Mark (Karl Boehm) is a film technician/sound man who moonlights by photographing beautiful, nude models. However, Mark is less than normal. He has a growing fascination with the natural, physical imperfections of his models and begins killing his models with a spiked tripod, capturing the exact moment of their deaths on film. Due to a twisted childhood, caused by his equally twisted and sadistic, psychologist father (played by director Michael Powell), Mark painstakingly documents the killings and the ensuing police investigations.
You see, Marks childhood was spent as the subject of fear experiments and non-stop audiotaping by his father, who must have attended medical school while taking Mescaline. Their house was a network of microphones, recorders, and cameras, which documented every single minute of Marks day. Now as a grown-up, Mark rents out rooms in his house and similarly documents the lives of his tenants, not unlike the recent film Silver. Does the blind tenant know what Mark is up to? When the police begin to close the dragnet around Mark, can he create the ultimate artistic act of photographic verdict?
Peeping Tom was basically a lost film after its release in 1960. It was rarely seen, and even then, only in midnight showings and on late-night television. We have Martin Scorsese to thank for giving rebirth to Peeping Tom by re-releasing it into theaters in 1980. Like Todd Browning with Freaks, Peeping Tom ended the career of Michael Powell who had previously directed such classics as The Red Shoes and The Thief of Bagdad. At least Powell had the satisfaction of ending his career on a high note and on such a personal film.
As The Phantom of the opera the Movies suggests, Peeping Tom is more than a thriller, it is a satirical jab at commercialism in cinema and more importantly, the voyeuristic tendencies of both filmmakers and film viewers. We at the House highly recommend that you see this film