Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Shocker (1989)

Released the same year as The Horror Show, Shocker gives us an eerily similar plot, but with better results.  Much of the credit for this goes to Wes Craven [A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream] who wrote the screenplay and also directed the movie.  Like Horror Show, this movie has a detective who helps to put a maniac behind bars, and a maniac who vows his revenge even after death.  This is where the similarities end.  Craven's script is smarter and a bit darker with a dash of humor. [No surprise there.]  He also focuses the film on the detective's son who becomes the emotional center of the film.  If there is one weakness in the script it is when the killer stops switching bodies and jumps into the T.V. screen.  The son incomprehensibly follows in a move that is too Elm Street for my taste.  I know the audience is supposed to go along with this change of direction but this is when I started asking lots of questions which is never a good sign.

The cast is a bit uneven in Shocker but this can be blamed on budget constraints.  Veteran character actor Michael Murphy [Batman Returns, X-Men: Last Stand] is O.K. as Lt. Dan Parker but is nothing special.  Thankfully Peter Berg [Friday Night Lights, Battleship] is spot on as Parker's son Jonathan.  He makes us care what happens in this film and Shocker's success is mostly due to his performance.  Mitch Pileggi [X-Files] takes on the role of serial killer Horace Pinker.  He does a good job with this but his character feels a bit more like the Road Runner rather than a vicious killer.

Don't get me wrong, I like Shocker very much.  However, my dream movie, combining the best of both films, would be Wes Craven's script and direction as well as Peter Berg as the son.  Mix this with Horror Show's Lance Henriksen as the father, Brion James as the killer along with Harry Manfredini's soundtrack and it would be a total home run.  [Craven opted for late 80's hair metal in Shocker which doesn't work for me to establish the right mood for the film.]

The overall story contained in both of these films is screaming for a remake.  Since Craven has been redoing a lot of his early work, this may happen in the next few years. I'm still convinced that this story has not been told as well as it could be.  Both films leave me wanting more.

RATING: Very Good.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

No comments:

Post a Comment