Voyeurism has been a hobby ever since I was a little girl. I’m not talking peeping toms or anything sexual. My mom had a platform bed. Her window faced the East River, and other apartments in our complex. I’d sit on the edge, and stare out into the other well lit windows. It was a safe spot. A place where I first remember creating stories. Ever since then, voyeurism in entertainment has fascinated me. Probably also because they’re mostly relegated to erotic, or sexy thrillers; another passion. One I’ve dedicated an entire site to talking about. But I’m realizing I’m not the only one embracing these tendencies. Because The Voyeurs on Amazon Prime is out today.
Though going in mostly blind, the new movie is a clear indication that there are plenty others indulging in the guilty pleasures of window voyeurism. Whether it’s in reality, or just on screen.
Voyeurism is nothing new. It’s been going on since Norman Bates watched Marion Crane through a hole in his office den. Now, we’re getting new, modern portrayals. Whether that’s a young, beautiful woman watching her neighbors. Or You’s Joe Goldberg cyber stalking his dream girl in the name of true love.
After The Voyeurs on Amazon Prime, Here are the best thrillers to watch:
1. Rear Window.
The most famous of all voyeurism movies is of course, Rear Window. Set against a memorable apartment complex backdrop. It epitomizes the idea of innocent yet dangerous peeping. When does watching cross the line? And are we allowed to watch our neighbors, even for a good cause, like solving a murder? Some of the questions the classic film asks.
Grace Kelly, a socialite in love with the housebound journalist L.B. also gets into the apartment spying. She’s able to glamorize something that could seem wrong. It’s worth noting that this sub genre doesn’t discriminate, being depicted by men and women.
The first movie with voyeurism that I remember is Sisters. The 1971 classic was early in Brian De Palma’s career. But it’s one of his best. Memorable for many reasons. It’s the first use of the director’s famous framing techniques. A young Margot Kidder is intensely good. Then, there’s the murder scene. It takes place early on, and unexpectedly. In the dual framed shot, we see two things happening. Both the victim struggling for help, and a neighbor, witnessing the scene from a window across the way. It’s a brilliant use of voyeurism in film. Once again, expressing the dangers that accompany letting our curiosities get the best of us.
The best twist in a 90’s thriller. A top rated soliloquy by Alec Baldwin. Super sexy Nicole Kidman. And a pivotal plot point that includes some peering through neighboring windows. All this is part of Malice, the super sexy thriller that has murder, sex, betrayal. And of course, a bedroom window at the center.
4. Body Double.
Another De Palma classic centered around voyeurism. This time, in a way more overt, over the top way. In fact, everything about Body Double is over the top. Starting with the over the top 80’s sky high apartment out of work actor Jake Scully is house sitting. But that pales in comparison to the lurid dances performed in the window that he’s been coaxed to watch. HIs spying quickly turns to stalking as he becomes obsessed with the woman, and temporary neighbor. All culminating in her murder. Which he witnesses, while watching from the bedroom window. But in this 80’s thriller, not even the voyeurism is exactly what it seems.
5. The Bedroom Window.
The 1987 Curtis Hanson thriller says it all in its title. But in this case, the watching leads to the witness of an attack. Steve Guttenberg (Terry Lambert) is having an affair with the rich and married Sylvia Wentworth. When she sees a crime committed at the window, he goes to the police. Taking responsibility as the witness instead. Of course, that’s the wrong decision. The voyeur here is more accidental. But it’s still integral to the story.
6. The Girl on The Train
In this case, watching is done from a train window. The voyeurism, less about being sneaky, and more about envy. Done by a woman which again somehow softens the act itself. Rachel has a habit of staring out the window on her train home from work. She starts fixating on one particular house and one particular woman.
The film, adapted from the best selling book came at a time when thrillers with unreliable female protagonists were everywhere.
7. Perfect Stranger.
The 2007 psychological thriller starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis is mostly forgotten. And that’s not all together a bad thing. But it does have some cool things going for it. A creepy Giovanni Ribisi. A decent mystery. And a story about watching our neighbors, and the atrocities they may commit.
The Voyeurs on Amazon Prime is streaming now.
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