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Face-Off (TV Horror): Norman Bates Vs. Hannibal Lecter

03.03.2014by: Mike Catalano
It seemed that with our last love-story-themed Face-Off, many were fans of Michael and Star from The Lost Boys, yet no one really disputed the fact that Caleb and Mae from Near Dark were crowned the winners. Anyways, love bites, so let's move on.

For today's Face-Off, we're shedding some light on the return of two great horror-themed shows to TV. I'm sure that many never would have thought that two television shows focusing on two budding psychos from film would work. Well, lucky for us that BATES MOTEL and HANNIBAL are handled with such craftily crazy wit! And now, it is time for those two psychos to Face-Off! So, check into your room and open up a bottle of chianti because here comes Norman Bates Vs. Hannibal Lecter!

Normal Status
Freddie Highmore's Norman Bates is a soft-spoken high schooler. All anyone knows about him is that he has high test scores, though his grades aren't that great. He cares very much for his mother, such a nice boy, and works at the motel she owns. He is very kind and courteous to nearly everyone he comes into contact with during the day. It's an ideal cover for a crazy.
Mads Mikkelson's Hannibal Lecter is a brilliant, youngish psychiatrist. He is a permanent fixture in high society and is a culinary genius. He is also trusted and admired by the FBI. Not a bad stat sheet for a secretive psycho. Of course, this flirtation with the authorities could eventually lead him down the path to getting caught.
Signs of Crazy
Even the quiet ones let off great bursts of steam once in a while. Whether it's Bradley (a girl) having sex with him and then pretending that he doesn't exist anymore, or a Dylan, his half brother, antagonizing the relationship he has with mother, Norman expresses some intense bursts of repressed rage. Passing out because of a panic attack in school certainly doesn't help his prognosis. Lastly, it is Norman's odd interaction with his teach, Miss Watson's, advances that seem to truly be opening up the door to crazy.
Well, um, let's see. Hannibal kills and eats people. Any questions?
Evil Deeds
Norman is forced to cover up his mother's defensive murder of Keith Summers, the former owner of their motel, by helping her hide and then eventually dump the body in a lake. He also trespasses on the grounds of any person he is curious about for one reason or another. And, although it isn't officially confirmed, we are led to believe that he had a hand in Miss Watson's murder.
Hannibal has killed a vast number of people for personal/culinary reasons. We actually see him off his patient, Franklyn Froideveaux, as well as their mutual acquaintance, Tobias Budge. He also lies to the FBI and frames Will Graham for murder. When young Abigail Hobbs becomes aware of his true intentions, he is then forced to kill her as well. Oh, yes, this man is very eeeevil.
Slightly Psycho Counterpart
Norma Bates loves both her sons. She just obviously cares a bit more for one. Overbearing would be a pretty accurate term for describing how she deals with Norman as he progresses into a man. Although her intentions may seem heartfelt, she has no idea what path this will eventually lead Norman down. Whatever Norman does, she has an opinion on it one way or another, and the answer always equates to mother being right.
Will Graham may be a genius detective, but he's also pretty f*cked up in the head. He literally solves murders by placing himself in the shoes of the killer and actually re-performing whatever ghastly act was committed. Of course, Hannibal is mesmerized by this new "friend" and can't help testing how far their relationship can go.
Iconic Status
Even way back when I first saw Freddie Highmore in Tim Burton's Willy Wonka, I knew the kid had major talent. And it was going to take talent to pull off a young version of Norman Bates. Thankfully, Highmore tackles the role with an exceptional form of vulnerable maturity the likes of which I have rarely seen. His portrayal is an ideal complement to Anthony Perkin's work in the original classic, Psycho.
How could anyone even come close to matching the kind of refined intensity that Anthony Hopkins already brought to the character of Hannibal three times on film? Simply put, the answer to this question is... Mads Mikkelson! His voice, his expressions, his motions in the f*cking kitchen! It's all classic! It's so perfect! I've never been more pleasantly shocked. He's a big reason why I say this show is as good as Silence of the Lambs.
Hannibal Lecter
Well, that race was crazy close! Hannibal just squeaked this one out, but it could have been anybody's game. Honestly, I loved writing through this one because I really love both shows and I'm pumped that they're both back. I've gotta know your thoughts on the winner as well as both shows, so spit them bullets below. And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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