7.7/10
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Peeping Tom (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 15 May 1962 (USA)
A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

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Writers:

(original story), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mark Lewis (as Carl Boehm)
...
...
...
Brenda Bruce ...
Miles Malleson ...
Elderly Gentleman Customer
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Martin Miller ...
Dr. Rosen
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Don Jarvis
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Chief Insp. Gregg
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Pauline Shields (as Shirley Ann Field)
...
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Storyline

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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Han fotograferede sine smukke ofre i dødsøjeblikket! [Denmark] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Face of Fear  »

Box Office

Budget:

£135,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$77,752 (USA) (7 May 1999)

Gross:

$83,957 (USA) (22 August 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The critical mauling and public outcry about the film resulted in it being pulled from British cinemas after just five days. See more »

Goofs

While the detective is standing on the street corner watching Mark a postman walks up to the house behind him twice. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Mark approaches the prostitute, covertly filming her]
Dora: It'll be two quid
See more »

Connections

Featured in Fantastic Fantasy Fright-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unsuccessful as horror but successful as a tribute to Powell's career
7 October 2003 | by (the rock) – See all my reviews

PEEPING TOM is a thin excuse of a horror movie. If you're watching it as a horror film, PEEPING TOM will look very self-indulgent and needlessly melodramatic. Personally speaking, I didn't buy the story for one second. It looked more like a cleverly constructed homage of the director's career than a real horror film. The film is mostly a pity fest: tortured, misunderstood artist who's totally possessed by his need to express himself through, in this case, a most deadly artform of capturing death on film by killing the women (and only women) he meets. As usual in these kind of "tortured artist" stories, there's a woman who falls for Mark and the thing sorta becomes a tragic love story (thank god Alfred Hitchcock didn't write a love interest for Norman Bates in PSYCHO). The idea of Helen (wonderfully played by underrated Anna Masey) falling for Mark is ridiculous and totally forced. The clunky premise isn't helped much by the unconvincing psychology behind the killer's motivations: his father tortured him when he was a kid and yet Mark, as an adult, only kills women. Okay. Things only got less subtle, with Helen's mother being a blind woman who's all seeing and wise which SCREAMED to me that the film was more of a not-so-subtle symbolic exercise from Michael Powell about himself and his career as a filmmaker than anything else. The fact that Michael Powell himself played the domineering father in the black and white home movies and that the kid who plays young Mark was Michael Powell's real son and the fact the home movies were shot where Powell grew up as a kid only reinforced the whole self-indulgent aspect of the movie: me, me, me! This obvious self-indulgence in the story and direction killed ALL attempts at horror.

But if you watch PEEPING TOM as a tribute to Michael Powell's career, made by Michael Powell himself, well, the movie is suddenly fitting and brilliant. Fitting as a tribute because PEEPING TOM suddenly became Powell's last "major" movie after the uproar it created when it was released. PEEPING TOM, or the controversy surrounding the movie, basically killed Powell's career as a serious filmmaker. The elaborate behind-the-scenes moments or the scenes with Moira Shearer (who worked with Powell in THE RED SHOES) dancing around the studios say more about the famed filmmaker than the film's tortured character. Watch PEEPING TOM as some sort of elaborate post-modern tribute to the director. Don't watch it as a horror movie. It's just too melodramatic and self-indulgent to create anything close to disturbing or creepy.


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