Thursday, February 12, 2009

Peeping Tom(1960)

I had heard a lot about this movie before I actually saw it. It was controversial at the time because there hadn't been anything like it before. It deals with a voyeur who likes to film his victims as he kills them. It is directed by Michael Powell and the response it got finished his career as a film director. You have to remember that this was a film that people couldn't come away from feeling happy and lighthearted. There is no happy ending in this one. The critics ripped it to shreds and it wasn't recognised as a true classic until years later. Now it is a cult classic.

The movie begins with Mark Lewis(Carl Boehm) who is wandering around with his camera hidden in his coat. He meets a prostitute and we can see what happens from the point of view of the camera. We see her take him back to her place and we see him murder her and watch it later when he is alone. Whether he gets a sexual thrill from this is left to your imagination. Mark works as part of a film crew and he has dreams of becoming a film-maker. He takes nude pictures of women on the side. He is living in his dad's house and he is the landlord but pretends not to be. He is a loner and he doesn't know how to forge relationships with women. He watches everything around him and he becomes fascinated with a young girl who lives with her blind mother in the house. The girl, Helen(Anna Massey) is everything that Mark isn't. She is sweet, vivacious and she is outgoing.

They become good friends and Mark lets her into his life. He tells her that his dad was a psychologist and that he used him in his experiments to study fear and the nervous system. Helen feels badly for Mark as he tells her that his father watched his every move and it explains why Mark needs to film everything. He is one messed up young man! He asks a young lady called Vivian(Moira Shearer) who is a stand-in at work to help him make a movie. Of course, what Vivian doesn't know is that she is going to star in his death movie! She is murdered and stuffed into a trunk. The cops are beginning to notice that this murder links to Mark's previous one and they get suspicious of Mark when they see his camera and the way he acts.

A psychiatrist turns up on the set and he is consoling a member of the cast when he spots Mark and he tells him that he knew his dad and Mark is unnerved by this. The psychiatrist tells the cops about Mark and their conversation. Mark goes about his business not realising that the cops are tailing him. He goes to take some pictures of model Milly(Pamela Green) but ends up killing her. This isn't a good idea but Mark doesn't realise the cops are on to him and he returns home. Meanwhile, Helen has found some of his movies and she is horrified when she sees what he has done. He tells her that he wants to see the fear on their faces as they face their certain death.

Mark knows that he is coming to the end of the line and that the police are coming for him.He has a plan that will let him escape from everything that will face him if he is caught by the police. He has attached a knife to the tripod of his camera and he impales himself and dies the same way that his victims did. The last thing he sees is his own death. His horrible documentary is finally finished. This film is a really well-made and complex movie. There are many layers to Mark and it is not just about the murders. It is about a young man who has been corrupted by his father and maybe he had no chance to be a normal person. Maybe his conscience was lost along with his childhood. I really like this movie and it is underrated like many movies are when people haven't heard of them.If you get a chance to see this movie, do. You won't be disappointed. I will give it a 9/10.


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