Bates Motel

Bates Motel

Bates Motel still remains a surprising success. Not only in terms of ratings, but its quality. A prequel to Psycho showing a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) sounded like a joke a few years ago, the kind of idea doomed to fail. But the first season turned out to be a highly enjoyable show. Vera Farmiga does consistently great work, Highmore is good fun, and, every once in a while, there’s some genuinely good drama, thanks to Norma Bates, who’s the heart and soul of the show. Unfortunately, there was s a slight drop in quality with season two. Bates Motel is at its best when it’s just Norma and Norman getting through problems or the never-ending trope of the nerdy kid going after “the cool girl” when the right one is there all along: Emma (Olivia Cooke). Once Norman starts watching High School movies, hopefully he’ll smarten up. Where the show began to falter was the all-too-heavy focus on the town’s drug war.

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discs day of the dead

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Day of the Dead The zombie apocalypse continues to ravage the Earth, and one of the last pockets of survivors makes their home in an abandoned missile silo. The group is divided unevenly between civilians and soldiers, but as the days pass and the undead keep coming, the tension among the living rises to dangerous levels. George Romero‘s Dead films currently number six, and while his most recent three are mostly forgettable, the original trilogy remains a classic both collectively and individually. And this is where I admit that I find Day to be the best of the bunch. Tom Savini‘s effects are the most gorily effective of the series, and while it lacks the previous films’ allegory and metaphor, it manages a self-contained story complete with good guys, bad guys, and entertaining set pieces. And hell, even John Harrison‘s score is fantastic. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray gives the film the treatment it deserves complete with original artwork, a new HD transfer, and a load of extras including a documentary almost as long as the movie itself. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Documentary, commentaries, featurettes, galleries, trailer]

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Bates Motel

Who in their right mind would want to see a prequel to Psycho? Sequels and remakes have been attempted, but have failed miserably recapturing the original’s magic. If Gus Van Sant can’t come out looking good when playing Alfred Hitchcock, then why even bother? A producer and writer from the show, Lost honcho Carlton Cuse, attended this year’s Southwest by Southwest to both tell us and show us why, premiering the show’s pilot to a few hundred people. It’s fair to say he answered the question of “who cares?” swiftly, mainly because of the prowess of Vera Farmiga, helping to bring real drama to the show’s key relationship. The pilot has a good deal of set up, but it still allows for smaller, more nuanced moments to tells us everything we need to know about Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother’s dynamic.

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Bates Motel TV 2013

In 2013, A&E will debut Bates Motel, a prequel inspired by Psycho that tells the story of Norma (Vera Farmiga) and Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore). It comes from Lost executive producer Carlton Cuse and looks to have a bit of Twin Peaks inside of it. The production has released a teaser that also features some of the cast and crew speaking to their vision. It’s all a bit too obvious on the marketing side, but it’s not hard to imagine this being a freaky, scary exploration of a life that led to a delusional killer. And why does this look like a movie, while everything from Hitchcock looked like it was made for TV?

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If you pay attention to these things, you’d know that June 16th was the 51st anniversary of the release of Psycho – a movie that changed one man’s legacy, the fate of a genre, and the creation of a new subgenre. So why didn’t I post the trailer then? Probably the same reason I didn’t post anything at all yesterday: we all go a little crazy sometime. In this phenomenal, long-form teaser trailer, Alfred Hitchcock takes us on a tour around the Bates Motel as well as the house on the hill where he explains that a few horrific events have taken place. It’s a promise that we’ll get to see those events when the movie hits theaters. Yet, no one will be allowed in after the movie starts. (Another thing this movie changed forever.) If you dig this trailer (you will) and the movie (you do), you’ll enjoy this coming Wednesday’s episode of Reject Radio where I’ll be discussing Psycho‘s production and legacy with expert Stephen Rebello. Tune in and find out what Janet Leigh did to John Gavin on the bedroom set. For now, just enjoy Hitch’s soothing voice:

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