in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 10

Peeping Tom (1960)

Dir: Michael Powell
Cast: Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley

1960 belonged to Psycho and why not? It changed the shape of cinema and broke barriers, but it wasn’t the only controversial slasher of 1960. U.K. director Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom like Psycho was a film ahead of it’s time, but it unfortunately has never received the same kind of recognition. Both films were considered controversial for their depictions of violence but one heaped praise while the other heaped backlash. Peeping Tom was lambasted for it’s voyeuristic themes, violence, even the title “Peeping Tom” it sound dirty. Though what these early critics failed to see is that there is a strong emotional core under all the violence and this is a great film.

Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) is a shy, soft spoken, aspiring filmmaker. Working as a part-time adult photographer/landlord Mark seems like your typical loner, but he has a dark secret. Mark likes to murder women and film them while he does so. It’s so very twisted and yet we as an audience still sympathize with Mark. He’s a misunderstood man with a view of the world warped by his abusive father. You wouldn’t think it’d be the kind of character you could get behind, but he’s amazingly complex and German actor Carl Boehm is fantastic.

Apart from a marvelously executed premise, the film is quite cleverly photographed. For one Mark’s kills always take place from the POV of his camera and there’s other details sprinkled around that will catch the corner of your eye. Of course when it comes to mild mannered maniac films from 1960 it’s still no Psycho but it’s kind of an intriguing overseas. counterpart. On a side note one of it’s biggest fans just happens to be Martin Scorsese who is basically responsible for the film getting wider distribution and a re-release in the late 70s, which would help the film find a cult following.


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