So I was watching Peeping Tom, a Michael Powell movie, and I couldn’t get my eyes off the screen! Powell did such an amazing work combining art and crime, presenting us the camera as an artful tool but also a deadly weapon.
Directed in 1960, saying Hitchcock’s time, voyeurism was a common subject used in thriller movies. When in Rear Window, characters are using binoculars, in Peeping Tom, Mark is using the filmmaker’s toy, filming his victims while killing them. Offering us a “mise en abyme” and making us passive accomplice (spectators) of all those crimes.
But the camera, in the movie, is an open door to Mark’s psychology, and the trauma he has experienced as a little boy. The only person he lets enter his life, is Helen, who actually invited herself into the boy’s universe, being attracted to all the mystery surrounding him. The other person who is able to see through him and his timid/secret behavior, is Helen’s mother who’s blind.
The things that I’ve deduced, are that first, Mark is falling for Helen, who has succeeded in having him put away his camera for a night. His love for her, enables him to photograph and film her, he refuses to do that because it would mean that she would be just like his other victims and he has no intention in killing her. Secondly, killing Helen’s mother won’t be very moral (in Mark’s vision of the good and bad) and useless, according to the fact that the cameraman wants to provide his victims to watch their own death.
He planned from A to Z a project he had in mind, and knew from the beginning his fatality. Helen came into his life too late and his scoptophilia empowered by his father was too integrated in this brain.
Peeping Tom is a movie that you have to watch at least once in a lifetime. Just by curiosity and to acknowledge the genius of Powell mastering voyeurism.