(Drama) ( 1960)
© 2000 by Raymond Weschler
A friendly but somewhat strange young man who runs a secluded motel in
Southern California, and who is, apparently, totally crazy
("Psycho" is a slang word---adjective and noun---for a crazy person).
An attractive young secretary in Phoenix, Arizona, who apparently decides
to steal $40,000 dollars in cash from her boss client in order to quit her
job and be with her secret boyfriend in California.
Marions secret boyfriend, a divorced businessman who runs a
hardware store in the small town of Fairvale, California.
Marions younger sister who begins to look for Marion when she is reported missing.
A private detective hired by Marions boss to help look for her.
Marions boss, who runs an office that sells property.
A wealthy and unpleasant businessman who gives Marion $40,000
in cash to put in the bank after he buys a house with Mr. Lowerys help.
A coworker of Marions (Note that Patricia Hitchcok is the
daughter of Alfred Hitchcock, this films legendary director).
The head police officer in the town of Fairvale,
who agrees to help Sam and Lila find Marion.
A psychiatrist who is employed by the police to help
explain what is in the heads of various criminals.
This film starts out as the story of Marion Crane, a young and attractive secretary in
Phoenix, Arizona, who is having an affair with Sam Loomis, a divorced man who runs a
hardware store in Fairvale, California, a few hours away from Phoenix. One day Marions
boss asks her to put $40,000 in cash into a bank account, and although she is a fine
citizen who has probably never broken the law before, she suddenly finds herself a prisoner
of her own desires. Thus, she appears to steal the money and to leave for California,
in order to be with Sam.
In fact, this film is not really as much about Marion as it is about Norman Bates, the
kind but strange manager of an isolated motel that Marion meets on her way to Fairvale.
Normans motel---The Bates Motel--- rarely gets customers anymore since the main highway
was moved away, but Marion accidentally gets off the highway, and decides to spend one
rainy night there before going to Fairvale the next day. That was a mistake
When Marions boss discovers that Marion is missing, he hires a detective named Arbogast
to search for her, and in the meantime, Marions worried sister Lila also goes looking
for her. Both end up at the hardware store of Sam Loomis, who seems to know nothing about
where Marion could be. Soon, Sam, Lila and Arbogast begin their search for her. In the
process, all three enter the deeply disturbing world of Norman Bates, one of the truly
great psychopaths (crazy people) in the history of American film.
Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know
Marion and Sam dream of a future together,
but soon shes back at her boring old job.
I better get back to the office; These extended lunch hours are giving my boss excess acid.
Marions way of saying her boss is getting so upset hes getting stomach pains.
"Excess acid" is too much of a burning chemical in the stomach.
Why dont you call your boss and tell him youre taking the rest of the afternoon off?
"To take off" from work is to leave during normal job hours.
Well, you could laze around here a while longer.
"To laze around" is to relax and do nothing in particular. A "laze"
is a lazy person, but the more common slang word is slacker.
Checking out time is 3pm.
Today, one says "check out" time (When patrons must leave a hotel).
Ive heard of married couples who deliberately
spend an occasional night in a cheap hotel.
A good alternative word for intentionally, or on purpose.
What do we do instead? Write each other lurid love letters?
A good little adjective meaning shocking, or perhaps disgusting.
In my mothers house, with my sisters picture on the
mantel, and my sister helping me broil a big steak for three.
A "mantel" is the shelf above a fireplace. "To broil" food is to
cook it under a direct flame, such as at the bottom of an oven.
Whenever its possible, I want to see you
under any circumstances, even respectability.
"Circumstances" are the conditions or facts that influence a situation.
If a situation is "respectable," it is appropriate and not embarrassing.
It require patience, temperance, and a lot of sweating out.
"Temperance" is self-control or emotional stability. "To sweat out"
a difficult situation is to endure it, but as a phrasal verb without a
direct object, here meaning here to work hard, it is no longer used.
I sweat to pay off my fathers debts, and hes in his grave.
A "grave" is a piece of land where dead people are buried.
I sweat to pay off my ex-wifes alimony, and shes
living on the other side of the world somewhere.
"Alimony" is the money that a man is ordered to pay monthly
to his ex-wife after they are legally divorced or separated.
A couple years and my debts will be paid off;
If she ever remarries, the alimony stops.
"To pay off" a debt is to finish paying what is owed.
I havent even been married yet. :: But when you do, youll swing.
A very dated way of saying to have a good time. To "swing"
literally means to move and back and forth from a fixed point.
And live with me in a storeroom, behind a hardware store in Fairvale?
A "storeroom" is a room for storing or housing things, and a "hardware store" sells
goods for homes and gardens, such as tools, plumbing and heating equipment, etc.
You want to cut this off, go out and find somebody available?
"To cut off" a relationship is to stop it.
Hes lunching with a man whos buying the
old Harris street property. The old lease man.
"To lunch" is a rarely used verb today. A "lease" is a type of
rental agreement for property (though used here to describe a man).
Headaches are like resolutions----you forget
them as soon as they stop hurting.
A "resolution" is a promise to oneself to do something in the future,
such as to quit smoking ("New Years resolutions" are common).
Teddy was furious when he found out Id taken tranquilizers.
"Furious" means extremely angry. "Tranquilizers"
are pills that are used to relax or calm people.
Your sister called to say shes gone to Tucson.
The second biggest city in Arizona, an hour South of Phoenix.
You girls ought to get your boss to air condition you up.
"Air conditioning" is a system to cool air, but
the phrasal verb above is no longer ever used.
Marion, will you get the copies of that deed ready for Mr. Cassidy?
A "deed" is a legal document that shows ownership of a building or a piece of land.
Come on, Tom, lets go.
The most versatile phrasal verb in English, often taking on the
meaning of the words that surround it. Here, a way to say "hurry up!"
Do you know what I do about unhappiness? I buy it off.
To "buy off" a person is to pay them so that theyll be satisfied, though
hear Cassidy uses it with unhappiness, meaning that money can prevent it.
Are you unhappy? Uh, not inordinately.
An interesting word meaning very, extremely or past normal limits.
Countem. :: I declare!
Note that "count them"----> "countem" in rapid speech. "I declare"
is a very old-fashioned way of expressing surprise or shock.
Tom, a cash transaction of this size is most irregular.
A "cash transaction" is a business deal paid for in cash, as opposed
to with a check. If an action is "irregular," it is unusual or rare.
Put it in the safe deposit box in the bank, and
well get him to give us a check on Monday instead.
A box that is physically inside a secured area of a bank, where customers
often keep their valuable possessions, such as jewelry.
He was flirting with you; I guess he must have noticed my wedding ring.
"To flirt" with someone is to behave in a playful or
lightly romantic way in order to attract their attention.
Do you feel ill?
Another word for physically sick.
What you need is a weekend in Las Vegas---the playground of the world.
A big piece of ground for playing sports or other games at school.
Arent you going to take the pills? Theyll knock that headache out.
"To knock out" a headache is to eliminate it, and to knock out
a person is to hit them so hard they fall unconscious, as in boxing.
I guess Ill go home and put this in the
bank, and then go home and sleep it off.
"To sleep off" a headache is to sleep as long as it takes to make it go away.
Marion finds herself with a lot of money, and thus decides to
leave her old life behind in order to be with Sam in California.
Marion, what in the world are you doing up here?
This curious expression is inserted into questions
in order to show emotion such as surprise or anger.
I almost had an accident from sleepiness
.so I intended to pull over.
"To pull over" a car is to stop on the side of the road.
Am I acting as if theres anything wrong? :: Frankly, yes.
A great little word meaning "to be totally honest," which is used
when you are about to say something that could be offensive.
May I see your licensee?
The usual way a policeman refers to a drivers licensee.
Theres an old saying; The first customer of the day is always the most trouble.
A "saying" is another word for expression or a well known statement.
But Im in no mood for it, so Im going to treat
you so fair and square that you wont have one reason
To treat a person "fair and square" is to treat them
fairly, honestly and with respect, especially in business.
You can do anything you have a mind to. Sick of the sight of it, huh?
To have "a mind to" do something is a strong desire or wish. To be "sick of
the sight" of something is to never want to look at it again.
Have a look around and see if theres something that strikes your eyes.
If something "strikes your eyes," it attracts or interests you.
Ill have my mechanic give yours the once-over.
"The once-over" is a very slangy way of referring to a quick look or
inspection, in this case of a car, to make sure that it has no problems.
Go ahead, spin it around the block.
"To take a spin around the block" is to dive a car around to see how well it drives.
A city "block" is a set of building or land surrounded by streets.
Well, this is the first time the customer ever high-pressured the salesman.
"To high-pressure" a person is to try and convince them to do something,
such as to buy a car. "To pressure" is much more common.
I figure roughly, your car plus $700.
In this context, "to figure" is to estimate or guess,
and "roughly" means approximately, or more or less.
I take it that you can prove that car is yours.
In this case, to "take it" means to believe, assume or accept as true.
I mean an out of state licensee---You got your pink slip?
Note that drivers licenses are issued or granted by the individual states,
and not the federal government. A "pink slip" is the official document that
proves you own a car (though today, its often not pink).
I believe I got the necessary papers.
A reference to official documents such as licenses, pink slips, etc.
I think you better take it for a trial spin---I dont want
any bad word of mouth about California Charlie.
A "trial spin" is a test drive of a car. "Word of mouth" refers to the
passing of information from one person to the next, and is often
considered a critical form of free advertising.
Cant we just settle this?
"To settle" a business deal is to agree on price and other conditions.
Its not that I dont trust you, but
A polite way of telling a person "I dont trust you
She looked like a wrong one to you? :: Acted like one.
A very dated way of referring to a person who looked suspicious.
Buzz me the minute she comes in.
A slangy and still used way of saying phone (as an imperative verb).
No, I havent the faintest idea. As I said, I last saw
your sister when she left this office on Friday.
"To not have the faintest idea" is to have no idea or guess at all.
Oh, for heavens sake, a girl works for you for 10 years, you trust her.
A common expression to show emotion such as frustration or anger.
Well, I aint about to kiss off $40,000.
"To kiss off" something is a slangy way of saying to accept that
it is lost and gone forever ("Aint" is a very ungrammatical way of
conjugating the verb to be----You should avoid using it).
Ill get it back, and if any of its missing, Ill replace it with her fine flesh.
"Flesh" is a medical word for skin. This is Cassidys way of saying
that hell make Marion pay back any money that she has stolen.
Well track her, never you doubt it!
"To track" a person is to follow the markings they have left behind
in order to find them. "To doubt" a person is to not believe them.
You checked with the bank? :: They never laid eyes on her.
To "lay eyes" on a person is a fancy way of saying to see them.
You trust her?! Hot creepers, she sat there while I dumped it out.
"Hot creepers" is a ridiculous and never used way of saying "Oh, my god!,"
in order to show strong emotion. To "dump" something out of a bag or other
container is to let it fall out quickly.
Marion checks into the Bates Motel, gets to know the
curious Norman Bates, and decides to take a shower
Gee, Im sorry. I didnt hear you in all of this rain.
A meaningless filler word, often used at the beginning of sentences.
We have 12 cabins, 12 vacancies.
A "cabin" is usually a tiny wooden house, though here it refers
to rooms in Normans motel. A "vacancy" is an available room.
Oh, I thought I had gotten off the main road.
The primary or principal street or highway in an area.
There is no sense dwelling on our losses; We just
keep lighting the lights and following the formalities.
There is "no sense" in doing something means that there is no reason to do it.
"To dwell" on something means to continually think or talk about it. "Formalities"
are usual actions required by rule or custom, such as changing the bed sheets in a hotel.
Your home address. Oh, just the home town will do.
In this context, a way of saying that will be sufficient or enough.
Theres a big diner about 10 minutes down
the road, just outside of Fairvale. 15 miles.
A "diner" is a small restaurant, usually right by a major road.
A "mile" is a unit of measurement, about 1,600 meters.
Boy, its stuffy in here.
"Boy" is another meaningless word often used at the beginning of sentences.
If a room is "stuffy," the air is heavy and not fresh.
Theres hangers in the closet and stationary with "Bates Motel" printed
on it, in case you wanna make your friends back home feel envious.
"Hangers" refer to clothes hangers, for hanging clothes in closets.
"Stationary" refers to paper (as well as goods such as pencils and pens).
"Envious" means to be jealous of a persons good fortune.
Note that "want to"-----> "wanna" in rapid speech.
If you want anything, just tap on the wall.
"To tap" means to strike or hit gently.
I dont set a fancy table, but the kitchen is awfully homey.
"To set a fancy table" means to set up a dining table with expensive
or elaborate silverware, glasses, etc. "Awfully" is a widely used adverb
meaning very, and "homey" means pleasant, like a nice home.
OK, you get yourself settled.
In this context, to get settled means to wash, put clothes away, relax, etc.
Ill be back as soon as its ready, with my trusty umbrella.
A sweet adjective of affection which means reliable or dependable.
I wont have you bringing strange young girls in for supper!
An old-fashioned word for dinner.
By candle light, I suppose, in the cheap erotic fashion
of young men with cheap erotic minds?
A "candle" is a thin stick of wax with a string at the end which burns for light.
"Erotic" is a dangerous adjective referring to sexual desire.
Oh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things because they disgust me.
A great adjective (and noun) meaning repulsive or very unpleasant.
Go tell her that she wont be appeasing her
ugly appetite with my food or my son.
"To appease" means to try and satisfy, especially by accepting demands.
An "appetite" is a desire for food, or in this case, for sex.
Or do I have to tell her because you dont have the guts?!
"Guts" are literally stomach intestines, though here it means courage.
My mother, uh, what is the phrase? She isnt quite herself today.
A "phrase" is an expression or saying. If a person "isnt themselves,"
they are acting strangely, or differently than they normally do.
You shouldnt have bothered; I really dont have much of an appetite.
"To bother" to do something is to go to the trouble of doing it.
As long as I fixed the supper, you may as well eat it.
A way of saying "should." Note that "might as well" is more common.
Eating in an office is just too officious; I have the parlor back here.
"Officious" is an educated word meaning too eager in offering services.
A "parlor" is a room set aside for business, reading or other functions.
Youre very kind.
A sweet word for nice or gentle.
The expression "eats like a bird" is really, uh, a falsity.
If a person "eats like a bird," they eat very little.
A "falsity " is a rarely used word for a lie or falsehood.
Birds really eat a tremendous lot.
"Tremendous" means great in size or degree.
My hobby is stuffing things---you know, taxidermy.
A "hobby" is something that a person enjoys doing in their free time.
"To stuff" something is to fill it with some material, such as cotton.
"Taxidermy" is the bizarre hobby of stuffing dead animals.
I hate the look of beasts when theyre stuffed.
A "beast" is any animal, especially a big and dangerous one.
You know, foxes and chimps.
A fox is a dog-like wild animal, and a chimp is
an animal that looks fairly close to a monkey.
Birds look good when theyre stuffed because theyre passive to begin with.
If a person (or animal) is "passive," they are usually gentle
and accept what is done to them without fighting back.
Its a strange hobby. Curious.
Odd, strange or bizarre.
Its cheap, really. You know, needles, thread, sawdust.
"Needles" are small metal and pointed instruments for sewing.
"Thread" is a fine string of cloth, used in sewing. "Sawdust"
is dust made from pieces of wood that have been sawed.
The chemicals are the only thing that cost anything.
Any substance or element produced by chemistry,
such as insect poisons or different types of gasoline.
Its more than a hobby. A hobby should pass the time, not fill it.
Normans way of explaining how much he loves stuffing birds.
I run the office, tend the cabins and grounds, and
.do errands for my mother.
"To tend" to something is to take care of it. In this case, "grounds"
refer to the property around a building. "Errands" are things one needs
to do outside the house, such as buying groceries or getting a car fixed.
Do you go out with friends? :: Well, a boys best friend is his mother.
One of the greatest lines in this movie!
Youve never had an empty moment
in your life, have you? :: Only my share.
In this case, an "empty moment" would be a time without great desire,
activity or focus. "Only my share" is Marions way of saying she has as much
unhappiness (or emptiness) as anyone else.
Where are you going?
..I didnt mean to pry.
"To pry" into the affairs of another person is to try and find out things
about their personal lives (To pry open a door is to force it open).
People never run away from anything.
To go away or leave, often as a way to hide.
Were all in our private traps, clamped in
them, and none of us can ever get out.
If a person is "clamped down," they are stuck or physically forced
tightly against something else. However, this is rarely used.
We scratch and claw
.only at the air and each other.
"To scratch" is to try and stop an itch by rubbing or tearing with
your fingers. "To claw" is to scratch, pull or violently seize or take.
And for all of it, we never budge an inch.
"To budge" is to move just slightly. An "inch" is a unit of measure
about the length of a persons thumb or pinky finger.
Sometimes we deliberately step into these traps.
A device used to capture an animal.
I dont mind it anymore.
"It doesnt bother me anymore."
I feel like I d like to go up there and curse her
and leave her forever. Or at least defy her.
"To curse" somebody is to call upon a god or spirit to bring them bad fortune or
misery. "To defy" a person is to refuse to do what they order you to do.
She had to raise me when my father died. I was only
four and it must have been quite a strain for her.
A "strain" is a feeling of tension or great pressure.
He talked her into building this motel; He couldve talked her into anything.
"To talk a person into" doing something is a common
way of saying to convince them to do it.
A son is a poor substitute for a lover.
A "substitute" is an alternative or replacement.
Another one of Normans great observations.
Who would look after her? Shed be alone up there.
In this context, to "look after" a person is to take care of them.
Wouldnt it be better if you put her some place?
:: You mean an institution?! A Madhouse?!
In this context, an "institution" is a insane asylum, or any place where mentally
disturbed people are housed. A "madhouse" is a slang term for such a place.
I didnt mean to sound uncaring.
One way of saying insensitive or unconcerned.
The laughing and the tears and the cruel eyes studying you! My mother, there?!
"Cruel eyes that study" is Normans poetic way of describing
people who stare at others (To stare is to keep looking at).
I meant well. :: People always mean well.
"To mean well" is to wish for the best for someone in your heart.
They cluck their thick tongues and shake
their heads and suggest
.oh so very delicately
"To cluck" is to make the sound a chicken makes. To do something
"delicately" is to do it with great care, concern or sensitivity.
Its not as if she were a maniac, a raving thing
A "maniac" is a completely crazy or insane person, and "to rave" is to
talk loudly, quickly and wildly. A common term is "a raving maniac."
Note the wonderful use of the subjunctive tense ("as if she were
She just gets a little mad sometimes.
Note that "mad" means both angry, and as here, crazy.
I stepped into a private trap back there and Id like
to go back and try to pull myself out of it.
Marions way of saying that she would like to give back
the money before she gets herself in even deeper trouble.
Lila, Sam and Arbosgast get to know each other, and soon Arbogast
finds himself in Norman Bates mysterious and dangerous world.
They tell you its guaranteed to exterminate every insect
in the world, but they do not tell you whether its painless.
"To exterminate" is a powerful verb meaning to kill
an entire group of people or spices of animal or insect.
If you are in this together, its none of my business.
To be "in" on a plan is to be a part of it. This is Lilas way of wondering
if both Sam and Marion had worked together to steal the money.
Lets all talk about Marion, shall we?
In American English, "should" has generally replaced "shall,"
though its still occasionally used in tag questions such as this one.
Who are you, friend? :: My name is Arbogast, friend.
The use of "friend" to address a stranger is something Ive never heard,
but there it is! However, people do still use "buddy" in this way.
You better tell me whats going on and tell me fast. I can take just so much.
Sams way of saying he can only accept so much uncertainty or worry
before he starts to go crazy or get extremely angry.
Now take it easy, friend.
A very common way of saying calm down (as well as goodbye!)
Sam, they dont want to prosecute, they just want the money back.
"To prosecute" is a legal term which means to officially charge or
accuse a person with a crime. In reality, the state is the prosecutor,
but a victims wishes can influence what the state decides to do.
Did you come up here on just a hunch and nothing more?
A "hunch" is an excellent word for a belief that is
based on a feeling or intuition, instead of known facts.
All I want to do is see Marion before she gets into this too deeply.
Note you "get into trouble" very deeply, or just a little.
Did you check Phoenix? Maybe she had an accident or a holdup?
A "holdup" can mean a delay caused by a problem, though today
most people would only use it to refer to a bank robbery.
Were always quickest to doubt people
who have a reputation for being honest.
"To doubt" a person is to not trust or believe them. An interesting
line from a private investigator, who is trained to be suspicious.
Shes not back there with the nuts and bolts, but shes in this town somewhere.
"Nuts and bolts" are the small metal tools that fasten or hold things
together. Hardware stores usually carry huge amounts of them.
The last two days Ive been to so many hotels my eyes are bleary with neon.
"Bleary" is a word used to describe eyes that are red from being tired,
and therefore cannot see clearly. "Neon" refers to the type of bright
colored lights found on the signs of Las Vegas casinos.
This is the first place that looks like it is hiding form the world.
Arbogasts way of saying that the Bates Motel is located
in a place where few people would ever see it.
Today is linen day; I always change the beds
once a week, whether theyre being used or not.
"Linen" refers to bed sheets, table cloths and clothes made from this material.
"To change the beds" is to change the sheets on them.
I hate the smell of dampness. Its such a, uh, I dont know, creepy smell.
If something is "damp," it is wet. "Creepy" is a great adjective meaning
very unpleasant in a scary sort of way (Bats flying at night are creepy,
and of course, so is Norman Bates!)
Ive been trying to trace a girl thats been
missing for about a week now from Phoenix.
"To trace" a person is to try and find them by following their
footsteps or other markings (One way of saying to track).
Do you mind looking at this picture before committing yourself?
"To commit" to an opinion or belief is to decide to stick to it or
keep it. Note that a person can also commit to another in a relationship.
She may have used an alias; Marion Cranes her real name.
An "alias" is a false name that people use to hide their true identity.
I dont even bother with guests registering
anymore; One by one, you drop the formalities.
In the US, it is a law that hotel guests be officially registered,
but here Norman decided it wasnt worth it since there were so few guests.
I shouldnt even bother cleaning the sheets, but old habits die hard.
A good expression meaning that people dont like to change what they
are used to doing. A "habit" is a behavior, such as smoking or chewing
ones fingernails, that a person continues to do over and over again.
Marie, Marion, Samuals. Her boyfriends name is Sam.
Arbogast realized that "Marie Samuals" was an alias for Marion,
since Marions boyfriend is Sam (as in "Samuals"!).
Was she in disguise by any chance?
If a person is "in disguise," they are wearing clothes, makeup or something else that
hides their true identity. "By any chance" is a alternative way of saying a possibility.
Im making a mental picture in my mind.
An image in ones head, often made by remembering a past experience.
To tell you the truth, I do mind. You see, if it
doesnt jell, it isnt aspic, and this aint jelling.
If you do "mind" something, this means it bothers you. "To jell" is to take
shape or become firm or strong, and is used when referring to plans or ideas
in general. "Aspic" is a food inside a jelly dish mold, but this word is
rarely used, and never in this way.
If I wanted to check the cabins, all 12 of them,
I would need a warrant, wouldnt I?
A "warrant" is an official legal order signed by a judge which gives
the police the right to search a persons house or other property.
Oh, that must be my mother. Shes an invalid.
An "invalid" is a very weak or sick person who mostly stays in bed.
Lets just say for the sake of argument she wanted you to gallantly protect her.
To say something "for the sake of argument" is to say it in order to make a point,
even if what is said is actually not true. "Gallantly" is a dramatic adverb meaning
courageously, or perhaps with great spirit.
You wouldnt be made a fool of. :: Im not a fool.
A "fool" is a silly person that can be easily tricked or manipulated.
"To make a fool of oneself" is a very common expression.
This is not a slur on your manhood.
A "slur" is an unfair or hostile remark. "Manhood" is the condition
of being a man, but it strongly implies courage, strength, etc.
Can I talk to your mother? :: No, as I told you, shes confined.
If a person is "confined," they are unable to move.
There might be some hint that you missed out on.
A "hint" is a fact or small piece of evidence that can help to
solve a crime or other mystery. "To miss out on something" is to
miss it, or in this case, to fail to notice it.
Sick old women are usually pretty sharp.
A person who is "sharp" is mentally alert or quite smart.
I wont disturb her.
"To disturb" a person is to bother or trouble them.
You sure would save me a lot of leg work if youd let me talk to her.
"To save" a person a lot of work is to make it so that they dont
have to do it. "Leg work" is the act of going to many different places
in order to finish the job you are working on.
This young fella who runs the place said she just spent the night.
A "fellow" is a guy; "fellow"---->"fella" in rapid speech. "To run"
a business like a hotel is to be the person who is in charge of it.
Im sure I got all there was to get; I just have to pick up the pieces from here.
This is Arbogasts way of saying he thinks he has all the necessary
information, and now he has to try and understand what it all means.
Sam and Lila grow impatient waiting for Arbogast, and turn to
Sheriff Chambers for answers to the mystery of Norman Bates.
Lets sit still and hang on, OK?
In this case, two ways of saying to wait and be patient.
Bust in on Arbogast and the old lady? Maybe shake them up?
"To bust in on" a person is to dramatically surprise them, perhaps by
quickly forcing a door open to get to them. "To shake up" a person is
to scare or startle them.
That wouldnt be a wise thing to do. :: Patience doesnt run in my family.
"Wise" can be an alternative to smart, or in this case, prudent or
reasonable. If a personality trait like patience does not "run in the
family," this means parents and more distant ancestors never had it.
One of us should be here in case hes on the way.
If a person is "on the way," they are in the
process of travelling to their destination.
No Arbogast, no Bates. Only the old lady at the house.
A colloquial way to say that neither Arbogast or Bates is there.
Maybe he doesnt have a definite lead :: Sam, he had
called when he had nothing but a dissatisfied feeling.
A "definite lead" in a crime is an important fact or other evidence that
will help solve it. "Dissatisfied" is unsatisfied, or perhaps unhappy.
Lets go see Al Chambers, our sheriff around here.
A "sheriff" is the head of a police department.
Theres this private detective helping; We got a
call from this detective and he had traced her
A "private detective" is another term for an investigator, who helps
people solve crimes or find people. They can be called a "Private I."
She left Phoenix a week ago without a trace.
A footprint or other marking that shows where a person has been.
Im sorry if I seem anxious.
An important word meaning worried, nervous or troubled.
I think whats wrong is your private detective. I think he got
himself a hot lead as to where your sister was going.
An important fact or piece of evidence.
He called you to keep still while he took off after her and the money.
"To take off after" a person is to go out and try and find them.
He was out there when you were there; He just wasnt
answering the door in the dead of night like some people do.
A poetic way of saying in the middle of the night.
This fellow lives like a hermit.
A "hermit" is a person who lives alone and rarely talks to other people.
Norman Bates mother has been dead and buried
in Greenlawn cemetery for the last 10 years.
A place where dead bodies are buried.
Its the only case of murder and suicide on Fairvale ledgers.
An accounting or other type of book that has official records.
Mrs. Bates poisoned this guy she was involved with when she found out
he was married, and then she took a helping of the same stuff herself.
In this case, to be "involved with" a person is to be romantically involved.
A "helping" of something is a small amount, and "stuff" is material of any kind,
from food to chemicals.
Strychnine. An ugly way to die.
A very powerful type of poison.
I called and pounded, but she just ignored me.
"To pound" on a door is to bang or hit with great force.
Im sorry boy, but you do manage to look ludicrous when you give me orders.
"To manage to do" something is to be able to do it. "Ludicrous" is
a useful adjective meaning completely ridiculous or foolish.
No, I will not hide in the fruit cellar. You think Im fruity, huh?
A "cellar" is the bottom or underground level of a building, in this case
used to house fruit. "Fruity" is a dated slang word for strange or odd.
This is my room and no one will drag me
out of it
least of all, my big, bold son.
"To drag" something is to pull it on the ground. "Least of all" is one
way of saying especially not. "Bold" means brave and adventurous.
Just for a few days!? In that dark, dank fruit cellar!?
"Dank" is a good little word meaning wet and cold.
Wonderful sermon today.
A speech or talk given as part of a service in a church.
Just what he told your detective----She used a fake name.
A "fake" name is a false one that is used to hide a true identity.
You must have seen an illusion, Sam. I know youre not the-seeing-
illusions type, but no woman was there and I dont believe in ghosts.
An "illusion" is something that is seen that in fact does not really exist
(like an oasis in the desert, seen by those dying of thirst). Note the
use of the long adjectival phrase before the word type.
You want to come by my office and report a missing
person and a theft, thats what you want to do.
A "theft" is an act of stealing.
The sooner you drop this in the lap of the law, thats the
sooner you stand a chance of your sister being picked up.
"The lap of the law" is a poetic way of saying the police (A "lap"
is the part of the leg from the knee upward, when a person is sitting).
In this case, to "pick up" a person is to find and catch them.
Sam and Lila arrive at the Bates Motel to see what Norman
knows about Marion, Arbogast and the missing money.
Were going to register as man and wife and were going to get shown a
cabin and then were going to search every inch of the place, inside and out.
An "Inch" is a unit of measurement, about the length of a thumb.
To search a place "inside and out" is to look everywhere possible.
I wonder where Norman Bates does that hermiting.
Though a "hermit" is a well-known word for a person who never
socializes with other people, this verb is never used.
We better sign in.
One way of saying to register.
He wants practically notarized receipts.
A paper that is "notarized" is officially approved as accurate
and truthful by a person called a "notary public."
Ive never seen it happen; Check in any other place in
this country without bags and you have to pay in advance.
A common way of saying suitcases or luggage.
There must be some proof that exists now, that proves
that he got the money away from Marion somehow.
"Proof" is usually physical evidence that shows that something is true.
"To prove" is the related verb, meaning to show the truth of a statement or belief.
If he sees us, were just taking the air.
A never used way of saying to get some fresh air.
That proves Marion was here; It would be too wild a coincidence.
A "coincidence" is a key word referring to two or more events that
happen by chance, but in a way that it appears as if they were planned.
That old woman, whoever she is, told Arbogast something.
An interesting way of showing that you are not at all sure of
something, in this case the identity of the woman in the house.
One of us can keep him occupied while the other gets to the old woman.
One way of saying busy, or more precisely in this case, distracted.
I dont like you going into that house alone. :: I can handle a sick old woman.
In this case, to "handle" a person is to be able to defend yourself
against them, though it often means to take care of them.
If you get anything out of the mother, can you find your way back to town?
Here, to get something "out of" another person is to
convince them to speak or say what they know.
You are alone here, arent you? It would drive me crazy.
If something "drives a person crazy," they become insane.
A very common and useful expression.
Id do just about anything to get away, wouldnt you?
"To get away" is to leave or escape.
Im not saying that you shouldnt be contented
here, Im just doubting that you are.
An interesting but rare way of saying satisfied or happy.
I think if you had a chance to get out from under, youd unload this place.
"To unload" a property is to sell it very cheap just to be able to leave it.
You look frightened; Have I been saying something frightening?
"To frighten" a person is to scare them, and frightening is scary.
Where will you get the money to do that Bates,
or do you already have it socked away?
To "sock away" money is to hide it in a secret place.
A psychiatrist explains the deeply confused and crazy world in
Normans head, and Norman himself shows us hes right
If anyone gets any answers, it will be the psychiatrist.
A psychologist or a person who helps people deal with their
emotional problems, who is also a medical doctor.
Look, if youre trying to lay some psychiatric groundwork for
some sort of plea this fellow would like to cop
In this case, "psychiatric groundwork" is the various psychological theories that
a lawyer can use to try and excuse Normans actions. "To cop a plea" is a legal
expression which refers to the negotiations in which an accused criminal will agree
to plead guilty to lesser crimes in order to avoid being tried for more serious ones.
A psychiatrist doesnt lay the groundwork. He merely tries to explain it.
"To lay the groundwork" is to make preparations for a project, and
in this case to gather the documents and evidence that will be needed.
"Merely" is an important little adverb that means only or just.
If you drag that swamp somewhere in the vicinity of the hotel, youll
A "swamp" is a soft, wet and muddy piece of land, and to "drag" it
is to search for things such as bodies that may be found under the mud
or water. "In the vicinity" means to be near.
Have you any unsolved missing persons cases on
your books? :: Yes, two young girls.
If a crime is "on the books," the police have kept an official record
of it. In this case, of two missing girls who were never found.
He was already dangerously disturbed
had been ever since his father died.
If a person is "disturbed" in a psychological sense, this means
that they are emotionally unstable, or mentally sick.
His mother was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the
two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world.
A "clinging" person is one who sticks very close to another person,
usually because they are emotionally dependent. A "demanding" person
is one who always wants things done for them.
It seemed to Norman that she threw him over for this man.
In this case, "to throw over" one person for another is to transfer
ones love or emotional focus from the first person to the second.
That pushed him over the line
If a person is "pushed over the line," they often have an
emotional breakdown or other type or personal crisis.
Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime
of all, most unbearable to the son who commits it.
"Matricide" is the killing of ones mother. If something is "unbearable,"
it is impossible to accept or deal with. Note that to "commit" a crime is
the most common way of saying to do it.
He had to erase the crime, at least in his own mind.
"To erase" is to remove or rub out (especially chalk on a chalkboard).
He stole her corpse, a weighted coffin was buried, and he hid the body in
the fruit cellar, and even treated it to keep it as well as it would keep.
A "corpse" is the body of a dead person. If something is "weighted,"
it is stuffed with material to make it weigh more. A "coffin" is the
wooden container used to bury corpses, and to "treat" a body is to use
chemicals or other means to prevent it from decaying or falling apart.
And because he was pathologically jealous of her,
he assumed that he was as jealous as him.
"Pathologically" is a powerful adverb which means to the
point of being a disease. To be "jealous" of a person is to
feel possessive toward a person, in an angry or insecure way.
Therefore, if he felt a strong attraction to any other
woman, the mother side of him would go wild.
"To feel an attraction" to someone is to like them, often in a
romantic way. "To go wild" is to become crazy, or out of control.
When he met your sister, he was touched by her, aroused by her.
"To be aroused" is to be sexually excited.
That set off the jealous mother, and mother killed the girl.
"To set off" something is to cause it to happen.
After the murder, like a dutiful son, he covered up all the
traces of the crime he was convinced his mother had committed.
A "dutiful son" is one who will do anything to make his mom happy.
Hes a transvestite. :: Uh, not exactly.
A man who wears womens clothing for sexual pleasure.
When danger or desire threatened that illusion,
he dressed up, even with a cheap wig he bought.
To dress up" is to wear nice clothes, or as here, ones that allow you to pretend
to be someone else. A "wig" is fake hair, usually called a "toupee" for men.
When the mind houses two personalities, theres always a conflict, a battle.
A "conflict" is a disagreement, or "battle," which is itself
a violent and usually short fight within a much bigger war.
These were crimes of passion, not profit.
A "crime of passion" is a crime committed because of extreme
emotional anger or instability, and not just for money.
He feels a little chill; Can I bring him this blanket?.
To get or feel "a chill" is to feel cold. If its "chilly" outside, its cold.
Its sad when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son,
but I couldnt allow them to believe that I would commit murder.
"To condemn" a person is to express strong disapproval or
to officially sentence a person as punishment for a crime.
Theyll put him away now, as I should have years ago.
In this context, to put a person in prison, or perhaps
a home or other institution for the insane.
As if I could do anything but sit and stare like one of his stuffed birds.
"To stare" at something is to look at it continuously for a long time.
Ill just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do suspect me.
"To suspect" a person of having done something wrong or illegal is to
believe that they did it, without having strong evidence that they did.
Im not even gonna swat that fly! Theyll say "She couldnt even harm a fly!"
"To swat" a fly is to hit it quickly, often with an object like a magazine.
Possible Topics for ESL Class Discussion
1. Were you scared? If so, why is this movie so scary? What are the
types of things that people may be scared of that are explored here?
2. If you had been in Marions situation, would you have been
tempted to steal the money? Is it realistic that she did?
3. Do you know any people like Norman Bates, or who could
be similar in terms of his perception of reality?
4. Did you ever feel sorry for Norman? When the car began to sink in the swamp,
did you actually want it to sink?
5. If Norman were charged with murder, and it could be proven that the psychiatrist
was right about what was in Normans head, should he be found not guilty? If this
actually happened, would this make you angry? In your country, is their a way for
criminals to be found "not guilty by reason of insanity?" Should there be?
6. What did you like or not like about this movie?