Psycho and Vertigo are two of Hitchcock’s most notable and recognized works, and they both contain excessive reference to voyeurism as a part of their success. Psycho opens with the camera panning across a cityscape and zooming in to a hotel room window, in which Marion Crane and Sam Loomis are seen partially undressed. Not only does the implication of their intercourse stand out as being quite sexualized for 1960, but this opening shot through the hotel window with the blinds closed three quarters of the way down also puts the audience in the role of the Peeping Tom. This causes discomfort amongst certain audience members, and quells feeling of guilt amongst those watching the film. Hitchcock is forcing us into this very personal space that the characters occupy, and in doing so he stirs increasing interest in the story, as well as a pressure in viewers to somehow alleviate the guilt of peeping as the film progresses.
With regard to voyeurism, Hitchcock’s boldest work was Rear Window, a film about a photographer named L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) is confined to his Greenwich Village apartment after breaking his leg. Simply the nature of his profession induces images of voyeurism, but this film chooses to focus on his exploits watching out his back window with a pair of binoculars. As he looks out the window, his home-care nurse Stella tells him that “in the old days they used to put your eyes out with a red-hot poker. Any of those bikini-bombshells you’re always watching worth a red-hot poker?” She then goes on to the ultimate societal critique of the film – that “we’ve become a race of Peeping Toms”.