incredibly disturbing in several sections. Had I read this story (inspired by the true life of Ed Gein) during the creepy month of October, I daresay I would have slept much.
No wonder Hitchcock brought this story to a visual medium.
This, of course, is the basis for the Hitchcock masterpiece, Psycho. I have been wanting to read this for years and recently came across a copy. The book is very similar to the movie with a few exceptions. In the book, Norman Bates is described as a middle-age fat man -- very unlike Anthony Perkins in the movie. Also, the book takes place in Texas and Oklahoma unlike the movie version set in Arizona and California. Otherwise, Hitchcock based the plot pretty much on the book. The book does go deeper into Norman's psychosis and includes a description of how Norman killed his mother and her fiance -- soon to be married. Overall, I would recommend the book; however, since I have seen the movie countless times, there were no big surprises. This was written in 1959, the year before the movie was made. So if you are from another planet and had not seen the movie, the book would probably come off as a real shocker!
This classic tale with a creative ending is more exciting than any movie remake!
Definitely the best of Bloch's three Psycho novels, this one isn't exactly like the movie we are all so used to, but it is very good in its own right.
If you love horror books, this book is definately for you. A thriller no doubt that you just won't be able to put down!
"Icily terrifying!" --The New York Times
"Psycho all came from Robert Bloch's book." --Alfred Hitchcock
"A terribly chilling tale." --Bestsellers
"Robert Bloch is one of the all-time masters." --Peter Straub