This past week I went to see Scream 4. One of the trivia questions the Ghostface killer asked his next victim had to do with the first slasher flick ever made. I, along with the poor schmuck on screen, quickly answered Psycho (1960). Guess what? We were both wrong! The answer was Peeping Tom which I assume was released earlier the same year. Needless to say, I went home and watched it instantly through Netflix.
Peeping Tom is a British film that can best be described as subtly creepy. It's the story of Mark Lewis, a young filmmaker and photographer who acquires a fetish for filming the murders of his victims in order to capture their dying expressions of terror. Karlheinz Böhm is wonderful as the killer. He's got the right eyes for it and plays the role with a quiet intensity which serves the character well. Böhm is not as manic as Anthony Perkins in Psycho, but I enjoyed watching him create the tortured soul of Mark Lewis. Moira Shearer is also great as Vivian, Lewis' main love interest in the movie. They play off of each other really well and have wonderful chemistry on screen.
In creating this film, director Michael Powell learned the Hitchcock lesson that "less is more." There is very little blood spilled onscreen, but the murders are still unsettling. The mind of the viewer fills in all the necessary details. Furthermore, there's something disturbing about the killer filming his murders so he can watch them over and over again. It is a trick they also used in Scream 4 but for different reasons so I guess that's why they referenced Peeping Tom in Scream 4. Someone really knows their horror. It way probably either Wes Craven or writer Kevin Williamson or perhaps producer Marianne Maddalena who I know personally and can vouch that she really knows her stuff when it comes to horror!
Definitely add this one to your list. It may not be as iconic is Psycho but it is a very good film in its own right.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.