Directed by Wes Craven. US. 1989. R. 109 minutes. Universal. 35mm.
Fri., March 21, 2014
“Shocker,” written and directed by Wes Craven in 1989, was the director’s attempt to launch a new horror franchise with Universal Pictures. Craven’s 1984 classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street” was a huge success, spawning four sequels and a television series. But due to bad business deals, Craven ended up making almost nothing off of the Elm Street films. For “Shocker” he would be making all the business deals upfront himself in an effort to correct these past mistakes. Craven’s hope was to create the next iconic horror villain, Horace Pinker. Pinker was meant to be the next Freddy Krueger. Unfortunately for Craven and Universal Pictures, the film was not a huge success when it was finally released in October of ’89 and disappeared rather quickly.
“Shocker” tells the story of Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg), a young man whose family is murdered by television repair man and serial killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi). When Pinker is finally caught and executed via electric chair, he manages to elude death by transforming himself into pure electricity, with the power to travel within televisions and other electronic devices, and to possess people. Jonathan Parker is the only person who is able to stop him.
“Shocker” is a very fun movie that has aged well. Mitch Pileggi’s larger than life performance and the film’s visual effects and dynamic set pieces warrant a re-visit. Many aspects of the movie were done incredibly well, and watching it you can see the makings of a franchise that never was but could have been. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see an under appreciated gem! (Nick Lombardo)