Shocker (1989/Blu-ray/Scream Factory) Review

Synopsis: A small town is being terrorized by a psychopath who repairs TV's by day and murders by night. After finding out the name and address of the police lieutenant hunting him down Horace Pinker reigns down his terror on Lt. Parker's family and slaughters his wife, daughter, and one of his sons. His other son, Jonathan has a strange connection to Pinker through his dreams, and he directs his father to Pinker's business, where a small group of officers enter.
Pinker escapes in a horrific spree, killing four officers and then targeting Jonathan's girlfriend, Alison. Another dream leads Jonathan and his dad to a residence where they catch Pinker in in the act of kidnapping. Pinker is arrested after a fight with Jonathan and sentenced to die in the electric chair. After being lit up in the electric chair instead of just dying Pinker becomes an unstoppable menace that can travel through electricity. It's now up to Jonathan to stop Pinker's unholy reign of terror and murder and finally put an end to his power!
Shocker is one of those films that I have not seen quite as much as some of the other Wes Craven films, but I can say that I have seen the poster art to this film hundreds of times on the VHS at the local video store while growing up. To me this is one of the more under appreciated films to come from Craven. It takes the supernatural sub-genre and slasher genre and mixes them together similar to what he did in A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). Which I could see some viewers looking at it as Craven going back to the well an banking on an older idea. To myself I don't look at it like that, I look at it as more of him taking that concept and putting a twist on it. Really I can name two other films that seemingly could be seen as ripping this film off and those are "Jason Goes To Hell" for the antagonist being able to travel from body to body and the other being "Ghost In The Machine" which has the antagonist being able to go through electricity. Coinsidently there was another film released also in 1989 of a murderer being able to travel through electricity as well and it was called "The Horror Show".
All of the other films that I mentioned as well as this one I truly enjoyed in one way or another. Now the only thing that really got me about Shocker was how the hell was he able to travel from body to body. The only answer I could come up with is that the body does produce a small level of electricity which could make sense I guess or he is simply a demon. I really enjoyed that this film takes it's time getting to Pinker's electrified reign of terror until around the 45 minute mark. It helped to build up the characters and actually make you feel for our main protagonist Jonathan Parker who was played by the talented Peter Berg. This film definitely delivers some great tension as well as some very good storytelling which builds up to a satisfying ending.
When it comes to the special effects and the gore this film does them both top notch. I especially like that when Pinker is forced outside of a body he looks like bad TV reception the weaker he gets. There is the iconic Pinker coming out of the TV scene which is great, but I actually like it when he escapes Jonathan's fathers body and shoots out like a satellite signal. The gore aspect is very well done and is as brutal as most slashers and comes off very realistic and not corny. As far as the originality of the kills go there really is not much of anything beyond typical slasher kills.
Overall this is a damn good slasher that goes beyond the stereotype of the traditional slasher and brings a fresh breath of air to the then dying sub-genre. Shocker does not bore you with a-typical characters and sub-standard storytelling. From start to finish I truly found myself enthralled by this simply great film and even enjoyed it's somewhat humorous scene of Pinker chasing Jonathan through television shows. If you have not seen this film yet I highly suggest you give it a chance because you may just like it like I do. Now if you have seen it and love it like I do then you need to upgrade to this fantastic blu-ray release from Scream Factory! Like a majority of their releases you get a fantastic audio and video presentation as well as some great special features.

-Daniel Lee

Director: Wes Craven
Lead Actor/Actress: Peter Berg, Mitch Pileggi
Genre: Horror
Blu-ray Release Year: 2015
Theatrical Release Year: 1989
Time Length: 109 mins.
Rating: R
Region Code: Region A
Release Company: Scream Factory
Website: www.shoutfactory.com