The next in line of established directors we are going to poop on is Wes Craven. Now I am well aware of the fact that every actor and director has a stain in their career, just like every other person in the world (with the exception of Worsemovies crew), and that’s fine with me. But when someone tries to rip off himself just a couple of years after having a huge success, it just can’t be forgiven that easily. Don’t let the title fools you – Shocker is shockingly bad!

Get ready to be shockedGet ready to be shocked

First scene reveals to us that there is already the mysterious killer who claimed another victims and then mysteriously disappeared. Actually, we can see the killer cleaning of blood his army knife while watching news report about him. Talk about egoism. On the other side of a town (or perhaps nearby, who knows) local jock Jonathan (played by Peter Berg) is watching news as well. Jonathan is stereotypical kind of jock – he plays football, he is good-looking, girls like him, he uses his penis instead of brain… But with one tiny difference – he is a complete brainless moron. Hm or does it qualifies as a difference? I am having second thoughts now. Anyway, after being pressured by his coach, Jonathan decides to focus on his game and show everyone what he is
capable of. So he runs with ball (and his head) into field goal giving himself a concussion. That might be a good explanation for his dream about some bald guy killing his entire family. Or was it just a dream? You see, Jonathan was sleeping at his girlfriend Alison (played by Cami Cooper) when her phone rang. It was his father Lt. Don Parker (played by Michael Murphy) who is working on the case of bizarre murders. Apparently, a killer slaughtered Don’s wife and two foster children, leaving alive only Jonathan, who is himself foster child as well. So overall we got 6-7 confirmed kills in first 10 minutes of the movie. The plot thickens.

MoronWhat’s that spell? A moron!

What trained inspectors have missed Jonathan had seen immediately…in his dream. Yup he dreamed of murderer’s van with name and address written on it. How convenient! He tells that to his father and off they go, breaking into some guy’s TV repair shop. It turns out it was a lucky guess since they found there traces of practicing black magic and animal sacrificing. They also found owner and slasher himself – Horace Pinker. Well not actually found. They didn’t see him despite the fact he managed to kill 4 of Lt Don’s men. Police made a description of slasher based on Jonathan’s dream, which must be some kind of exception in history of investigating. This caused Horace to become pissed off and takes on revenge by killing Alison. Now it is personal! Dead family members were just to set wheels in motion.

He looks like he has seen a ghostHe looks like he has seen a ghost

Jonathan has a plan. He will be using his dreams to find out where Horace will strike next and instructs his friend Rhino (played by Richard Brooks) to wake him up when things go too serious. Sounds familiar? Anyway, the plan worked. He got exact address, faced and evaded Horace (played by Mitch Pileggi) moments before being slashed to pieces. With the help of his father and police squad they manage to arrest Horace. While waiting for execution (I don’t recall any trial was going on before this) prison guards find Horace plugged to and speaking to TV in his cell (having a TV was the last Horace’s wish). Hm why is that? After TV burned out they decide it is time plug Horace onto electric chair. Even the execution couldn’t have gone flawless. Doctor got knocked away onto her ass, while executioner himself was fried to death. Horace’s body just vaporized itself, leaving behind only prisoner’s uniform. So that settles it, it seems. Or does it? Another strange thing occurs. While two cops were driving shocked (heh shocked) Doctor (played by Janne K. Peters) she suddenly woke up, started licking them and forcing them to drive into gasoline truck. Oh will we find at all any trace of sense in this movie?

Apparently not! Now Alison comes to Jonathan’s dream to warn him about the return of Horace, imminent slaughter and to give him her necklace which is apparently the only thing that can be used as a weapon against Horace. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, her prophecy came true sooner than Jonathan expected since he becomes a target of everyone who meets him (I myself had a desire to punch him in his retarded face). First, policeman chased Jonathan to shoot him, but instead he shot a random jogger while lying wounded on the ground. Little girl comes to help a jogger, becomes evil, spits him, and starts chasing Jonathan with a bulldozer. Not a toy, a real bulldozer. WTF are we watching now? Invasion of body snatchers on the Elm Street?

 

Of course, Jonathan was strong enough to overpower the little girl and knock her on the ground. And now it is time for a secret weapon. Jonathan throws the necklace Alison gave him. Girl starts screaming, bad effects occur and voila – Horace’s ghost is out and kicking. He takes over a body of girl’s mother just by plain jumping into her. Feeling uncomfortable in woman’s body Horace decides to takeover a body of nearby worker who came running to help. There is a lesson here: Never give a help to complete stranger or else your body and soul could end up taken over by strange entity. Worker disposes of necklace by throwing it in a lake on pick-axe, thus leaving Jonathan unarmed and helpless. But Jonathan manages to immobilize Horace by kicking him in the face.  Just once. And then he runs away. Pussy!

 

Escaped convictEscaped convict

Like some gossip woman Jonathan runs to coach Cooper (played by Sam Scarber) and his teammates, and tells them everything, not knowing that Horace is eavesdropping on them from behind. Stupid thing to do because he made targets of his friends just by mere speaking to them. He goes home where he finds his coach already possessed and waiting for him (meanwhile Horace killed some nerdy guy to pass the time). After a fight (which rips off many scenes from Shining), With the help of Alison’s ghost, Jonathan manages to convince coach to resist Horace’s presence. Even that didn’t go as planned since coach had enough mental strength just to kill himself. Poor Jonathan, his brain will get short circuit. Shocker? Electricity? Circuit? Do you get it? Muahahaha

 

But that is not enough to stop Shocker. In another scene with ridiculous effects, Horace manages to escape by going through electric plug into the wall. Now he could be anywhere! As usual, cops came up too late to see the real culprit but not too late to arrest Jonathan. Hey they found him standing over the coach’s dead body, with no witnesses to prove his innocence (testimony of ghost of dead girlfriend would not hold on any court in the world. Hm except maybe in Serbia). Anyway, Horace takes over the body of Lt Dan who tries to shoot Jonathan while he was on backseat of police car. Dumb thing to do since it just gave Jonathan an opportunity to escape.

Stay plugged inStay plugged in

That scene marks the beginning of the grand finale. Alison appears in Jonathan’s dream and gives him AGAIN her necklace. I guess he couldn’t swim in real life. Also, our hero has another brilliant plan. He sends Rhino and his friends to destroy town’s power supply at midnight while he tries to lure Horace to face him inside TV. Then we get 30 minutes of most WTF scenes in movie industry consisted of chasing each other through different TV shows, electrical appliances, chairs and such, Jonathan’s control over Horace through TV remote in a manner of Super Mario player (?), big confrontation between them where we learn that Horace is Jonathan’s biological father (no further explanation was given)… As expected, plan didn’t go well as both of them ended up captured into TV in the moment Rhino had power supply destroyed. But Jonathan has had an ace up to his sleeve – Alison’s necklace. While Horace was literally paused with TV remote Jonathan took an opportunity to hang necklace onto camera which was filming them and return to real world through camera’s lens, thus leaving poor Horace to disintegrate himself. Ending scene shows up that Jonathan has lost his mind since he started looking and laughing at the stars, not minding his dead friends. A truly happy end.

 

Conclusion: The biggest problem with the movie is that Craven tries to make Horace Pinker the next Freddy Krueger, which just doesn’t happen. He cracks one-liners like Freddy and has supernatural powers, but unlike Krueger he has no personality and just sucks out loud. He isn’t scary or intimidating, his jokes are extremely lame and cheesy, and Mitch Pileggi is totally and completely wrong for the role. I can’t put all the blame on Pileggi though as I don’t think it would make any difference who played the part. The character is just horrible in general and I don’t think that there are many (if any) fans out there who think that Horace Pinker is the coolest horror movie villain in the history of film. Another huge flaw is the fact that the movie is just hokey and parts of it don’t make a great deal of sense.  Why does Jonathan’s girlfriend come back as a ghost? How the hell did Horace make a deal with Satan that allowed him to gain electrical powers (it isn’t like the Devil is in the phone-book and I think that he would have a lot more better things to do than to  help some schmoe TV repairman like Horace get super powers)?  How does being able to manipulate electricity allow Horace to posses others? What is the secret of Alison’s necklace? These are just a few of the many things that don’t really make a great deal of sense. About the only good thing that I can say about Shocker is that it has an awesome soundtrack. I don’t know what Craven was thinking when he wrote the script, but I have a feeling that in his mind he thought that it was going to be as big as Nightmare on Elm Street (God knows it rips it off enough as we have a wisecracking killer who must be brought into the “real world” to be beaten, a past connection with the killer and the protagonist’s parents, etc). Skip this one folks and just watch Nightmare on Elm Street instead, as that is what this movie desperately wants to be. Or at least watch House 3, which is rip off of Shocker and far better movie than the “original”.

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