Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hitchcock Meets Lynch

I won't lie: the prospect of The Bates Motel has me incredibly curious. The marketing, however, is making me several kinds of confused. Given the show is supposedly a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, I haven't the faintest idea why it's set in modern times. I mean, I get that they've just repurposed the story to a modern setting and that makes sense in theory, but quite a bit of Psycho's power comes from its time period. The repressed homosexual subtext, the role of women in society, and the way Norman Bates (here played by Freddy Highmore) is all but abandoned and unable to reach out... it's hard to picture all of that working when Norman is also walking around with an iPod banging tunes as he acts sullen.

Perhaps most curious of all, however, is that the show's home network appears to be targeting the show as a Twin Peaks type of mystery as opposed to, as I initially suspected it may be, a more old-fashioned and Hitchcockian take on American Horror Story. The newly released teaser posters for the show, which premieres in March, certainly amplify this angle, with a couple quite overtly thrusting David Lynch's groundbreaking 1989 murder mystery into the audience's face.

The second and third designs are basically the imagery of Laura Palmer "dead, wrapped in plastic" on the rocky beach of Twin Peaks split into its two two halves: the girl, and a chilly northwestern coast. The first design, however, is not only the best of the lot, but also blatantly echoes my personal favourite piece of Twin Peaks artwork. Perhaps I'm just seeing things, but to me that Bates Motel design clearly looks to have taken some inspiration from the below VHS cover of the European "telemovie" pilot episode. It not for the hanging flame in the corner, then for the deep blue colour palate and the streetlight motif. Surely I'm not the only one who sees it.

Of course, maybe I just have Twin Peaks on the brain as I've been planning a potential trip to Long Bend, one hour out of Seattle in Washington, to visit Twin Peaks Fest. A convention of sorts with other likeminded Twin Peaks obsessives who spend a weekend eating donuts and pie, drinking coffee, visiting famed Twin Peaks landmarks, and diving into everything David Lynch and Mark Frost. It's going to be wild, I tell you, although that does mean I'm going to have to find the time to fit in rewatching the entire series at some point! We'll see if The Bates Motel can create that level of enthusiasm of if it comes off as little more than pecking at the corpses of two famed properties.

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