Peeping Tom

submitted by 072791

One thing that particularly got my attention was Mark Lewis’ eerie resemblance with Dexter Morgan. Dexter Morgan is the lead character of the hit TV series Dexter wherein he works in a police department as a blood splatter analyst, and in his spare time, likes to look up suspected serial killers and kills them in a ceremonial way if he sees their situation falls under his code.

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More than the horror aspect of the film, which wasn’t really that horrifying, what particularly captured me was its psychological aspect. Mark Lewis is part of a film crew who, just like Dexter Morgan, utilizes the perks and benefits of his profession to the advantage his bloody hobby. (British pun not intended) The idea of being in a work environment that interests them is appealing because serial killers in most forms of media (be it in film, literature, and what) are portrayed as people who lead miserable lonely lives that are out to take revenge on the world.

However, in Mark Lewis’ case, he’s a landlord who’s living in excess from the rent revenue he gets from renting parts of his house, goes to a job which he likes and enjoys, and has friends in his workplace. He even develops this quasi-romantic relationship with his tenant, Helen. Girls in his workplace show him interest, and even the whores he works with in his part-time illegal job flirts with him. By definition, it can be said that Mark Lewis is no loser.

However, conflict arises when investigating officers start tailing him around, as he falls under suspicion for the two linked murders. Again, this particular situation is replicated in season 2 of Dexter, where Dexter is under close surveillance by Sergeant James Doakes. However, this minor obstacle doesn’t stop both characters from continuing what they do, even though they are under the radar. Mark is in search for this perfect reaction of fear and aims to document it using his camera. This being an extension of his father’s obsession that was passed on to him as he was made a subject of his father’s studies, Mark finds that without acquiring this footage of the perfect fear, his life is unfulfilled. And this could all root from his early childhood, where always being under the gaze of a camera sort of took a part of his life away. That’s why when he grew up, he valued his privacy too much to a point that it made him a recluse.

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I forget, but there is this theory in psychology where it states that we are products of the treatment we receive from our parents when we were children. Not that we are given the eligibility to point fingers, but whatever’s wrong with us now, is most probably out parent’s fault. So everything that has come out wrong with Mark is his father’s fault. Not that there is a lot of things that are wrong with him, in fact it’s just that small detail of killing a lot of women sequentially and well, his inability to maintain a relationship of any sort.

I don’t really see why Peeping Tom was seen back then as a British horror movie when in fact, there is no violence or gore that is presented in the movie, and for a movie to fall under the genre of horror, it is surprisingly not graphic. I’m thinking the reason why this movie was so condemned by its audience when it first came out was because the psychological horror depicted in the movie was reflected back to the viewers. And we are made to realize that just like Mark, his father, and Helen (who partakes in the viewing of Mark’s murders), we the movie’s viewers are also guilty of the crime.

In the end, although there is a lot lacking in detail about Mark Lewis, but he leaves the screen successful as he has found the perfect expression of fear through himself. Why he needs to result to killing to develop an expression of fear is not answered. Why his victims have to be women isn’t explained either. But albeit these loopholes that weren’t explained, we finally realize that what he was searching for in others, he could only find in himself. What his father, in all his years of studying him failed to produce, he was able to manufacture. It’s just sad, and if I might add poetic, that when he finally sees that perfect expression of fear through his suicide, he wasn’t able to savor his accomplishment. And the very thing he lived for was achieved through his death.

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useful links to understanding the psychology of Peeping Tom
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054167/
http://10kbullets.com/reviews/peeping-tom/
http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue08/reviews/peepingtom/text.htm
http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/447463/
http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/60_PT/

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