Peeping Tom - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Peeping Tom Reviews

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½ October 9, 2016
Released in 1960, the same year as Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece "Psycho, "Peeping Tom" remains a nerve-tingling psychological thriller too ahead of its time for its contemporary audience.
½ October 4, 2016
While not really scary by today's standards, for its time, it's a pretty disturbing psychological horror movie with an unsettling main character.
Super Reviewer
½ September 17, 2016
Extremely bold and perverse for the time it came out, as it was the first film to put us in the perspective of a serial killer, this is a work of great psychological depth that dives into the dark corners of misogyny and voyeurism while making us sympathetic towards its sick protagonist.
½ January 4, 2016
Although Powell and Pressburger's THE TALES OF HOFFMAN put me to sleep, PEEPING TOM has long been a huge favorite of mine. Carl Boehm is as unsettling and as seemingly helpless as Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang's M and just as murderous. I had forgotten how little of his violence is captured by the camera for audience viewing, but one feels the horror through the victims' petrified faces. His scene with Anna Massey's mother feels like a reversal of PSYCHO, but neither movie would probably have seen the other since both were released 1960. Enjoy some insider film jokes and sheer terror - peep in on PEEPING TOM?!
½ December 8, 2015
An interesting / unique thriller with a truly terrifying antagonist.
November 6, 2015
Watch them say goodbye one by one...

A young, fairly attractive man is a peeping tom with a camera. He films women for periods of time and eventually kidnaps them, tortures, and murders them. In his non-serial killer life he begins dating a girl who is blind. She begins feeling his behavior is peculiar and stumbles into his tape room. Her life quickly becomes at risk.

"It's just a film, isn't it?"
"No. No. I killed them."

Michael Powell, director of Stairway to Heaven, The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Age of Consent, and The Wild Heart, delivers Peeping Tom. The storyline for this picture is fairly good and very well executed. The horror content is dated but the acting is pretty good. The cast includes Karlheinz Bohm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Esmond Knight, and Mickael Goodliffe.

"What's it about?"
"A magic camera."

I came across this in the summer on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to DVR it. This was a perfect movie to watch during Halloween season. This was pretty well done and fun to watch unfold. This isn't perfect, or an all time classic, but worth a viewing if you're a fan of classic horror movies (like Rear Window or Psycho).

"Why don't you lie to me?"

Grade: C+
October 21, 2015
A film way ahead of its time.
½ October 13, 2015
It mixes classic psycho-killer thrills plot with clever voyeuristic view that makes the movie as smooth as it could.
October 3, 2015
Peeping Tom holds a coveted place in film history as being the very first film to have a POV from the villain/killer and was even more controversial than, Psycho which was released the same year. The film was met with such criticism that it actually ruined the career of it's director, Michael Powell who became blacklisted from Hollywood and never made a comeback. The story is quite disturbing; an aspiring "filmmaker" murders women using a spike on the tripod of his camera and catches their last moments on film to watch and obsess over later. While I appreciated what the film has accomplished, it is undeniably slow-paced and hard to get through today with unengaging characters and a tedious plot. The best moment arrives at the ending when we learn that not only does the killer get to see his victims' last moments, but he has a mirror attached to the front of the tripod so they too get to watch their own dying moments and that is twisted to say the least. It's a dated film with ideas well-ahead of it's time (evident by the backlash it received) and I admire it's place in history more than the film itself; but this is a film that could actually benefit from a remake with tighter direction and actual terror.
September 23, 2015
I didn't find it particularly thrilling or interesting. I watched it as I'm making my way through the films in Danny Peary's book Cult Movies, and his essay about the movie does a great job of expressing some interesting points.
1) The terrible reception it received might have been because the English disdained horror as part of the German tradition of storytelling. (Oddly, he doesn't mention that the actor who plays the killer sure seems to be German, even though the character is English.)
2) It also might have been because showing the villain as an insane person was pretty novel - and considered distasteful.
3) Unsubtly equating violence with sexual urges was novel, too.
4) It frames the filmmaker of horror as one who commits a disgusting, aggressive act.
June 28, 2015
Controversial on release just as controversial on viewing some 55 years later.
The film is about film essentially. Aside from the pornographic elements which this film received on release and are virtually non-existant.
The film shows the killers victims last second reaction to their deaths in much the same way as a director (especially of horror films) wants to scare the viewer of his/her work.
The killer is the director (hypothetically of course). Im sure they don't have to kill several people in reality for experience.
What is more interesting about this film is that no major film stars or indeed studios/distributors are involved.
Every cinephile should watch this film to understand the element of surprise the director is trying to deliver.
May 17, 2015
A very creepy film about a man who watches and kills women he records on his camera. Also, the film that destroyed director Michael Powell's career.
May 13, 2015
Brilliant. Every bit as good as "Psycho." Way more people should know about this dark gem.
April 14, 2015
nice plot bad acting
March 26, 2015
Peeping Tom has fine acting, well developed main character and very intriguing premise, but it needed more suspenseful moments in the first half and some character behavior is very illogical, especially in the finale. Nevertheless, this movie is very well filmed, well acted, nicely approached with evident character study, complex themes, some atmospheric moments, thrilling ending and very original, interesting and authentic story and style. It is an interesting experiment all around and one of the better, more authentic horror films of the time.
½ February 24, 2015
Did I enjoy it? No. But I absolutely acknowledge that Peeping Tom is a great film, and of course the as per usual genius work of Michael Powell. Being horrified whilst watching a film really isn't my thing and I'd much prefer not to be, however due to Powell's genius I was intrigued till the end by this strange tale.
January 20, 2015
Martin Scorsese dice: ‚Siempre he cre√≠do que Peeping Tom y 8¬ 1/2 dicen todo lo que puede ser dicho sobre el arte de hacer peliculas, sobre el proceso de llevarlas a cabo, la objetividad y la subjetividad y la confusi√≥n entre las dos. 8¬ 1/2 captura el lujo y el disfrute de hacer cine, mientras que Peeping Tom muestra la agresi√≥n que hay en ello, c√≥mo la c√°mara infringe una violaci√≥n... Vi√ (C)ndolas puedes descubrir todo sobre las personas que hacen cine, o al menos, c√≥mo esas personas se expresan a si mismas a trav√ (C)s de las pel√≠culas‚?.
½ December 8, 2014
Essentially Michael Powell's last film of interest (after decades of work with Emeric Pressburger) - in effect, this film killed his career. But oh is it bold! Not unlike Hitchcock's move to darker (if still playful) material with Psycho, Powell's film also plays with audience expectations - after all, don't we expect a serial killer to be unsympathetic? But Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) seems gentle and shy in his everyday interactions and particularly with his "love interest" Helen (Anna Massey). Yet, he's twisted inside, due apparently to some vicious experiments by his biologist father (played by Powell himself, in a brief filmed clip) who wanted to understand reactions to fear in children. This, too, makes us want to "understand" Mark - who is still creepy due to his tendency to film everything he sees (and his sideline shooting nudie pics). Powell indicts the moviegoer for his/her voyeuristic tendencies (as does Hitch in Rear Window) - or perhaps he is indicting himself for wanting to control what is being filmed? Mark imposes himself on reality and films it - but his terrible childhood seems to incline him toward filming women's reactions to fear, as he kills them. He then plays the footage back in his own hidden projection room - private snuff films that may or may not arouse him. No doubt, it's clear just how volatile and challenging this material would be in 1960 - and it still retains the ability to shock today.
November 30, 2014
A darkly disturbing voyeuristic character study. Peeping Tom is one of the best early film explorations into the deranged's psyche.
November 3, 2014
The first modern slasher film, only because it was released a month before Alfred Hitchock's Psycho. But while Psycho bolstered the sagging career of Hitchcock, Peeping Tom promptly ended Michael Powell's magnificent run as one of England's great filmmakers. Peeping Tom is movie that was panned by critics and banned from theaters and remains unrated and underrated to this day.
Mark Lewis is a young London photographer making a documentary about women's expressions of terror whilst murdering them with a blade on his camera. He's a handsome, but disturbed young man with a hint of German in his accent. (Imagine Peter Lorre mixed with Hitler Youth) He works as a cameraman on the set at a London Film Studio, and a secondary job as a nudie photographer at a local newsstand. The downstairs neighbor girl takes interest in Mark as he shows her his childhood home videos in which his psychologist father throws lizards on his bed in the morning. In-spite of this darkness she only sees the good in him even while her blind mother only hears evil in his footsteps.
This film explores all of the same tropes you find in most horror movies but does so with an almost literary genius. It presents the perversion of voyeurism in film and in turn implies the audience's culpability. It looks at the father's effect on a young boys sexuality and how women are viewed. Mark's victims are a prostitute, nude models & an actress. Women who've made their living on being watched or seen without emotional connection. It even presents the director as an aggressive scientist, provoking fear for the sake of his experiments. As though the emotionally detached have finally found a way to express themselves through filmmaking.
What makes this revolutionary for it's time is that this film not only gives us the dual POV of the killer, but it also gives us the opportunity to sympathize with his psychosis. He's is the brutal result of science & film both of which are viewed "objectively." He knows he'll be caught and isn't trying to avoid it, but takes every opportunity to film his experience, simply because he doesn't know any other way to process his sadness & angst.
This is a fascinating film with all the tension, darkness and violence for the films it would go on to inspire.
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