Peeping Tom (1960)

Rating : 

A British thriller horror. A film that was never loved in its time but has since not only become known as a classic but is seen as the masterpiece it really is.

It explores themes that you don’t tend to see so well thought out in the horror genre. It really delves more into the thriller side of the genre, it explores the psychological aspects of the characters much more then anything else I’ve seen.

A very interesting film.

The film centers around Mark Lewis, a camera man working on set of a movie. He lives in his family house, but because he can’t afford to live in it he rents the rooms out to other people. His father basically messed his head up as a kid.

He kills people whilst filming them for his documentary.

The character of Lewis is as interesting as he is simple. His mode of killing people is simplistic. Interesting in its design and its use but its simple. Being a man with a camera people are more inclined not to worry too much about him, the camera isn’t a threat until they see that he’s got a sharp weapon with him too. That fear when they realize is really what Lewis was trying to capture and he was trying to capture it because that is what his father did. Filming him waking up to find a lizard on his bed, filming him watching two people kissing. It’s all about watching the emotional reaction.

That isn’t the only motivation though, there is a romance in the film too. A strange one at that. He falls in love with one of his tenants, a lady called Helen. She’s only just turned 21 and after seeing him look through the window of her room on her birthday party strikes up a relationship of kinds with him.

At the end even with everything that she knows has happened she sticks with him though. Its like she understands completely that something terrible happened to him and that he just needs help. After he kills himself she stays with his body as the police close in.

It is a important relationship within the movie (even if her mother is quite the creep herself) because it shows the damage. The very real damage that his father caused him. There is a real person inside there, kind of away from the camera. She finds that in him, the mother senses the “badness” but kind of also senses the goodness at the same time.

His strange relationships with these two characters add a ton of weight to it.

I can see why the rest of the guys on the forum don’t like the film much, I also see why it might not have been liked at the time. The film is very clever but at the same time it is pretty talkie. It doesn’t have a sustained threat because you are always with the threat and you learn he is a damaged character. It has very heavy drama influences that kind of drown out the horror aspect of the film.

Saying that it is that dynamic that makes it a masterpiece. It is a film with something to say, something really important and something rather worrisome. That makes it a lot better then some films that either find it too boring to talk about the main threat of the movie or else go for over the top reasons for why they are the way they are.

I enjoy this movie so much because you have to really pay attention and listen to understand where the characters are coming from and what their motivations are. The most important part of the movie is learning about the character and putting his crimes and his mental state into account.

A film that deserves its cult following and a must watch for everyone.

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