Saturday, 31 December 2016
Blind Spot Series: Peeping Tom
This is one of those films where I can't believe I waited this long to see it.
Mark Lewis is a loner. He lives in the house he grew up in, where his famous father performed psychological experiments on him, mostly documenting his fear. This could be contributed to his onbession with fear. He murders women, filmming their deaths and watches them in his rooms. While trying to complete his 'documentary' he befriends one of his tenents, Helen and tries not to film her, afraid of what he may do. Meanwhile, the police are closing in on him.
Directed by Michael Powell (without the Pressburger) this was released in 1960 and it is no surprise to hear that the film was met with outrage and controversy. In fact, it almost ruined Powell's career. This is a sign of a future classic or in this case, a cult hit. Years later, the film is now considered a masterpiece and I think I can agree that in some ways it is. However, if the film had been released now, the reception would have been cold and stayed cold. The film is 'of its time' as well as something that can be related to now.
Austrian actor, Carl Boehm is Mark Lewis, an outsider. By casting an Austrian actor to play the part of the filmmaker serial killer, an outsider from the start, makes it clear that he is isolated, not only by his actions or by the way he lives but by who he is too. This makes its difficult for an audience to identify with him in anyway, even though Powell treads a thin line where he wants us to pity Mark but not forgive him. Unlike most murder mystery or crime films, the serial killer is revealed in the credits. But also unlike other films of this genre, we don't sit and wait for him to be caught either, this is about his 'documentary' he is making and whether he will get the the shots he wanted and if he will get to finish. Any filmmaker or in fact creative knows how it feels to want to finish something, whether there is a deadline or not. Mark just wants to finish, he has it all planned out, even right to the end.
The film captures the obsessions people have with watching. Afterall, the film is about a yoyeur. It also mirrors what the audience does, watch. I can see why the film caused a stir, no one likes to think they are a voyeur but in some ways a film audience is. As a horror thriller is scartches the surface of why people are obsessed by horror films and seeing people in peril. The film has layers to it that are aren't explored enough but I can appreciate the story and the obsession with cinema, as well as the need to watch so much TV and film. It is a form of art as well as an unhealthy way to live, glued to a screen, but I won't be changing my ways any time soon, this has just fueled my love of cinema more. Film can't always be pretty.
To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.
I will also be taking part next year too. HERE is the list of fims for 2017.