I’m not sure about the hate this movie gets; do people not like having fun when watching flicks? Wes Craven’s Shocker is a perfect example of a fun time. It doesn’t take itself serious, the lead killer, played by X-Files star Mitch Pileggi, is fantastic and looks to be having a blast, and the movie has a scene where the hero and the villain are jumping through different TV channels, whilst blaring rock music blasts out your speakers. How can you not be grinning from ear to ear watching this movie! I love Shocker and the Scream Factory release on Blu-ray is the perfect time to get in on this movie. Okay, enough praise, let’s get on with the review…
RUN-TIME: 110 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1989
RELEASE DATE: Sept 8th, 2015
On October 2nd, at 6:45 a.m., mass murderer Horace Pinker was put to death… Now he’s really mad.
Master of horror Wes Craven (Scream, The Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street) directs this exciting visual treat which introduces a diabolical mass murderer who harnesses electricity for unimaginable killing powers.
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 actor/director Peter Berg (actor Smokin’ Aces, director Lone Survivor), Michael Murphy (X-Men: The Last Stand, Batman Returns), Ted Raimi (Evil Dead II, Candyman) and Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files, Sons of Anarchy) as Horace Pinker.
First things first, rest in peace to the wonderful director Wes Craven. I was heartbroken to hear the news of his passing on Aug 30th, 2015, but he can rest easy knowing his movies will live on for a lifetime and generations of future horror lovers can grow up with all the amazing classics he put out on film. You’ll be missed Wes, by everyone.
Okay, on to the review of the super awesome good time known as Shocker. It was forever since I saw this movie, all the way back when I had a VHS recorded copy from The Movie Network. I remember watching it over and over again, but I could not for the life of me remember the actual movie much. That all changed when Scream Factory released the Blu-ray Collector’s Edition. I popped the movie in and nostalgia flowed in and I was grinning from ear to ear for the entire 110 minute run time.
Let’s see if I can explain the plot enough to not spoil much, but also get you super excited to check it out. We start off the movie being introduced to a mysterious man fiddling with a TV, while reports of a killer at large plays in the background. Of course, this can only be Horace Pinker, the sadistic madman played so wonderfully by Mitch Pileggi. Next, we are introduced to Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg,) a hot shot football player, who for some unknown reason hasn’t slept with his hot girlfriend yet, even though they live in the same house and sleep in the same bed together. Anyway, Jonathan has a vivid dream of seeing his family murdered and meeting Pinker. He tells his cop father about it and they go after Horace. A few bodies later and Horace is strapped to the electric chair. Unfortunately for everyone, a few volts isn’t going to put Horace in the ground, as he has gained the power to use electricity to possess people’s bodies and move through electrical lines. Eventually he is able to go through TV’s, which gives us the awesome channel jumping scene I mentioned above, which reminded me a lot of another wonderful movie called Waxwork II: Lost in Time. Jonathan is determined to catch Pinker and stop his rampage once and for all, but not without some help from both the living and the dead.
Shocker is all sorts of awesome. It’s a cheesy horror film, with some laughs, some gore, and some fantastic acting from Mitch Pileggi. The movie is certainly going to remind you of another Wes Craven classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street, especially with all the dream sequences, but hey, if anyone can steal from that classic, it might as well be the man who created it.
I can kind of understand why the movie wasn’t that well received back in the day. It’s certainly not a straight forward slasher flick, as there are a lot of fantastical scenes. You have a TV-hopping spirit possessing people left right and center, plus a ghost who is haunting Jonathan and trying to help him save the day. It would’ve definitely turned off hardcore horror fans at the time, but it’s nice to see Shocker being given the credit it deserves today. It’s just a damn good time, plain and simple. Honestly, what more can you ask for from one of the greatest horror director’s of all time?
Scream Factory has released Shocker in a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with plenty of special features and wonderful looking video and audio. The video quality alone is worth the purchase, as I can’t imagine this movie having ever looked this good. I have no negatives to say about the quality, both in terms of video and audio, which is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. Great job Scream Factory.
If you’re a fan of special features, you’re going to be happy with this release. Sadly, no Wes Craven involved with the new features, which is completely understandable. However, you do get plenty of other goodies to dig into. You get an all new interview with Mitch Pileggi, who basically says this is one of the most fun films he has worked on. There are also interviews with actress Cami Cooper, musicians from the film and plenty of audio commentaries to go through. A lot of the features average around the 18 minute mark, with the longest being 26 minutes (The Music of “Shocker.”) You’re going to be quite a while with this flick, so if you love the movie, you’ll be very happy with the disc.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- 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 Kulick (KISS), Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS), Kane Roberts (ALICE COOPER), and Dave Ellefson (MEGADETH)
- Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Wes Craven
- 2 Vintage Making Of SHOCKER Featurettes Including An interview With Wes Craven
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Radio Spots
- Original Storyboard Gallery
- Still Gallery
Wes Craven’s Shocker wasn’t a huge hit in the day, but I like to think that people have warmed up to this much-deserved classic. It’s a blast to watch, with plenty of crazy moments and Scream Factory’s Blu-ray is highly recommended. You got to pick this up today or else Horace Pinker is going to come through your TV and make you take a ride in his Volts Wagon! (Yes, that’s from the movie and it’s even more awesome sounding coming from Horace.)