Peeping Tom (1960)

[****]

Michael Powell’s study of loneliness, voyeurism, and murder earned him the end of his career from a critical establishment that found his treatise both unpleasant and unfriendly. The director of The Red Shoes (1948) ruminates long and hard on the underside of cinematic pleasure, serving up a protagonist who has figured out a way to not only capture his murder victims on film, but to reflect their own faces at the moment of death back up at them as they are photographed. Feminist critics, led by Laura Mulvey, would spend the latter half of the 1970s arguing over the male gaze that this male filmmaker recognized and explicated more than a decade before. This remarkable horror story is difficult but unique viewing: measured, methodical, and conceptually perverse. (Make sure you see Red Shoes star Moira Shearer as one of cameraman Mark's victims and Powell himself as Mark's sadistic father.)
Nightmares of Depravity: Unlucky 13 Horror Films
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Reviews by Bryant Frazer
bryant@deep-focus.com