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Shocker

Michael Murphy , Mitch Pileggi , Wes Craven    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Wes Craven's horror pictures always have a few wild ideas knocking around inside them, and this 1989 slashfest is no exception. The electrocution of a mass murderer turns into a kind of cosmic jump-start: evil Horace Pinker is reborn as an elusive electronic phantom, capable of leaping from one body to another. (This trick is also used to good effect in The Hidden and Fallen.) Pinker's a stinker, and Craven was clearly trying to set up another franchise villain in the vein of his Nightmare on Elm Street champ, Freddy Krueger--perhaps a bit too baldly. However, amidst the mayhem, the film's real subject is the poisonous presence of mass media, as Pinker (played by The X-Files' Mitch Pileggi) insinuates himself as a free-floating spirit run amok in television itself. In its own pulp way, Shocker gets at the heart of media-culture inanity quicker than a ten-week college class on the subject, and although Craven occasionally lapses into generic bloodletting, he always snaps right back with some crazy angle on the TV nation. The hero is played by a young Peter Berg, the Chicago Hope star who would go on to direct his own shocker, Very Bad Things. Shocker failed to catch on with audiences (somewhere there's a warehouse full of unsold Horace Pinker action figures), but it's definitely worth a look for horror fans. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated classic! Jan. 14 2004
Format:DVD
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Craven's Best films. Nov. 28 2002
Format:DVD
There's a serial killer by the name of Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi), who enjoys stalking Famillies and then Kills them. When those heinous crimes are been going for months, a young Athlete named Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg) starts dreaming and having contact with the Killer through bizarre dreams. After Jonathan and his step-father (Micheal Murphy) caught the killer. Before the murderer dies in a electric chair, Pinker transforms himself into a terrifying energy source by Needing Power and Going into Human Bodies for his Immortality. Now, it's only Jonathan could him and fight this powerful demon.
Written and Directed by Wes Craven (Scream Trilogy, The Last House on the Left, The Serpent and the Rainbow) made a very entertaining supernatural thriller, which the Director actually basically remade his own-A Nightmare on Elm Street with Hi-Tech Visual Effects with a Heavy Metal score and also a Jolting dark sense of humor. Not many critics love this film (Expect for the late-Gene Siskel, who loved this movie) and this film has become a Cult Classic on Video. There's good performances from the Cast and an Neat Direction by Craven, makes this worth seeing. DVD has an fine anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an good Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound. There's not much extras but if you are a fan of Craven's, this is Worth Buying. Grade:A.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soak the sponge, and strap him down! Oct. 22 2002
By chatchi
Format:DVD
Capital Punishment has always been a sensitive subject in the movie industry. Speak in favor of it, you alienate one audience - speak against it, alienate another. Wes Craven's "Shocker" decides (wisely) to walk the fine line between the two viewpoints. Yes, the electric kills our most evil criminals, but it doesn't kill them all!

Horace Pinker (Skinner from "X-Files") is sent to the electric chair, but this serial killer has other plans! Horace uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player (Peter Berg) who turned him in to the police. By traveling through electrical wires, Horace Pinker knows no boundaries - he is THE SHOCKER!

PIVOTAL SCENE: When Pinker and Peter Berg fight *inside* a television set, and jump from channel to channel. Brilliant!

Backed by Megadeth's admirable cover of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy", this movie succeeds in every way that "The Green Mile" failed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocker soundtrack also March 13 2000
By A Customer
Format:DVD
The soundtrack for this movie with ALL the songs on it isn't available anymore, it's out of print but..I found it in a cut out bin at Tower records so if your looking for it as I was..look there! It's awesome by the way and the movie is diffently a keeper!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 80's horror Nov. 3 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is an awesome movie with a great soundtrack to go with it. Great special affects and a good storyline.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely one of Wes Craven's best films! Aug. 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I love the movie Shocker and feel it deserved a second chance. Though the serial killer character of Horace Pinker is not Freddy Krueger, he still is just as terrifying and the films is just as good as Craven's A Nightmare of Elm Steet(and definitely better than its sequels). Mitch Pileggi of X-Files gives a wonderfully scary performance as Tv repairman/serial killer Horace Pinker. I think it definitely deseres a look by Craven and just plain Horror fans alike. So in response to Mr. Horton's review above, I would love to get my hands on some Horace Pinker action figures. What a great idea!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I thought it was an awsome movie April 1 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The story line was great and it kept me jumping. The TV clips it showed put together w/ the sound track was well put together. I definately could watch this movie again.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Enlightening film
Firstly this film doesn't insinuate that the experience will be serious. The sound effects are slapstick, the acting cheesy and the happenings hilarious. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Michael Twardowski
4.0 out of 5 stars The Movie Isnt As The Name Says!!!!
Even with the title SHOCKER, it has nothing to do with the rating of the film! I like it. Sure, it's not the best thing Wes Craven has done, and it's very hard to scare me at all,... Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by Micheal Hunt
1.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment for the retarded
I remember seeing this film in theaters way back in the day. I laughed then. I saw it recently at a friend's house and can't believe Wes Craven's career didn't end with this... Read more
Published on April 13 2004 by Johny Bottom
2.0 out of 5 stars TV Is Hazardous To Your Health
When Wes Craven first released "A Nightmare On Elm Street" back in 1984, he may or may not of known how the world of dreams would impact his career from this point on. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2003 by Barry
1.0 out of 5 stars Evil Skinner+recycled Craven plot=bad horror film jackpot
I imagine that every so often, when he remembers that he starred in "Shocker," Mitch Pileggi has to excuse himself and go sob quietly in a corner. It's okay, Mitch. We forgive you. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by jenbird
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Craven's best, but worth a look
This 1989 horror flick directed by Wes Craven (Last House on the Left, Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street) is far from Craven's finest hour, but it is still worth a look for... Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2003 by N. Durham
4.0 out of 5 stars Finger licking good
Shocker says "finger licking good" after he bites off the fingers of a security gurard. Now thats comedy!!! Read more
Published on July 28 2003 by Tim
1.0 out of 5 stars I doubt ill ever see worse
Could this film have been made any worse?I think not.Its just way too funny to be considered a horror. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2002 by Charles Bronson
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat amusing, but too silly.
Apparently, Peter Berg stars as a college football star whose foster family is killed by Horace Pinker, a deranged killer who worships television. Read more
Published on March 31 2002 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Long
Wes Craven's shocker may look good, but it isn't! The movie is nearly 2 hours long and is so drawn out that interest will fade in about half an hour. Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2001 by S. Calabro
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