Monday, June 12, 2017


Shocker –

I’ve tried to really like the Shocker multiple times, but every time I try to watch the movie I end up getting a headache.  It’s like Shocker perfectly encapsulates the fried brain MTV ADHD generation, it’s a constant barrage of violence and one liners, and plays fast and loose with its own rules.  Horace Pinker is a serial killer at the top of his game, chopping up innocent families in the night, leaving cops with no clues or leads, the very embodiment of savage bloodlust and senseless violence.  The main protagonist, Jonathan, develops the uncanny ability to see Horace through dreams, even interact with him as a wayward ghost in the real world.  Shocker comes from Wes Craven and the house that Freddy built, so it comes off as more than a little derivative of Nightmare on Elm Street, which I am okay with.  Jonathan is able to lead his foster father, who conveniently is a lead detective on the case to capture the mysterious serial killer, to his main hideout in a rundown electronics warehouse on the edge of the city, which really pisses Horace off.  It’s apparent that Horace is into some sort of black magic and is obsessed with technology and electricity.  His home looks like a Radio Shack from hell.  While in his jail cell he sets up this kind of dark magic ritual with his television begging the evil techno-god for power, which is promptly granted with a “you got it baby”.  

Forty minutes into the film and already so much crazy shit has happened, and it doesn’t feel like it hit its pace yet.  Pinker is captured and sent to the electric chair, moments before his execution he reveals to Jonathan that he is his real father and used to love beating him senseless until he was taken by foster care.  The evil Horace Pinker is executed, millions of volts of electrify rush through his body, but something goes wrong and he manages to slip from his chair as the prison lights flicker.  During the chaos that follows Horace escapes through newly developed body possession powers, leading to a cat and mouse chase between him and his son that roughly lasts the rest of the movie.  The violence from here on out can be considered cartoonish at best.  It reminded me of watching a live action Tom and Jerry flick or something where all the jokes are ugly and kind of fall flat and the soundtrack is nothing but 80’s cock rock guitar wails.  It’s almost like getting shitty 90's MTV beamed directly into your frontal lobe.  So many things happen in such a short period of time it all kind of becomes chaotic background noise as the script twists and turns multiple times before settling on the final battle. 

Jonathan’s dead girlfriend shows up to offer some help and shoot lasers out of her boobs at Horace, Jonathan battles Pinker while warping across television programs, and in the end is able to capture the high voltage serial killer in a television by timing a black out just right with the help of his football friends.  In a slasher movie genre twist Jonathan is the “final girl” and would appeal much more to female watchers who are into washboard abs, than teenage boys looking to peek at some boobage; there is none to be found here.  In this way Shocker might have something in common with NOES 2.  There seems to be that same Freddy/gender role reversal thing going on there, where the final girl is a guy that Freddy “want to possess”. 

The Shocker is a well filmed 90’s hair metal cheese fest that ultimately doesn’t leave me filled, mostly just makes my head hurt.  It comes off as a poor man’s Freddy, more of a black comedy than straight up horror, but I do find myself drawn back to it from time to time.  Maybe chaos is what I crave.  Horace Pinker is probably the most over the top one liner spewing serial killer in cinematic history, and there are rumors of a remake even if they pulled the plug on Shocker 2 back in the day.