Shocker (1989)

shocker poster 1989 movie wes craven
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun concept

Takes too long to get to the part of the movie that feels original

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Shocker

Studio:  Alive Films

Genre(s):   Horror

Release Date(s):   October 27, 1989

MPAA Rating:   R

shocker killer horace pinker mitch pileggi electric chair

I’m coming back for you!

As a serial killer stalks the streets, Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg) feels a strange connection to the killer.  Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) finds Jonathan’s connection and now the two are caught up in a twisted game of cat-and-mouse.  When Horace is executed, he gains a supernatural power and now Horace could be anyone…and Jonathan is the only one who can stop him!

Written and directed by Wes Craven, Shocker is a horror-comedy.  The film was met with mixed reviews but a relatively strong box-office return.

Shocker was one of the early R-Rated pictures I saw in the theater.  My friend and I saw it on Thanksgiving night and were the only ones in the theater.  I remember thinking it was fun, but not great…and the movie still remains only a so-so film.

shocker alice camille cooper peter berg

Talk about a clingy ex-girlfriend

The story for Shocker is all over the place.  It was criticized for being derivative of A Nightmare on Elm Street (which it is), and it doesn’t feel like it utilizes the TV aspect of the movie enough.  It isn’t until the end of the film that the story begins to feel original with the characters jumping and running around the television channels.  It seems like the whole movie should have been like the last fifteen minutes of the film.

The cast is rather blasé.  Mitch Pileggi (who is better known for The X-Files) is not bad as the serial killer, but Michael Murphy and Peter Berg don’t do much as the leads.  Craven made the movie a family affair with himself, his daughter, and son all appearing in the movie and Ted Raimi has a small role as Pac Man.  Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street heroine Heather Langenkamp has a small role in the movie as well as one of Pinker’s victim.

shocker killer tv mitch pileggi

That girl from The Ring thinks she can steal my MO?

The movie banks a lot of its special effects on the end of the movie which has Pinker and Parker diving into the television.  The movie looks a like a cheaper version of Forrest Gump and you can see how much the special effects improved even in a few years.  It isn’t bad but it isn’t great (though it is the most memorable part of the film).

Shocker has its moments, but it is a rather forgettable film.  The concept and idea are good and now with the internet, it seems like an even better story could be developed.  Wes Craven had hit or miss moments…Shocker is probably closer to a miss and can be skipped by anyone who isn’t a fan of horror or Craven.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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