The events of 1987’s Bates Motel take place 27 years after schizophrenic serial killer Norman Bates is arrested and found guilty by reason of insanity for his crimes. While in the institution, Norman is introduced to a troubled young boy named Alex West (Bud Cort), who murdered his abusive stepfather in a giant tumble dryer and ends up staying in the same institution. Norman takes the lad under his wing until his death 27 years later, coincidentally the same year that Alex is finally allowed out of the institution. According to Norman’s will (how he is deemed of ‘sound mind’ to do so is subject to debate), Alex inherits the Bates Motel and his family home that overlooks it. Alex soon takes over the motel and aims to renovate it back to its former glory. However, he finds the Bates house already illegally inhabited by a spunky runaway girl named Willie (Lori Petty), who worms her way into staying and helping Alex realize his dream of making a go of the motel business. However, not everyone wants the business to succeed, as Alex begins to see the ghost of Mrs. Bates around the place, and calamities begin to happen that threaten the establishment’s livelihood before it can even begin. In what is obviously the first taste of what the “Bates Motel” series would be like, the final third of the film takes a detour as we’re introduced to Alex’s first guest to stay in the motel, an aerobics instructor named Barbara Peters (Kerrie Keane), who claims to be wanting peace and quiet to get some writing done, but in actuality, she aims to slash her wrists in the tub ). At this point, she is visited by a young woman (Khrystyne Haje) who stops her and takes her to a 1950s-themed party happening at the motel (I think), where she is pursued by Tony (Jason Bateman), a young cruiser there, and the two have strong feelings for one another, despite her protestations about their age difference. But there is much more to the events that transpire that night than meets the eye. Richard Rothstein directs this made-for-TV pilot to a series based on Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho that never followed.
A San Francisco-based architect named Miles Harding buys a new computer to help him stay organized and on schedule, as well as to assist in the design of a brick that will hold a building together through an earthquake. Realizing that it has the potential to streamline everything in his life, Miles uses it to control everything in his apartment, providing a security system, making his coffee, and turning on and off his lights. Miles wants to give it more power, tapping it into a major information source to download as much as it can take. Unfortunately, when the computer overheats, Miles pours champagne into the computer’s circuits, causing it to malfunction in a strange way. It begins to think on its own, without directive – a self-aware being that shows an interest in music, humanity, and what it is like to feel love.
Miles’s new upstairs neighbor is a beautiful concert cellist named Madeline Robistat. One day while practicing a concert piece on the cello, Madeline hears music from downstairs accompanying her. Madeline assumes this musician must be Miles, making her want to get to know him better. Miles also develops a crush on Madeline, but he’s so romantically inexperienced, he turns to his sentient computer to help out. However, the computer learns about love and then also begins to fall for her. This kicks off a battle of wills, as the device meant to organize Miles’s life is set to destroy it for getting in the way of its desire to achieve love.
Starring Lenny von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen. Directed by Steve Barron.