The Movie: Peeping Tom (1960)
What Is It?: The tale of a serial killer who photographs his victims at the moment of their deaths using a dagger concealed in his camera’s tripod. By emphasizing the link between sex and violence, director Michael Powell took his content several ticks beyond even Hammer’s controversial pictures. The film was ravaged by U.K. critics and butchered in the U.S. where it was dumped in the grind houses. That’s rough treatment for perhaps the first film to examine the filmmaker’s responsibility in presenting violent material to audiences, as well as the audience’s own dicey desire to look at the sick and the horrible.
Why Today?: On this day in 1891, Thomas Edison patents the movie camera.