PEEPING TOM (1960), starring Carl Boehm and directed by Michael Powell, is right up there with PSYCHO (also 1960) in regards to being creepy, psychologically disturbing, and well-done— if not more so with all of those descriptors. Probably due to the film’s very harsh reception when first released, it’s not so generally well known as Hitchcock’s contemporary masterpiece. There is a scene I found especially memorable in which a blind, middle aged woman (Maxine Audley) confronts the main character (Boehm), a misogynistic voyeur and sociopath, while he watches silent footage of a murder he recently committed and filmed.
This is not a movie for everyone, including the particularly squeamish, though it’s artfully crafted and stylized, well acted, and intriguingly written. For those, like me, who especially enjoy the medium of film, this great cinema project plays with camera work, darkness, light, and both still and motion photography in clever and thought-provoking ways. All of these elements within PEEPING TOM serve as a powerful expression of the seemingly razor thin, often titillating dance between vibrant, fragile life and the finality of death. Profound impacts of child abuse and dark implications of voyeurism, such as objectification of women and how we, the film viewers, are also voyeurs, are all intuitively explored.