One of the most memorably horrifying scenes in the history of cinema will be seriously neutered in the climactic episode of the of the fifth and final season of the TV series “Bates Motel,” which was envisioned as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 thriller “Psycho.”
According to the Daily Mail, the scene in which Marion Crane (played for some reason in the remake by singer Rihanna) is stabbed to death while showering will not show the killer, Norman Bates, clad in one of his mother’s dresses. Instead, Bates (played by British actor Freddie Highmore) will be wearing men’s clothing.
The reason? Fear of hurting the feelings of transgenders.
But isn’t Bates dressing as his mother central to his delusions? Not according to series writer Kerry Ehrin, who explained the makers’ sensitivity about cross-dressing:
In none of our minds is that what the story is about.
It’s about a kid who very specifically thinks he is his mother, as opposed to anything else.
It really became about protecting that and not letting it slip or slide into anything transphobic.
But that appears to have been precisely what Robert Bloch, author of the novel on which the movie is based, had in mind. Bloch modeled the Bates character on Ed Gein, a real-life psychotic murderer whose passions also ran to digging up corpses from local cemeteries and fashioning trophies from their bones and skin. Like Bates, Gein led a dual life.
In Hitchcock’s vision of “Psycho,” Bates continues to be dominated by his mother even after her death, keeping her remains in the basement of the house they shared. By the end of the film’s screenplay by Joseph Stefano, Bates has become one with his late mother, wearing not only her clothes but her psyche.
Attempting to cast the character as something else is a miscarriage. It is political correctness gone seriously wrong.