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Someone's Watching Me

Scream Factory releases one of Carpenter’s earliest films “Someone’s Watching Me”, and it’s a must see psychological thriller for fans of the filmmaker.

Director: John Carpenter
Producers: Anna Cottle and Richard Kobritz
Special Effects: Josee Nachbaur and Karl Silvera
Cast: Lauren Hutton, David Birney, Adrienne Barbeau, Charles Cyphers, Grainger Hines, Len Lesser, John Mahon, James Murtaugh, J. Jay Saunders, Michael Laurence, George Skaff, Robert Phalen, Robert Snively, Jean Le Bouvier, James McAlpine, Edgar Justice and John J. Fox
Released By: Shout!/Scream Factory
Release Date: August 7th, 2018

The Premise

Los Angeles newcomer Leigh Michaels moves into a chic high-rise apartment building. She loves the view. So does the Peeping Tom who lives somewhere in the adjacent tower.

John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) writes and directs this thriller where the breath-catching suspense starts at the moment Leigh (Lauren Hutton, American Gigolo) is framed in the lens of a telescope.

For Leigh, it’s the beginning of terrors that escalate from anonymous calls and gifts to lights that mysteriously flicker to prove that someone watches every moment of her life. Leigh fights back, matching her tormentor’s obsession with her own relentless drive to uncover his identity. The prey is now predator – and that escalates the stalker’s game to a deadly new level. Someone is watching.

The Dismemberment

The third film in John Carpenter’s resume of feature films (following DARK STAR (1974) and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976)), this made for TV film foreshadows what was to come in his fantastic career. As Someone’s Watching Me was a made for TV film, we do not get the same visceral impact as some of his later films, but we do get glimpses of the technical prowess that was to follow in every film he made after this one.

While much more of a psychological thriller than a true horror film, Carpenter manages to convey a sense of dread and isolation. as a young woman is terrorized in her own high rise apartment by someone that manages to see her every move without ever being in the same room. Add to the fact that the voyeur/stalker sends her gifts at (im)perfect times when no one can catch them, and it makes the film that much more intense.

Fans that are looking for nudity and gory violence that have become cannon in many of Carpenter’s later work will find Someone’s Watching Me a bit disappointing, but if you are willing to take a look at how a master of the genre built himself into such a legendary status, then this film will pay off for you in spades.

The Deep Dive

*Warning: Plot Spoilers*

As the film opens, we see a room with a tape recorder and a telescope in it. A mysterious figure places a phone call and watches a woman through the telescope, basically taunting the listener to suicide. Leigh Michaels (played by Lauren Hutton) moves to LA and rents the same apartment where the previous tenant committed suicide.

She gets a job directing live television at a TV station and meets Sophie (Adrienne Barbeau). She later meets Paul Winkless (David Birney), and you can sense a budding relationship. Soon after, Leigh begins receiving mysterious phone calls stating that she has won a vacation, but it never comes — and the calls begin to take more of a sinister turn.

She also starts getting anonymous gifts like a telescope and a bathing suit in the mail from the company promising the vacation. She shares the letters and gifts with Paul, who seems more than a little concerned about them. Paul does some research and finds that the company does not exist.

Leigh calls the police as the phone calls continue to get stranger, but they tell her that there is nothing they can do about it. The caller continues to taunt her, even saying that he would meet her in her parking garage, but when she goes out there, no one is there. Sophie comes by. While looking through the telescope, she figures out that whoever is watching Leigh is in the complex across the street and lives in one of the higher apartments.

Paul is there as well and has set up an appointment with a police detective. Right before they leave, a letter finally arrives in which her tormentor expresses his intention to kill her. She takes it to the police, but they’re unable to do anything as there has been no physical attack or assault. Terrified, Leigh nevertheless decides to find the culprit herself.

After a late night call, Sophie, Paul and Leigh see a man watching her apartment through a telescope of his own. The police are called and the man is arrested, with all evidence seemingly pointing to him as her tormentor.

Feeling somewhat relieved, Leigh attempts to go back to a normal routine. She then begins to receive letters again but has not received any more calls. She is assured by the police that they got the right man and that there is nothing to worry about. Leigh still thinks that someone is stalking her and has Sophie over again. They think they may have pinpointed another apartment that the culprit may be in.

Leigh enters but finds no one at home. Through the telescope there, she sees So