Read This!: Psycho

By Robert Bloch

You know the story of Norman Bates and his darling mother, of the woman who came to the Bates Motel one cold, rainy night to take her last shower.

Have you read the book, though?  Because you should.

Before Hitchcock immortalized it or Van Sant crapped all over it, Psycho was a book by Robert Bloch.  Bloch writes a very different Norman Bates than the one we know from the silver screen.  This Bates is a pudgy glasses-wearer who will actually stand up to his mother now and then and often gives glimpses of the violent madness hidden beneath. Anthony Perkins played a terrific, sinister Norman, but it’s different than the pathetic, psychopathic loser we find here.

Another welcome change from the film is that more than half the book takes place from Norman’s point of view.  Clues are dropped about Mother, but only enough to get you guessing.  Boch handles these chapters with a deft, chilling touch that will stay with you for a long time.

Recommendation: Very Strong.