Many horror fans sadly recall the date of August 30, 2015, it was the date Wes craven passed away, a man known for countless projects as writer, director, and producer, from his 1970s classics of The last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977), with his first true claim of fame with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and then again in 1996 with Scream with 3 more in the franchise to follow, however after all that the late 80s became a muddy time, mild success of the voodoo flick The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) and the often forgotten Shocker (1989). Wes knew he needed something to keep something in the horror genre mix, and he thought this production would become the anti-Freddy, the next in a realm invincible slasher killers, but horror fans panned it and critics slammed , however it’s proper this review and article shall evaluate that assessment. However, I must disclose something, for some reason this is a movie, that I have extensively collected a number of pieces from posters (both domestic and foreign), soundtrack and score in various formats, script and press kits, mainly because I am a completist, it will not affect my overall review.
Craven wanted to stay firmly in the horror genre, and seeing the style of Nightmare on Elm Street franchise with lame sequels, he wanted the character of Freddy to recapture those original sinister intentions, however rather than accept his thoughts, the studio went in a different direction, and hence Wes both wanted a new industry immortal killer and revisit some of his own elements he discovered with Freddy. He overlooked the trends that started the late 80s, first the slasher subgenre was waning horribly, but also those movies that used the electric chair and resurrection of it to reborn a killer, similar to the concept of electricity with regard to the Monster in Frankenstein (1931). If one is unsure of the films I am referencing Prison (1987), Destroyer (1988), The Chair (1988), and the two movies that proceeded Wes in the year The Horror Show (1989) and Nightmare Beach (1989), the market heavily flooded by the time of his release. He envisioned that his new movie early on, would become the new stomping grounds for a franchise, but an overwhelmed lengthy battle with MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) halted any momentum the movie had, and 13-resubmissions and numerous cuts losing minutes of story-line, dialogue and hence a choppy movie, attributing to the unexpected downfall. After finally surviving the dreaded MPAA the marketing was in place, reaching the horror magazines at the time namely Fangoria for issue #86 and #87 although gracing the same cover another Krueger article, showing the supremacy of the character influence among fans. Shortly after the initial release the receipts dwindled quickly, leaving Craven to abandon any future with Shocker and dwell on his future.
There might a good size portion of fans of the genre that either don’t know of this lesser known work of Wes’ or vaguely recall it, therefore let’s recap the plot layout for everyone. First noting that the script lacks the unique element often found in stories by Craven, but the tale involves a character named Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi (Polaroid )) who was killing whole families and has a town supposedly on edge although it doesn’t appear that way. After (Peter Berg) Jonathan’s involvement who has a strange telepathic connection to Horace unsure why, never mind move along, his girlfriend Allison (Cami Cooper), leaves the script and set production early, any slasher fan saw it coming from a mile away. Later on he’s arrested and was subsequently executed very quickly, though it was the cheapest looking cell and had his own television and jumper cables doing a weird ritual while feeding off of electricity. He magically morphs into electricity and able to go, for example through, through television because he was TV repairman, yep doesn’t make any sense. The cheap factor expounds through countless sets and locations, it’s actually disheartening and clearing things that weren’t working correctly. Often in these films it’s the killer versus a family or final girl, in this case it was the Jonathan aspiring football player and teammates not the ideal chosen opposition. By the end Horace transmits himself through television screens, and into other shows, for example Leave to Beaver, which lacks a connect to Wes’ intended target audience. In conclusion the story leaves a lot of blood spilled but does an excalibur like moment in the film with Jon’s rescuing from Horace’s clutches by his dead girlfriend, as Horace does body jumps too, trying to see if a sequel that’ll come to fruition.
It appears that Shocker, is more of an impulse decision, that ignored trends, and was made in haste, perhaps desperation, in other words dealing from a weakened hand. Wes misses the mark several times it often appears that the neighbors changed switching of the primary villain character with have another Freddy clone. The facts of the story and concept all fail, the promise shows but the supernatural elements, and plot definitely doesn’t have Wes’ best writing on display and his directing is haphazardly done, even though Scream Factory released a Blu-ray in 2015.
- On October 2nd, at 6:45 a.m. mass murderer Horace Pinker was put to death. Now, he’s really mad.
- Now he’s gone really mad
- From the director of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Serpent and the Rainbow.”
- No more Mr. Nice Guy
- Mass murderer Horace pinker was put to death. Then he really got mad.
IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10