41. Peeping Tom (1960)

Without a camera? Not creepy enough!

Directed by: Michael Powell
Written by: Leo Marks (original story and screenplay)
Starring: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey and Moira Shearer

Make out sessions with your camera... don't tell me you've never done this before.

While the critical reception for Michael Powell’s powerfully creepy film Peeping Tom wasn’t all too friendly because of its disturbing subject matter, desensitized audiences of today will be able to appreciate why this film has subsequently been titled a “British Psycho” and a masterpiece in its own right. Doesn’t mean it won’t give you the chills though.

Mark Lewis (Bohm) is a filmmaker – passionate and obsessive about his art. Sounds all well and good apart from the fact that he gets his kicks from killing women and filming the fear on their faces before he does it. But when Helen (Massey), a young girl living in the room below, opens up to the seemingly shy and terribly agitated Mark, his traumatic childhood experiences and his secret filmmaking practices become difficult to hide.

With a story that lends itself to such a strong visual telling, Powell cleverly shapes each and every shot with a fascination for different modes of viewing which allows the audience to take on different perspectives and experience the perverse pleasures of objectifying the female figure under the power of a voyeuristic gaze. Peeping Tom plays with sight in the most cinematically creative and dramatically effective performances as Powell’s eye for detail and optically stimulating direction thrills with characters of deep psychological scars that provoke harrowing ideas of fear and obsession.

Definitely worth a watch.



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