Top critical review
Brave, and unfairly received.
on 13 October 2016
OK. I have to remember how old this film is to understand where the notoriety comes from. It was released at a similar time to Psycho, and while Hitchcock is revered as a master (not just because of Psycho of course) apparently Peeping Tom pretty much ruined Michael Powell's reputation and career. Polar opposite reaction.
Yet, the subject matter of the two films, in my opinion, is equally dark. Extreme mental states - in both cases - originating from a troubled and disturbing childhood, leading to a psychopathic mindset.
The infamous shower scene from Psycho, is more graphic than the entirety of Peeping Tom. The blood draining down the plughole, more than the entirety of Peeping Tom as well. Of course the Psycho scene is in black & white so the "blood" is a dark grey, but so what. All the violence in Peeping Tom is off camera.
Also, Mark Lewis has feelings for Anna Massey's character. He also knows where his actions will lead and does not seek to try and prevent it. By this and by his conversation with the "psychiatrist" we know that he hates himself, but in Psycho, Norman Bates has no real redeeming features.
So with the benefit of hindsight and having seen many many horrific movies in the 50 year interim, Peeping Tom is no more offensive than Psycho which is thought of by many as a masterpiece. This DVD carries a 15 certificate to bear out that opinion.
Interesting, highly dated due to its age, and with minuscule shock value. A curiosity, and for its age, nothing out of the ordinary, but brave all the same - and unworthy of the negative treatment it received.