Be on the lookout for Michael Powell’s classic 1960 psychological horror film Peeping Tom, returning to theaters this Friday at New York City’s Film Forum www.filmforum.org (209 West Houston;  727-8110) in a new gorgeous 4K restoration.
The same year that gave us American Psycho Norman Bates, British director Powell (then best known for the much-praised dance drama The Red Shoes) helmed this sumptuous arthouse slasher show. While Psycho provided Alfred Hitchcock his biggest financial and critical success, the reviled Peeping Tom nearly destroyed Powell’s career due to the movie’s unflinching nature. Decades later the film and its director’s rep would be positively reevaluated when the likes of Martin Scorsese began championing this disturbing film.
Handsome photographer Mark (Austrian actor Carl Boehm) draws perverse pleasure when photographing women at the moment of death, which he orchestrates himself by impaling the beautiful victims with the deadly tip of his retrofitted camera tripod leg. Like the troubled main character, you will become a voyeur too watching Peeping Tom’s compelling horrors unfold.
Upon its initial release, Peeping Tom was brutally trashed by contemporary critics (“the sickest and filthiest film I remember,” “The only way to dispose of it would be to shovel it up and flush it swiftly down the nearest sewer,” etc.), sidelining Powell’s career for many years. In the decades that followed, Peeping Tom has been rightfully rediscovered as a dark and unsettling genre gem. The film’s garish color photography pops from the screen in the current 4K restoration.
Peeping Tom will run till November 30 at the Film Forum, but look for the Rialto Pictures rerelease in a repertory cinema near you in the months ahead.