Movie Eighty Three
Peeping Tom is a deeper movie than the title may lead you to believe. It is a film that seems perverse and weird with maybe a tinge of slasher film added, but it is deeper and smarter than that.
Released in 1960, Peeping Tom shook up critics and audiences at the time and the material is still fresh. If it were made today, the sex and violence would likely be ramped up and the analog film would be replaced with digital cameras, but otherwise not much would need to be changed. As it stands, Peeping Tom does not need more sex or violence to be a thrilling movie.
The story centers around Mark (Carl Boehm) who is a serial killer. He films the expressions of women as he kills them and then watches the footage later. The title of the film is based on the slang term for voyeurs, which is exactly what Mark seems to be, but his obsession runs much deeper, as we learn. Mark befriends a young woman (Anna Massey) that lives in his building and develops feelings for her as she begins to learn the truth about him.
When we learn the reason for Mark’s obsession, it is within the realm of possibility. I never suspended my disbelief that something like this could really happen, even if it is a bit far-fetched. The performances in Peeping Tom are fantastic and the music and cinematography shift to take us along for the ride.
Criterion collectors take note, Peeping Tom has been out of print for some time but is now available on Netflix Instant Watch. Some parts of it are dated, notably some of the dialogue, but the film itself is quite well done.
I give it 4 viewings through the film reel out of 5.