Monday, July 15, 2013

365. Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom
Directed by Michael Powell

I am a huge fan of horror films and they would probably rank #1 in my favorite genre list.  This film is particularly important because it was the first horror film to show murders through the killer's perspective.  This will be important fact to remember, because it is a question Ghostface asks in one of the Scream movies.

A creepy guy longs to capture fear on camera.  Using creepy guy logic, he decides the best way to do this is to kill women and film their dying screams on camera.

This was a weird film.  I forced my friends to watch it with me and they completely hated it.  I have now convinced my friends to watch so many weird films from the list that I am now forbidden to pick movies.

I, however, had a different reaction.  While I can't see watching this film again, I certainly appreciate its value.  It was deeply unsettling to see the watch the murders from the killer's perspective.  And although the concept may have lost its freshness by now, there is no denying what this film did for the horror genre.

Additionally, the acting was great; Karlheinz Bohm was creepy as hell and Moira Shearer is always a treat.  An essential watch for any horror fan.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Destroyed the career of Michael Powell because of the scandal the movie aroused.

One of Premiere's 25 Most Dangerous Movies.

Opening scene:


  1. I think you need to re-educate your friends, this is a great pick for a horror evening. He is completely mental, but also a guy you want to root for. That is quite an achivement.

    1. Thank you! Finally, my genius is recognized

    2. Is "root for" quite the right phrase? Maybe empathise, identify with or even have some sympathy for? I say this because the subject has been on my mind a bit recently after watching The Sopranos. Many people, including the rest of the cast, talk about how you "root for" Tony Soprano even though he does all these awful things, because he's a great character. I'm not so sure.

      When David Chase (who created and ran the whole show) was asked about it in an interview he just snorted and rolled his eyes as if to say "F***ing idiots". He definitely didn't intend anyone to be rooting for Tony. Mind you, I get the feeling that David Chase snorts and rolls his eyes derisively when people say good morning to him.

      But, yeah, the peeping tom of this movie is a three-dimensional character we're interested in rather than a pantomime villain to boo until he's taken off to the gallows.

  2. Some parts reminded me of the later novel, The Wasp Factory (1984). I'll be curious to read your opinion when you get to this on the 1001 books list.

    1. I've read The Wasp Factory already, and I can tell you my reaction: ick. So disturbing. Very effectively disturbing, so hats off to the author, but wow. In my opinion, more chilling than this.

  3. You wouldn't believe the filth that the internet tried to present me with a couple of list entries ago when I tried to search for a video with the word "housemaid" in the title. Specifying that it was Korean didn't help. And it was even worse searching for this. I see we have something called The Ladies Man coming up. God knows what my ISP thinks of me.

    Good film though. A shame that it caused problems for Michael Powell's career as it's very intelligent, hardly a video nasty.