When Scream Factory release Horror Show a couple years back all I kept thinking was that Sean Cunningham and Wes Craven came up with the same idea at the same time and then each took it in their own separate direction. Cunningham with Horror Show. Craven with Shocker. Now that presumed of course that I remember Shocker correctly, and while I will maintain that it is curious that the former Last House on the Left cohorts came up with somewhat similar storylines involving maniacal murderers come back from death, they truly are two separate movies. After watching Horror Show I said, “man, I think I like that much more than Shocker”. After watching Shocker again, this time with the full tilt boogie Collector’s edition from Scream Factory, I can safely say I’m a Shocker man all the way.
Why love Shocker? Let’s start with the obvious. The music. That’s right. The music is so damn good that they Scream Factory disc has a full featurette that discusses its origin including interviews with various metal musicians who played on it. I’ve included some of the track from YouTube so you can get a sampling, but immediately after watching the movie I hopped on Discogs and bought the LP (from Greece so it won’t get here for some time). Everything from super groups to Megadeth covering No More Mr. Nice Guy to Alice Cooper. Plug your finger in the electric socket and spray it with Aquanet!
Horace Pinker is a tremendously fun villain. While some of the effects are questionable, the dated look of tech horror gives the feature a certain charm. It makes it creepy and when it isn’t creepy it’s funny. Isn’t that all we ask for? Entertaining horror? Now Pinker is no Kruger. This must be certain. Craven created a badass, one liner delivery machine in Pinker. Mitch Pileggi, who was at Monster-Mania in Cherry Hill NJ when I attended, is a sound actor who knows his stuff, very physical and not afraid to jump right in… to your TV screen. The interviews on this disc affirm that he is a devoted actor who had fun creating Pinker.
I think the thing that strikes me the most is that Shocker is unrelenting. I remember loving the TV spots and the poster and thinking that this was just a fun horror flick, but when it comes down to it, Shocker is mean-spirited. You can’t believe who dies, how soon they die and once you’re done processing that death, SOMEONE ELSE DIES THAT COULDN’T POSSIBLY DIE! It really throws you off. While it has a hard heart, it isn’t without it’s completely gonzo moments and continuity crazies. There are times where you’ll shake your head while watching Shocker. The end sequence is a stretch to be sure, but I personally didn’t care. I was too busy headbanging, having fun and dreaming of the day when I could buy a console TV and put a flat screen in it.
You can pick up the Collector’s Edition of Shocker fromScream Factory now. Compare it to Horror Show and most important of all, get your devil horns up in support of a ripping soundtrack. Don't believe me? Give it a listen in the playlist below. You have got to see this movie!
From Scream Factory:
About to be electrocuted for a catalog of heinous crimes, the unrepentant Horace Pinker transforms into a terrifying energy source. Only young athlete Jonathan Parker, with an uncanny connection to Pinker through bizarre dreams, can fight the powerful demon. The two dive in and out of television programs, chasing each other from channel to channel through stunning scenes of disaster, game shows and old reruns.
A blend of dazzling special effects and an electrifying soundtrack, SHOCKER stars Michael Murphy (X-Men: The Last Stand, Batman Returns), actor/director Peter Berg (actor Smokin’ Aces, director Lone Survivor), Cami Cooper (Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace) and Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files, Sons of Anarchy) as Horace Pinker.
Trailer not from Scream Factory
· NEW! Audio Commentary with director of photography Jacques Haitkin, co-producer Robert Engelman, and composer William Goldstein
· NEW! Cable Guy – An all-new interview with actor Mitch Pileggi
· NEW! Alison’s Adventures – An interview with actress Cami Cooper
· NEW! It’s Alive – An interview with executive producer Shep Gordon
· NEW! No More Mr. Nice Guy – The Music of “Shocker”, featuring interviews with music supervisor Desmond Child and soundtrack artists Bruce Kulik (KISS), Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS), Kane Roberts (ALICE COOPER) , and Dave Ellefson (MEGADETH)
· Audio Commentary with writer/director Wes Craven