Sunday, July 25, 2010

April 30, 2009: Things That Scare Me: Case Study #4

In spite of (or, perhaps, because of) my adult infatuation with all things horrifying and horrific, I was scared of absolutely everything when I was a kid. A television commercial for a horror movie was enough to send me racing from the den in a sweaty palm panic. As an ongoing series here on Psychobabble, I'm going to be reviewing some of the things that most traumatized me as a child and evaluating whether or not I was rightfully frightened or just a wiener.

Case Study #4: “Norman Bates” music video

I was about seven years old when my family first got MTV, and I’d rush home from school every day to vegetate in front of videos by the J Geils Band, Eddie Grant, Pete Townshend, the Police, the Tom Tom Club, Adam and the Ants, Devo, Joe Jackson, Madness, Talking Heads, Split Enz, The Vapors, and the rest of the lot. However, there was one video I’d dread to see. It featured a bunch of dead-eyed freaks chanting the words “My name is Norman Bates, I’m just a normal guy” over a disturbingly robotic rhythm. I can’t quite say what so troubled me about this video, but I remained on my guard for several months every time I switched on MTV, ready to bolt as soon as I heard the words “My name is…”

Years later I learned that the song was simply titled “Norman Bates” and performed by a British group called Landscape. With the aid of that endlessly useful resource You Tube, I was able to revisit the video that so freaked me out as a lad.

The Verdict: Wow, this song is terrible. Repetitious, boring, amateurish ‘80s synth pop at its very worst. However, the video is a decently shot homage to Psycho and is actually quite good when compared to much of the crapola that polluted MTV during its earliest stages. But scary? No, no, a thousand times no. Diagnosis: wiener.
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