Wes Craven's renown for many of his classic horror films, but Shocker is one of his better movies, despite getting little accord from most critics. It's got great thrills throughout, especially considering that the psychotic Horace Pinker (played by then-unknown Mitch Pileggi) can transform his spirit into other people to do his bidding, including at one unnerving point a police officer. This is a horror film for sure, but there are also some elements of dark humor thrown in for good measure. As if Pinker's unhinged persona wasn't a captivating proposition enough, "Shocker" even features cameos by Timothy Leary, Eugene Chadbourne (of underground band Shockabilly, oddly enough) and the godlike John Tesh. I couldn't ask for much more than that.
The budget for this film, in retrospect, does appear to have been somewhat low, but it only enhances the experience, giving it a street-level power. It's like comparing a lean 1980s Megadeth album to a one of the more recent, bloated Metallica albums. (Speaking of which, Megadeth offers up a pretty rocking rendition of an Alice Cooper song in the soundtrack; Iggy Pop and Paul Stanley contribute some songs as well.) Those high-production 1990s weren't a very good time for horror films anyway. Although this is an oversimplification, consider "Shocker" to be an indie-ish alternative to the glossy self-consciousness that's marred the horror genre of late. It should also be noted that the 1998 movie "Fallen" lifted more than one plot device from this film, so it's not like this film went unnoticed upon release. I'd definitely recommend that you buy "Shocker," or, if you're unsure, at the very least rent it. You will then know your destiny.