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Peepingtomposter

Peeping Tom is a 1960 colour British psychological horror-thriller film directed by Michael Powell, written by Leo Marks, and starring Carl Boehm, Anna Massey, and Moira Shearer. The film revolves around a serial killer who murders women while using a portable film camera to record their dying expressions of terror. Its title derives from the slang expression 'Peeping Tom', which describes a voyeur.

The film's controversial subject matter and its extremely harsh reception by critics had a severely negative impact on Powell's career as a director in the United Kingdom. However, it attracted a cult following, and in later years, it has been re-evaluated and is now widely considered a masterpiece, and a progenitor of the contemporary slasher film. The British Film Institute named it the 78th greatest British film of all time, and in 2017 a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine saw it ranked the 27th best British film ever.

The music score was written by Brian Easdale and performed by Australian virtuoso Gordon Watson.

Plot[]

In London, Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) meets Dora (Brenda Bruce), a prostitute, covertly filming her with a camera hidden under his coat. Shown from the point of view of the camera viewfinder, he follows the woman into her flat, murders her, and later watches the film in his den. The following morning, Lewis films the police's removal of Dora's corpse from her home, posing as a reporter.

Lewis is a member of a film crew who aspires to become a filmmaker himself. He also works part-time photographing soft-porn pin-up pictures of women, sold under the counter. He is a shy, reclusive young man who hardly socializes outside of his workplace. He lives in the house of his late father, renting most of it via an agent while posing as a tenant himself. Helen Stephens (Anna Massey), a sweet-natured young woman who lives with her blind mother in the flat below his, befriends him out of curiosity after he has been discovered spying on her 21st birthday party.

Mark reveals to Helen through home films taken by his father that, as a child, he was used as a guinea pig for his father's psychological experiments on fear and the nervous system. Mark's father would study his son's reaction to various stimuli, such as lizards he put on his bed and would film the boy in all sorts of situations, even going as far as recording his son's reactions as he sat with his mother on her deathbed. He kept his son under constant watch and even wired all the rooms so that he could spy on him. Mark's father's studies enhanced his reputation as a renowned psychologist.

Mark arranges with Vivian (Moira Shearer), a stand-in at the studio, to make a film after the set is closed; he then kills her and stuffs her into a prop trunk. The body is discovered later during shooting by Diane, a female cast member who has already antagonized the director by fainting for real at points which are not in the script. The police link the two murders and notice that each victim died with a look of utter terror on her face. They interview everyone on the set, including Mark, who always keeps his camera running, claiming that he is making a documentary.

Helen goes out to dinner with Mark, even persuading him to leave his camera behind for once, and briefly kisses him once they return. Her mother, Mrs. Stephens, finds his behavior peculiar; aware, despite her blindness, how often Mark looks through Helen's window. Mrs. Stephens is waiting inside Mark's flat after his evening out with her daughter. Unable to wait until she leaves due to his compulsion, he begins screening his latest snuff film with her still in the room. She senses how emotionally disturbed he is and threatens to move, but Mark reassures her that he will never photograph or film Helen.

A psychiatrist is called to the set to console Diane. He chats with Mark and is familiar with his father's work. The psychiatrist relates the details of the conversation to the police, noting that Mark has "his father's eyes." Mark is tailed by the police to the newsagents, where he takes photographs of the pin-up model Milly (Pamela Green). Slightly later, it emerges that Mark has killed Milly before returning home.

Helen, who is curious about Mark's films, finally runs one of them. She becomes visibly upset and then frightened when he catches her. Mark reveals that he makes the films so that he can capture the fear of his victims. He has mounted a round mirror atop his camera so that he can capture the reactions of his victims as they see their impending deaths. He points the tripod's knife towards Helen's throat but refuses to kill her.

The police arrive and Mark realizes he is cornered. As he planned from the very beginning, he impales himself on the knife with the camera running, providing the finale for his documentary. The last shot shows Helen crying over Mark's dead body as the police enter the room.

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