Dennis Franz

‘Body Double’ is an exploration, exaltation and condemnation of trash culture

It is obvious that Body Double (1984) is a combination of the plots of Vertigo (1958), Rear Window (1954) and Dial M for Murder (1955) by Alfred Hitchcock, and nearly as obvious to say that the film also takes cues from Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) and elements from various slasher films like Abel Ferrara’s The Driller Killer (1979). Unfortunately, a good number of critical pieces on Brian De Palma are obsessed with listing off his influences and coming to the inept conclusion that he is merely a Hitchcock imitator with a couple of clever cinematic tricks up his sleeve. Few writers take De Palma on his own terms, though select critics are finally coming around, and most ignore the way he constructs his complex thriller narratives, creates exquisite images that take advantage of cinema’s unique artistic properties, and underscores his films with dissenting politics. Body Double features all of these elements and more, making this film one of De Palma’s finest and most entertaining in his extensive filmography.

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