Michael Powell 's Peeping Tom Essay

731 Words Dec 4th, 2016 3 Pages
Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) is a pseudo snuff film centred on the act of voyeurism. Although, Peeping Tom predates the horror subgenre, slashers, it still upholds the psychosexual elements that reside in such films (Clover). Released in the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), Peeping Tom can be cited as the aforementioned British equivalent, as the male central characters seem to share sadistic and psychopathic qualities. This film proves to be a self-reflexive metafilm as it surrounds a focus puller/ film director/ photographer and his manic spree of capturing women’s terror while murdering them. As the title goes, the film is about a voyeur. In fact, the narrative follows a sadistic, introverted Mark Lewis, who gains pleasure by collecting and viewing footage of women in fear. Mark’s actions are reformation for his traumatic experience of his father inflicting terror onto him to analyze and capture horror. Like most horror films, this film focuses on the “eye” and the “reflection of terror” (Clover page #). In addition, it outlines the effects of oedipal trajectory as Mark inflicts his anxieties—produced by his father—on women to defeminize himself and to avoid castration. Ironically, the thing he was working so hard to avoid ended up occurring, as he fail to prevent himself from castration.
Like another one of Hitchcock’s film, Vertigo (1958), Powell’s film begins with an extreme close-up of an eye, at first the person’s eye is closed coinciding with…

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