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July 5, 2010

Flicks: Shocker (1989)

Shocker (1989)

Mark Mutterspaugh is strapped into Ol' Sparky and fried back in 1989.

Johnny (played by Peter Berg) lives in a world of wide plot holes and under-developed concepts before coming to the shocking revelation that (gasp!) his Daddy is none other than serial killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pillegi, Director Skinner in The X-Files). From the beginning of the film plot holes surface immediately. Johnny, from time to time, receives classic Waterboy styled hilarious concussions that send him rocketing into the "Dumb Zone". This place is much like Stephen King's Dead Zone (1980) but this Johnny, the WR, tackles a set of uprights then takes a knock to the noggin' and while unconscious enters the Dumb Zone.

Shocker (1989)

Peter Berg, as Johnny, searches for plot holes in Pinker's decrepit tv repair shop.

While Johnny is in the mysterious Dumb Zone he encounters the Marysville Slasher, Horace Pinker (Mitch Pillegi), brutally killing Johnny's foster family among others. The initial encounter between Pinker and the police is set in a decrepit makeshift tv repair warehouse overflowing with dozens of glowing screens. This scene is truly terrifying - with tones of Elliot Roth's Jigsaw nearly 20 years before the gory Saw (2006-2008) series was written. After chasing Pinker for a few more scenes, Johnny witnesses Pinker's botched execution and then chases Pinker around in his now electrified body-hoppin' state for another hour.

The movie she-is-very-bad but credit has to be given to Craven for the small things like including Iggy Pop and Megadeth covering Alice Cooper's 1973 "No More Mister Nice Guy" for the film's soundtrack and casting a deliriously funny Timothy Leary in a cameo as a tv preacher who needs "Dollars For Jesus". Also, during the final scenes Craven takes some real chances with editing and special effects to trap Pinker in a dying electrified world.

On the whole Shocker gets a few points for style but this really is one of the worst Wes Craven flicks ever made. Shocker is 11 minutes of brilliant film-making with seven minutes of the opening minutes and the last four more minutes of chases into "TV Zone" at the very end. The rest of the flick is 79 minutes of plot challenged action. For horror master Wes Craven whose attention to detail is legendary makes for long yawns and a lot of self-inflicted slaps to the forehead.

Wikipedia, Shocker
IMDB, Shocker (1989)
Flint Paper (DE), Shocker

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