A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.
The start of the Slasher genre begins right here.
Being released just two months before the infamous “Psycho” (another film known for starting the Slasher genre), it’s amazing to see how different both films were viewed and received.
In America “Psycho” was a tremendous success, a success that’s still ongoing. In England “Peeping Tom” caused controversy, The scandal which the movie aroused, destroyed the career of esteemed director Michael Powell.
“Peeping Tom” in my opinion is a must see film, even if it’s just to see where the sub-genre started, I hope you take it into consideration.
Miscellaneous facts about the film:
Early choices for the role of Mark included Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Harvey.
Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 25 Most Dangerous Movies”.
The cameras in Mark Lewis’ room include director Michael Powell’s first film camera, a hand operated Eyemo, made by Bell and Howell, that he won in a competition.
In Mark Lewis’ “home movies,” Prof. A.N. Lewis is played by director Michael Powell, young Mark Lewis is played by Powell’s real-life son, Columba Powell, and Mark’s mother, seen lying lifelessly in bed, is played by Columba’s real-life mother, Frankie Reidy.
The character of Don Jarvis the studio boss is a parody of notorious Rank mogul John Davis.
Moira Shearer replaced Natasha Parry.
Milly welcomes Mark with “Look who’s here – Cecil Beaton!” in the first scene above the newsagents. Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 -1980) was a noted English fashion and portrait photographer.
In his memoirs Michael Powell revealed his other candidates for the role of Vivian as being Joan Plowright (rejected as ‘too sympathetic’) and a young Julie Andrews (rejected as ‘too famous’). He eventually chose Moira Shearer despite initially describing her as ‘too glamorous’.
There are actually two spellings and pronunciations of “scoptophilia.” Scopophilia is the preferred spelling and pronunciation, but the film uses the former.
The film was heavily cut by the BBFC before release and consequently many scenes still have a ragged feel to them. The murders were toned down, shots of nudity were deleted (including photos of nude girls in the album), the suicide scene was shortened, and scenes featuring the spike were also edited. Some dialogue was also cut. Although some cuts were restored in later video and DVD releases much of the edited footage is now considered lost forever.