As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.
Mark Lewis, works as a focus puller in a British film studio. On his off hours, he supplies a local porno shop with cheesecake photos and also dabbles in filmmaking. A lonely, unfriendly, sexually repressed fellow, Mark is obsessed with the effects of fear and how they are registered on the face and behavior of the frightened. This obsession dates from the time when, as a child, he served as the subject of some cold-blooded experiments in the psychology of terror conducted by his own scientist father. As a grown man, Mark becomes a compulsive murderer who kills women and records their contorted features and dying gasps on film. His ongoing project is a documentary on fear. With 16mm camera in hand, he accompanies a prostitute to her room and stabs her with a blade concealed in his tripod, all the while photographing her contorted face in the throes of terror and death. Alone in his room, he surrounds himself with the sights and sounds of terror: taped screams, black-and-white "home ... Written by
I've watched Michael Powell['s PEEPING TOM a couple of times on TV but I've yet to give my Criterion DVD a spin. Certainly one of the most original, challenging and bleakest films ever made and to have come from a British film-maker, albeit an iconoclastic one, makes the achievement all the more remarkable. While I do think that comparisons to its contemporary PSYCHO (1960) are a bit tenuous, it has to be said that both films can be thought of as belonging to the horror genre in fact, PEEPING TOM was the third British "slasher" movie in a row, following HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959) and CIRCUS OF HORRORS (1960) - but can also lay claim to being a very dark sort of black comedy. Besides, both films feature dysfunctional, immature, adult male protagonists haunted by a terrible upbringing which vents itself in a series of murders. Furthermore, while both films have been harshly reviled by critics when first released, in time, they have had their reputations make a complete about face and nowadays are numbered among their respective directors' unassailable masterpieces!
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