User Reviews (77)

  • BA_Harrison6 February 2017
    Shockingly awful.
    Shocker sees horror director Wes Craven attempting (but failing) to replicate the success he enjoyed with A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), bringing to the screen another supernatural psycho in the form of serial killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi), who uses black magic to free his spirit as he is being zapped in the electric chair. Transferring from body to body, Pinker is able to continue his grisly murder spree, AND have a little fun with Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg), the high school football star who was instrumental in Pinker's arrest.

    Craven not only rips off his own ideas, using dreams as a major plot device, but also mimics the horrible tongue-in-cheek style of the later Elm Street movies, his killer a wisecracking figure unable to be destroyed by normal means. The result is a real stinker of a movie, boasting a lousy central performance from Berg (whose whiny nasal delivery is unbearable), lots of dreadful visual effects, and a plot that makes very little sense, all capped off with a sequence that is easily one of the worst things Craven has ever committed to film (and that's saying something): a battle that takes place inside a television set, with Pinker and Jonathan travelling through several TV shows, the plucky high-schooler eventually using the TV remote to control his enemy. I'm not entirely sure what Craven was aiming for, but the result is embarrassing in the extreme—even worse than BB the robot in Deadly Friend.

    N.B. I just remembered the moment where Pinker disguises himself as a massage chair, which is as bad as, if not worse than, the TV channel hopping scene.
  • tdrish23 January 2017
    silly, unique, slick...but not scary
    By the time Shocker came around way back in 1989, it was clear that Wes Craven was getting burnt out on all his hard work. This movie does have a lot of creativity, and other key factors that help make it a good movie, however,there are other key elements that drag it down to hell. My first complaint with Shocker...way too many special effects. I'm talking special effects, after special effects, to more needless special effects, to the fact that it's just pure silliness that Craven finds the need to abuse all these special effects. Examples include hero Jonathan Parker falling into a bed full of water ( a dream sequence never explained), to psycho killer Horace Pinker coming to life as a human recliner ( you think that's funny, you have to actually see it!) Shocker is not a bad movie to watch, it's certainly not boring, however, Craven has several other titles, earlier titles I may mention, that are worth having a look before you dive into this fest. I'm strongly advising this for fans only. If you've never watched a Wes Craven movie, I strongly recommend Invitation To Hell or A Nightmare On Elm Street. This one came a year after The Serpent And The Rainbow ( my personal Craven favorite!), and it's literally night and day compared to Shocker. Shocker also lacks a whole lot of logic, but if you're not an over thinker like me, you just may be lucky enough to over look it. I think it's quite funny, just to point out, that the cops in this movie cannot seem to find Horace Pinker, the killer, despite the fact that he's driving around in a TV repairman truck with his name clearly visible right on the side of the truck. They have to depend on someone who is...actually dreaming about the killings before they even happen. ( What is it with Craven and the whole dream thing, anyways?) Surprisingly violent for a Wes Craven film, this one also takes a broad approach into the mind of serial killer, before and after his death on the electric chair. When he is executed, well, they just did him a favor. Now he's a disembodied entity, going through power panels, and even using other people to inhibit through an actual possession. ( Possessing a child? You just lost a star, Wes!) A whole lot of silliness in this one, especially towards the end of the movie, when they're feuding through different TV channels, different TV shows, and different movies. ( Sound different? IT IS!) It's slick, silly, unique, but it lacks a whole lot of scares that we're so used to with a movie written and directed by's almost a letdown. Rest In Peace Wes are truly missed by many ( and I'm one of them.)
  • Leofwine_draca18 December 2016
    Quirky horror re-tread is difficult not to enjoy
    Warning: Spoilers
    An uneven blend of horror and comedy, this film is definitely entertaining if not exactly good. Directed by Wes Craven, who has had years of experience behind him now, the film seems to have stolen from a number of sources - HOUSE, THE EVIL DEAD, and the director's own A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. However, the influences blend together into a pleasing film which is virtually a remake of NIGHTMARE, but with a different 'monster' and an opportunity for better special effects. The layout of the film is erratic. It starts off as a standard slasher film, before becoming an undead electrified killer on the loose film (shades of HOUSE 3 here) and then a strange weird film which is quite unlike anything I've seen before, where the opponents fight through the television sets. The final part of the film is by far the most original and the best bit.

    The acting is pretty much standard here, but all involved acquit themselves nicely with their roles and there are some interesting names to look out for. The main hero, played by Peter Berg (who reminds me of a young Bill Paxton) is pretty much adequate in his role, and is not given much to do except fight a lot and provide a character for the rest of the film to centre around. Interestingly the actor has now gone on to directing, namely VERY BAD THINGS and BATTLESHIP. However, the role of Horace Pinker was given to a then relatively unknown actor, Mitch Pileggi, who is better known these days as Assistant Director Walker Skinner from THE X-FILES! It was a big surprise to see good old Skinner ripping off people's fingers and generally being an all round bad guy, and it makes for entertaining viewing. In fact Pileggi's wild overacting makes the film worth watching, he's hilarious in his role.

    Added to this is a cameo from NIGHTMARE regular Heather Lagenkamp as a victim (what else?) and Ted Raimi as of Parker's friends. Raimi goes his usual way, getting killed in a most bloody fashion! Horace Pinker is pretty much a standard maniac bloke, stabbing people with a big knife, but halfway through the film he also starts spewing a ton of Freddy Krueger-inspired wisecracks, such as biting off a man's fingers and shouting "finger licking good!". As these lines are delivered by Pilegge with gusto I couldn't help laughing. The film also has some excellent special effects, especially when Pinker runs around in a fuzzy, electric-type form, and these are well worth watching for. The film is a derivative affair, but it's handled with pace, and there is a lot of action in it (just watch for the extended fight scene at the end, where the pair practice wrestling moves on each other!) and if you're in the right goofy mood then you'll probably enjoy it like I did. It's quite difficult not to enjoy really.
  • ivo-cobra81 November 2016
    I love this flick to death - A Wes Craven's underrated classic horror flick!
    Shocker (1989) is a master of horror Wes Craven's underrated excellent horror flick, that I do believe is a classic and I love it to death! It is my third favorite Wes Craven's horror flick. This movie is a memories on my childhood, I grew up watching this movie as a kid. The same thing that was with the Chinese director John Woo by me, I had no idea who was Wes Craven or that it was directed by him. The only movie I memorized by Wes was Scream, which become my favorite film when I was 15 years old, I watched Scream with my mom and even my mom liked Scream. I found out a year later about this film Shocker, but version I had on VHS was extremely horrible lousy picture quality and awful audio. The subtitles were extreme lousy dubbed so I couldn't watch this film. Now recently I got this film on Blu-ray and I really had a blast watching this horror film!

    A Nightmare on Elm Street and New Nightmare are my favorite Wes Craven's horror films that I love to death and Shocker is my third favorite horror film is my number 3 Wes Craven's slasher horror flick, that I love to death! This amazing stylish horror film from the late 80's is about a diabolical mass murderer who harness electricity for unimaginable killing powers. Why I love this film? because Horace Pinker is a bad ass, kick-ass villain! The film simply reminds me on A Nightmare on Elm Street the original flick. Btw I hate horror idiotic icon Michael Myers from Halloween franchise, I hate him and I hate Jason Voorhees the same as Myers, but Horace Pinker could kick both of their assess! I love this film because in any horror film that I remember the main hero of the whole film is a kick ass guy who is likable decent male hero character trough whole film! In every horror film that I remember the main hero is always some stupid girl, but Wes tried something else which it worked.

    You have a great horror, likable characters, a lot's of action, a lot of fantasy in it and a lot of fun. This is Peter Berg's best film in his whole career which is an awesome classic! Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) from A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite number 1 horror icon heroine but Jonathan Parker is my favorite number 1 horror icon which I love him to death.

    I love the music scores from Megadeth and The Dudes of Wrath, I love soundtracks No More Mr. Nice Guy and shocker to death.

    My favorite scene is when Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) posses the body of 9 year old girl and drives an excavator and try's to kill Jonathan which that scene was incredible awesome! Horace posses the body of Lt. Don Parker (Michael Murphy) and hunts down Jonathan (Peter Berg) and shots with a gun on him, missing him and they both fight face off on a tower when they both climbing up and Don Parker kick's him away.

    Ghost Alison Clemens (Camille Cooper) kick's Horace's spirit away from Jonathan.

    Jonathan face's off Horace him self and fight's him off and finally beat's him in his own game, like Nancy did and he survives.

    The cast is very solid in here: Mitch Pileggi gave a solid performance, Peter Berg's best underrated role, Camille Cooper is very underrated and excellent actress in here.

    You also have Ted Raimi in here and Heather Langenkamp in a cameo scene as Horace's Victim.

    Wes Craven did amazing job as script writer and director you have a solid script and awesome dialogue in the film.

    R.I.P. - Wes Craven (1939 - 2015) I really miss you and thank you for all the Freddy movies, thank you for all horror franchise and movies like are: A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare, Scream, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker and The People Under the Stairs. I love you so much I wish you could done more horror movies I really love them.

    Overall: I love Shocker to death and it is my third favorite Wes Craven's horror film! The rating is a 10/10 for me.

    Shocker (also known as Wes Craven's Shocker) is a 1989 American horror film written and directed by Wes Craven. It stars Michael Murphy, Peter Berg, and Mitch Pileggi as the evil antagonist Horace Pinker

    10/10 Grade: Bad Ass Seal Of Approval Studio: Universal Pictures, Alive Films Starring: Michael Murphy, Peter Berg, Cami Cooper, Mitch Pileggi, Sam Scarber, Richard Brooks, Ted Raimi, Heather Langenkamp, Lindsay Parker, Janne Peters Director: Wes Craven Producers: Warren Chadwick, Wes Craven, Bob Engelman, Peter Foster, Shep Gordon, Barin Kumar, Marianne Maddalena Screenplay: Wes Craven Rated: R Running Time: 1 Hr. 50 Mins. Budget: $5.000.000 Box Office: $16,554,699
  • Michael_Elliott25 October 2015
    A Mess That Just Doesn't Come Together
    Shocker (1989)

    ** (out of 4)

    Disappointing Wes Craven shocker about college football player Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg) who after a bump on the head witnesses a murder as it is happening. He tells his cop father (Michael Murphy) and before long they're able to capture the serial killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi). After dying in the electric chair the killer manages to force his spirit into the bodies of others via electricity.

    SHOCKER was meant for the horror legend as an attempt to start up a new series since the Freddy Krueger character had gone into directions that he didn't really like. Sadly for Craven and the viewer the end result is somewhat of a mess. SHOCKER starts off decent enough but it quickly falls apart during it's second half and there are just way too many problems for the film to work.

    I think the majority of the blame has to go towards Craven's screenplay. The film starts off as some sort of weird thriller with elements of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The entire thing dealing with Jonathan seeing the killer just didn't work. To make matters worse is that the second half with the spirit jumping is just downright stupid and it never becomes believable to the point where you can get caught up in what's going on. Another problem is that the film clocks in at 109 minutes, which is about twenty minutes to long. There are so many stretches of boring stuff that you can't help but wish Craven had cut it down.

    Both Berg and Murphy deliver good performances and their relationship is certainly the best thing about the story and it helps keep you somewhat entertained. Pileggi easily steals the picture as the foul serial killer and it's really too bad the entire film wasn't based around him. Once the spirit jumping happens it takes the actor out of the material and the film flat-lines. SHOCKER features a nice score and some interesting ideas but they just never come together.
  • Tango and Cash9 September 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    Oh yeah! Four terrible movies in a row - all thanks to my curiosity and iTunes rentals. "Shocker" was the 4th one.

    I wasn't expecting "Citizen Kane," but nothing whatsoever in this movie made sense. Well, maybe some parts did but I couldn't watch more than 30 minutes of it. It's just such a stupid movie, and I tried to hang in there for the camp and the B-movie pathos, but it was too bad. Awful movie, very surprised it has a 5.3 instead of a 3.5 rating.

    Football players hurts himself. Then he is able to see the future. Bingo!

    The worst serial killer in American history is in jail, on death row - and they allow him to have candles, a television, and somehow jumper cables or something in there! Bingo!! Cha-ching!! Because that makes sense.

    My favorite part of the first 30 minutes though was when 7 or 8 policemen chase the physically handicapped villain. He burns past them like Usain Bolt. Cha-ching!! Dear lord, I wonder what absurdities come in the next hour of the movie. I use "wonder" loosely, however, because I will never watch this piece of trash again. I paid $3.99 to rent it - worst money I have ever spent.

    You guys really like this movie? Like actually like it? It was unbearable to me after 20 minutes, one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. Forced myself to watch another 10 minutes, and I was done.

    "Shocker" - you are a very, very, very bad movie.
  • TheRedDeath302 August 2015
    Not Craven's Greatest Moment
    Warning: Spoilers
    I honestly believe that Wes Craven may be the greatest horror director of all time. It's not necessarily one movie that cements that view for me, but when looking at the career as a whole, I don't think you can match up any other director who has created as many true horror classics as Craven. In any career, though, there are bound to be a few missteps and SHOCKER just might be one of Craven's biggest, in my opinion.

    The movie is really just a half-hearted concoction created from bits and pieces of Craven's previous hits, in an obvious attempt to create another franchise. The seams really start showing in this creation, though, as I find that the weaknesses far outweigh any highlights.

    The movie centers on a young man, played by Peter Berg. Of course, it is a mite different to see a male lead in one of these films. Almost immediately we're reminded that this is the man who created Freddy as we're already in a dream world. Seems our young hero can "see" a serial killer committing his monstrous crimes. The plot takes an obvious course from there to the hero eventually assisting his cop foster father in bringing in the villain.

    We're already about halfway through the runtime when the plot switches altogether. The killer is executed by electric chair, but through some poorly explained "black magic", he becomes some sort of malevolent force, able to pass from body to body to continue his bloody killings until we get to the inevitable final showdown between hero and monster.

    The worst flaw, for me, in this movie was the script writing. I'm a big horror fan and, trust me, I get it....these movies are going to have some chinks in the armor. We're not supposed to think too hard, but this movie is a lesson in hackneyed plot design. Every twist and turn in the plot is precipitated by some thrown together coincidence. People and items just happen to be in the right places at the right times, and are connected to just the right people, so that the plot can continue along its' merry way without the writer having to put too much effort into explaining it all. That includes one of the most vital cogs in the whole design, the explanation of how this "transformation" was possible. You don't have to explain too much to me in a horror film, but give me some reason to believe in this monster's existence.

    As a Craven film, this plays out a bit like a remix of his greatest hits. It's as if he took all of the ingredients that made his previous movies successful and threw them in a blender. People seemed to like dreams in EM ST, so let's have a hero who sees the killer in dreams. His early films like LAST HOUSE and HILLS HAVE EYES were notoriously nasty slashers, so let's throw in some gruesome murder scenes. He had just done black magic in SERPENT & RAINBOW so let's pepper in some of that too. The list goes on. It started to feel like more effort went into finding success than creating success.

    I guess I don't have too much positive to say and that's a shame because Mr. Craven is a genius who has certainly created some of my favorite films ever, but I just wasn't impressed with this one.
  • aiden-938253 June 2015
    Shocker-A staple of my childhood
    I'm not the type of person who reviews movies on technical aspects. I do it based on entertainment. I LOVE Shocker. Its entertaining, fun with a great villain(Mitch Pilegi of X Files fame as the demonic TV repair man Horace Pinker) an incredibly likable hero(director Peter Berg as Jonathan Sparker) and directed by the great Wes Craven. Linker is a television repair man who through the use of black magic comes back from beyond the grave after a date with the electric chair. Now a ball of electric energy Horace can jump from not only person to person but television set to television set. Only young Jonathan and the ghost of his dead love and the heart necklace he bought her can stop the murderous electrical demon. Energetic, fun and at times very dark shocker is a great thrill ride from Wes Craven with a killer soundtrack. Ignore all the negativity and give it a try. Maybe you'll like it. He's nationwide now. No More Mr. Nice Guy.
  • GL843 April 2015
    Could've been better, but it's not bad
    Responsible for a ending a mass murderer's rampage, a teen finds himself and his friends the target of the killer's wrath as he returns from the grave to seek revenge and into a final showdown to end his killing spree.

    This turned out to be quite an enjoyable and somewhat entertaining entry. One of the better features is the manner in which hes eventually caught in the beginning as the backdrop of the reign of terror and his rampage through the city makes for a pretty effective start to this. That makes the early scenes line the police search at the repair-ship or the encounters among the family's is all rather fun and chilling as they all are built off that early storyline premise. That also works with the later scenes of him now being confronted directly and trying to outwit the killer through the neighborhood which is continued later on when the body-hopping part of the story kicks in. these are just as fun with the park chases being a lot more enjoyable and really fives this one quite a punch in the middle segments. These are enough to make for a rather enthralling time in the finale which is the film's crazies set of circumstances where they begin fighting through the different TV programs and movies which are so much fun and highly entertaining to see them in such classic moments and footage which just adds to the whole appeal of this one. As well, the whole sequence for the prison execution is incredibly fun with the actual execution and escape which makes for a wholly thrilling sequence that has plenty to like about it. These do manage to help overcome the few flaws present, which are enough to hold this down somewhat. The biggest problem here is the rather lame body-hopping storyline which is never explained or developed beyond just the limp which makes all of this poorly developed and quite haphazard. That feeling also ties into the special effects and fantasy part of the storyline as both of these are equally underwhelming since they tie into each other, the fantasy element driven along by the special effects to show the ghosts battling each other and them fighting through the TV shows. It looks back in execution and seems stupid in concept. The last problem here is the rather neutered gore on display, which is very noticeable since the kill count isn't very impressive and is all mostly found after-the-fact without really showing it on-camera. These do hurt it somewhat, but there's more than enough to knock this down somewhat.

    Rated R: Graphic Language, Violence and Brief Nudity.
  • steel_indigo19 November 2013
    Action, supernatural serial killer, some comedic moments
    Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this movie when it first came out and most people I knew did like the movie. It was unlike any other horror movie I had seen. The only problem I had with it was casting. I didn't like Peter Berg and even though he made a good attempt he was not lead material. Possibly if someone else had been cast in that part the movie would have done a lot better. It seems some missed the fact that Jonathan hit his head really hard while at practice in the first part of the movie. Afterward that is when he started having dreams and a psychic connection to the killer. You didn't see the police as much because the movie focused around Jonathan. Why, they give you a clue near the beginning of the movie about him being a foster child who was found beaten up and raised by the detective in the movie that has a melt down due to his family being killed. The connection, he raised the killers son. I didn't care much for that actor either. The link is because of the head injury and the fact that Pinker is Jonathan's real father. The touch of the supernatural made sense since it was a Wes Craven movie. It was totally his style of movie making so if you aren't a Wes Craven fan you might not like the movie. The body jumping was interesting, and the television scenes where they hop through show after show priceless. The body jumping was later copied in the movie The First Power, which came out a year later. I remember coming home from the movie thinking it wasn't the best movie ever made but I was entertained and thought Pileggi did a fine job in his part. I don't like him that well as a heavy but he did the part justice. The scenes with the lead character's girlfriend were really eerie and a part of the movie I liked the best. She was the aspect of good stepping in to protect her boyfriend from the evil influence of the killer. It isn't a movie to win awards but just to be entertained. If you like Wes Craven's style of movie making and campy horror you should like this one.
  • Nick708013 October 2013
    Review of an awesome film
    Warning: Spoilers
    Probably one of the craziest movies Wes Craven ever made, and one of the craziest movies ever.

    Now, i like many critically acclaimed movies that got bunch of awards and stuff, but i also love wild movies such as Shocker. This is one of those movies that i can always watch and never get bored by it. It's hard to list everything that i like about it; Heavy metal soundtrack, serial killer with a limp, bunch of hallucinations and nightmares throughout, final fight between hero and villain in TV world... It's just one hell of a movie.

    There is some gore, but instead of being torture porn like Saw or Hostel movies, it has its limits with violence and juicer scenes and it doesn't hurt the movie but actually helps a lot, cause you can watch it without feeling sick by on screen carnage and still have fun with it even if you are 100% gore hound.

    Story? Watch the movie and try to tell its story; In first part we have slasher that goes around neighborhood killing entire families, our main hero is actually son of the villain but he doesn't knows it at first (no sht), he has dreams about murders that his daddy commits, daddy kills son's new family and girlfriend, gets caught,burned to crisp and resurrects as electrical ghost not even minute after, then in second part of the movie we have main villain entering other people's bodies and goes after hero, hero starts seeing ghosts of his dead girlfriend and other people that villain killed, villain gets bored with his new ability and returns to his old hobby of killing families but this time by going through TV sets, hero goes after him and fights him through the bunch of different channels of the TV world while "Demon Bell" is playing in background and in the end traps him in TV and walks away into the night.

    Yep, that pretty much says it all.

    Acting and directing; Well,pretty much O.K. But then again, if somebody's gonna take this movie seriously then they will be very critical about these two things.

    Horror and scary scenes; Quite a lot, and they work.

    Soundtrack...Best part of the movie. Songs are awesome, my favorites are "Shocker" that opens the movie, "Love Temptation" that plays after funeral of Jonathan's family, "Demon Bell" that plays in the craziest and funniest scene in the movie-the TV world fight, and two ending songs, "Sword And Stone" and "Timeless Love". "Awakening" i also like but mostly just first part of it, i personally think that it would fit well with the scene where Jonathan is searching for necklace of his dead girlfriend through the lake. I don't know when or is it actually played in the movie though.

    Score; Also excellent. Both scary and sad in places when it's supposed to be. My favorite part of it is in scene where Jonathan dreams his dead girlfriend coming out of the lake and later when they kiss. Say what you want about Wes Craven, but he always could get few things right in (most of) his movies, and getting a score that would get desired reaction from audience is one thing that his movies always had. Just check out scores for Nightmare On Elm Street, Deadly Friend, Shocker and Scream.

    Problems with movie; Not much, except maybe the fact that MPAA have cut out some gorier parts, but it's not that noticeable when watching the movie so it doesn't bother me that much. Still, uncut version would be nice.

    Does this movie deserves better release and special edition? Hell yeah it does!

    My final opinion; Fun as hell movie, one my favorites of the era and from director, with one kick ass soundtrack that makes it even better.
  • jcbutthead8618 March 2013
    An Excellent,Underrated Horror Film. Wes Craven At His Best.
    Wes Craven's Shocker is one of the best Horror films of the late 80s and early 90s that deserves a second chance. A great mixture of Horror,Comedy,Wonderful direction, excellent soundtrack,great special effects and an unforgettable villain,Shocker is Wes Craven at his best an most underrated.

    Shocker tells the story of a college football player named Jonathan Parker(Peter Berg)who after a hard day of practice has a nightmare about a serial killer named Horace Pinker(Mitch Pileggi)who kills Jonathan's family and has been murdering families for months. Unfortunately,Jonathan's nightmare comes true. With Jonathan's help,Pinker captured by the police and sent to the electric chair and even though Pinker is electrocuted and dead,Pinker's soul is still loose thanks to black magic and electricity giving Pinker power to posses people's bodies and get revenge on Jonathan. Now Jonathan has to figure out how to stop Horace Pinker and get rid of Pinker once and for all.

    Wes Craven's Shocker was Craven's attempt to jump start another Horror film series that revolved around the character Horace Pinker that can rival Freddy Kruger and the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise,after Craven wasn't able to make money off the Elm Street films. Although Shocker made a profit at the box office,it wasn't enough to make a sequel or a series. But that doesn't stop Shocker from being the great, wonderful and Underrated Horror film that it is. The first ten minutes of the film set the tone for most of the film,giving us viewers a world where a city is on edge and Horace Pinker is murdering families during the night and the news and media shows us the horrifying images of Pinker's murders. While it is grounded in reality,Shocker also has nightmarish feel to it where the characters are not safe from Pinker's wrath and the way Craven shows violence in this film and his other films is brutal and harsh. What I also love about Shocker is the Comedy that Craven injects in the film especially when Pinker starts to possess people's bodies,because it's so over the top,insane and filled with maniacal energy and you think as a viewer that the film could not anymore crazier or insane. I also like the pot shots that Craven takes at the media and television where Craven makes fun of the media and their constant reporting on Pinker's whereabouts and that they're televisions always on and all over the place. You can say that Craven's exploration of the media was a precursor to his later films like New Nightmare and the Scream films. Horace Pinker is such a great memorable villain and is one of the most entertaining villains in a 1980s Horror film and is a classic invention from Wes Craven because Pinker is a killer who has a sadistic joy in killing people spitting out funny and insane one-liners and showing no remorse or feelings for what he does. Pinker is so over the top and off the wall you never knew what Pinker was going to do next and you can't talk him down. I believe that if Shocker was a box office hit Shocker would have gotten more sequels and Pinker could have been a major Horror icon and while Horace Pinker wouldn't necessarily be as big or huge as the big three 1980s Horror film icons(Freddy,Jason,Michael Myers),I think Horace Pinker would have been known and recognized by Horror fans. The violence and gore in this film is bloody and brutal and fits in with the film's tone,but you can tell the film's violence was cut(the film was originally rated X and had to be submitted 13 times to get an R rating). One of the main criticisms of Shocker is that it's too similar to the first A Nightmare On Elm Street and while they're maybe some similar styles and a few connections(same director,opening credits,dream sequences,main villains)both films are different and should not be compared. The final 15-20 minutes of the film are among the funniest scenes you will see in Horror film and is filled with such wild imagination and creativity. It is an ending that will stay after the film ends and is a classic Wes Craven ending.

    The acting from the cast is great. Mitch Pileggi is excellent as Horace Pinker,with Pileggi bringing a scary,over the top and funny brilliance to the role. Peter Berg is wonderful as Jonathan,the hero of the film with Berg bringing depth to the performance. Michael Murphy is effective and believable as Cop Donald Parker,Jonathan's Father. Cami Cooper does a good job as Alison,Jonathan's girlfriend and has a good chemistry with Berg. Sam Scarber(Cooper)and Richard Brooks(Rhino)give good performances as well. Also lookout for cameos by Ted Raimi(Packman),John Tesh(TV Newscastor),Heather Langenkamp(Murder Victim),Dr. Timothy Leary(Television Evangelist) and Wes Craven himself(Neighbor).

    Wes Craven's direction in the film is excellent with Craven using great camera angles,constantly moving the camera and giving the film a good visual style. Great direction,Craven.

    The score by William Goldstein is effective and creepy and fits with the films tone. Great score. The film also has a great soundtrack with songs by Megadeth(No More Mr Nice Guy),The Dudes Of Wrath (Shocker),Saraya(Timeless Love),Bonfire(Sword&Stone),Dangerous Toys(Demon Bell-The Ballad Of Horace Pinker)Iggy Pop(Love Transfusion)and Dead On(Different Breed). An excellent Hard-Rockin' Heavy Metal soundtrack.

    The special effects are well-done and work for the film and hold-up well years later.

    In final word,if you love Horror films or Wes Craven I highly suggest you check Shocker,a great,underrated Horror film that deserves a second chance and is Wes Craven at his best. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
  • gretz-569-32386314 October 2012
    Wes Craven on an off day
    Warning: Spoilers
    Wes Craven is one of my favorite directors. the plot of "Nightmare on Elm Street" was brilliant, and decades later, "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" was just as brilliant, IMHO. I even love "Cursed." So I really wanted to like "Shocker." but that's only possible if you ignore some truly major inanities.

    For instance: from the beginning, it's obvious that Jonathan has information about the killer and can help find and capture him. But Jon's cop father refuses to believe him, and keeps telling him to "go home, this is MY job." Why? Or the scene where Jonathan dreams himself into the next murder, with one of his football buddies to wake him just in time (for-- what?). How does he know the murderer's going to strike right then?

    In fact, Jonathan's psychic abilities overall are hit and miss: he dreams some of the murders, but he's happily playing football while his girlfriend is being slaughtered. Why didn't he feel that one coming? And when Jonathan searches for the necklace that somehow (it's never explained how) will keep him safe...I just had to laugh. Seriously? He's going to dive to the bottom of a lake, AT NIGHT, and find that tiny necklace? And speaking of that, why is he loving ghost-Alison half the time, but scared witless of her the other half?

    It's not all silliness, though. There are some things to recommend this movie. It's definitely gory, for those of you who like that. There is some humor, and the Zelig-like trip through the TV programs was quite interesting. And there are some nice scenes of autumn in the suburbs: the leaves swirling in the wind, the witchy little kids running across the street (again, unexplained), the moon through the trees...

    And anyway, a bad Wes Craven horror movie is still better than a good non-Wes Craven horror movie.
  • Scott LeBrun2 September 2012
    No more Mr. Nice Guy!
    Wes Cravens' "Shocker" is often one of the more derided in the directors' career, but in this own reviewers' humble opinion, it still manages to be pretty entertaining, even as it gets awfully silly and keeps wavering between a serious, sombre tone and an insane, over the top one. It doesn't help that it's too obvious that Craven was trying to create another Freddy Krueger in the form of raving maniac Horace Pinker, a savage psychopath played to foaming-at-the-mouth perfection by Mitch Pileggi, eventually to become better known for playing Skinner on 'The X-Files'.

    Pinker's on the loose, slaughtering whole families, but opposing him is college football star Jonathan Parker (a remarkably sincere Peter Berg), a nice guy who was raised by a police lieutenant (Michael Murphy). Jonathan and Horace, who are connected in a way that the younger man doesn't anticipate, are also psychically linked, and Jonathan is able to give the cops his name and place of business and before too long the killer is caught and executed.

    But the story doesn't end there, as Pinker, in league with Satan, "survives" the electric chair and lives on to overtake various unlucky people and control their bodies, including, in the movies' most memorable sequence, a little girl. How can one hold in their laughter watching this blonde haired moppet curse like a sailor, and try to operate a bulldozer?

    Ultimately, the movie is a little too absurd for its own good, but damn if it doesn't have some good atmosphere, show off some amusing ideas, and go overboard on the bloodshed. One particular murder scene is just drenched in the red stuff. One of the methods used to combat Horace is pure corn, involving Jonathans' love for girlfriend Alison (Camille Cooper) and an all-important locket. The best stuff is the wonderfully ridiculous climax in which a rampaging Horace and Jonathan run amok through TV programming (they end up in an episode of 'Leave it to Beaver' where Jonathan pleads for the Beavers' help). This does show some invention, and the special effects are effectively cheesy. (One has to love the "You got it, baby!" moment.)

    The cast is extremely game throughout this thing; also popping up are Ted Raimi as an assistant coach, Vincent Guastaferro ("Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI") as a victimized cop, Heather Langenkamp in a tiny, non-speaking cameo as a murder victim, Richard Brooks ('Law and Order') as football player Rhino, Ernie Lively as the warden, rock guitarist Kane Roberts also doing the cameo thing as a road worker, and Cravens' kids Jessica and Jonathan in bits. The heavy metal soundtrack adds to the fun.

    Overall, this may not be something this reviewer would necessarily consider "good", but it's still something of a hoot, and may keep some people watching out of sheer disbelief.

    Six out of 10.
  • gwnightscream11 April 2012
    "Great 80's Horror!"
    Warning: Spoilers
    Mitch Pillegi, Peter Perg and Michael Murphy star in Wes Craven's 1989 horror film. A teen tries to stop a killer TV repairman who becomes electrical. Jonathan Parker (Berg) is a football playing teen whose family is murdered by a psychotic TV repairman, Horace Pinker (Pileggi). Jonathan has the ability to see where he strikes and after his girlfriend, Allison (Cami Cooper) is the next victim, he stops at nothing to find Pinker. Pinker is then captured by Jonathan's adopted father & police lieutenant, Donald (Murphy). Once he's executed, Pinker becomes an electrical force that's able to channel through people making them kill. Jonathan learns what happens and tries to stop the ghastly killer once and for all. I've always enjoyed this film and Mitch is excellent in it. I recommend this great 80's horror flick.
  • djderka29 February 2012
    Morphing can be dangerous
    I found this gem on late night cable, maybe one of the HBO's or thisTV (out of Indianapolis), and I was nicely surprised.

    I was going to listen to it and work on my computer in the other room, but couldn't leave the couch, because it is very visual and astute. The killer uses "energy" from electricity and television, a wry comment of society.

    Wes strides the very delicate line of humor/horror and he does it very well. Films seem to be either SCARY MOVIE (spoof) or SCREAM, (horror). But to have you scared, and then to inject humor is hard. Here you are afraid of the serial killer morphing around, than laughing when he morphs into a little dangerous girl with a protective mom. It kind of reminded me of Night of the Creeps, where slimy worms, keep transferring to other bodies, including a very hot blonde.

    You all know the plot by now, so check out this gem, especially the end when Wes takes dead aim at media images.

    I am anxious to get the uncut version so see why he had to submit it 13 times to the "approval board" to get a release rating.
  • monahantd24 November 2011
    is what it is
    Wes Craven is a writer director of horror films who was not recognized for his genius until after his genius had already been exploited. "Last House on the Left" in it's original time.... UNHEARD OF!!!! GROUNDBREAKING!!!! "HIlls Have Eyes", SAME THING!!!! Sorry to any snobs out there who are actually bold enough to claim that "Nightmare On Elm Street" is ANYTHING but a perfect horror movie (you just want attention for intelligence that you don't have) "Shocker" for its time, premise, story, and(dare I?), acting... is great! Does it compare in effect to what he had already done up that point.... no. Does that make it a bad horror movie in the year it came out up against late sequels that were running their course... one of which being "Nightmare 5" which had a pen credit to Craven, no. In short... If you like Wes you'll like this... if you like horror of the time... you'll like this... WATCTH IT!!!
  • Anonymous Andy (Minus_The_Beer)19 July 2011
    Wes Craven's "Shlocker" or Two in the Pinker, One in the...well,you know...
    To say Wes Craven has made his share of terrible films is an understatement; in fact, one could say that for every "Nightmare on Elm Street" there is a "Hills Have Eyes 2" and for every "Scream" there is a "Cursed." But like most of his late '80s/early '90s output, "Shocker" is a film that slips under the radar. It is neither bad nor good, neither offensive nor effective. It's just a crazy, mixed-up little film amidst a mid-career crisis.

    Mitch Pileggi stars as Horace Pinker, a TV-repairman turned mass murderer with a bad limp. Business is fine and good for Pinker until local high school jock Jonathan Parker (played by Peter Berg) hits his head a little too hard and starts seeing visions of the bad guy doing his dirty deeds. With the kid on his trail, it's not long until Pinker is riding the lightning; however, he quickly proves that you just can't keep a good serial killer down and starts hopping bodies in the afterlife whilst continuing to blaze his trail of carnage.

    It's quite obvious from the get-go that Craven was trying to ride the slasher wave enjoyed partly by his own Freddy Krueger. Not only is the film similar stylistically and thematically to its big brother, it also borrows a few exclusive traits, namely the one-liners and dreamscapes. Thankfully Pileggi is up to the task of being a ruthless character who enjoys his share of dirty work, and for the first half of the movie we are treated to a truly frightening and seemingly unstoppable presence. It's a shame then that the movie peters out in the second half, making way for ridiculous scenarios and inane plot-twists, culminating in a "so bad it's good" chase scene through TV channels that feels like it belongs in a different film altogether. It's an often confusing film and a mixed bag for sure. In fact, one can't help but feel the movie is too scripts crammed into one. The first half is a nice, suspenseful slasher flick, while the second feels like its fantastical sequel that takes things a bit too far. Perhaps Craven had a premonition regarding the film's box office take and figured it best to get it all wrapped up in one film.

    There's a bit of social commentary and satire running throughout the film, but sadly it's lost amongst the mean-spirited violence and the constant throbbing of its heavy metal soundtrack. It's ironic then that these distractions are the film's strengths. Once you turn off your brain and stop trying to analyze the inanity of "Shocker," it can be enjoyed as the schlocky shocker it truly is.
  • mylimbo1 May 2011
    "We can't go killing people just to get Pinker out of their bodies".
    Wes Craven's "Shocker" doesn't have much of a reputation, but I didn't mind it although I thought it just got too silly as it went along almost becoming a joke upon itself. However it does hark back to the surrealistic touches of Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street", as Craven recycles certain ideas (like the suburbia setting) and adds variations with no real narrative stringing them together. But with that in mind, I found it to be an mildly rousing, if unevenly confounded horror comedy with Craven's vivid direction (with characteristically free-flowing cinematography) and an amusing animated performance by Mitch Pileggi as a family serial killer who manages to survive the electric chair by body hopping to continue his vicious murder spree while also seeking vengeance against the teenager (a deadpan Peter Berg) that put him in the chair. I actually prefer it, before its gimmicky electricity angle kicks in and then it drags on for far too long. The story kind of reminded me of the similar themed "The Horror Show" (1989), but that one was much more serious. "Shocker" can be dark in spots (and surprisingly violent with its splatter), but its soften by its self-knowing dialogues (the killer's smart arse remarks), daft actions and goofy eccentricity. Some scenes are so ridiculous like something out of a cartoon, which can be its charm or Achilles heal. The special effects are clean and direct, while the score has a constant anxious drill to the cues. Performances are adequate with Michael Murphy showing up and there are some small parts for Ted Raimi and Heather Langenkamp. More so cheesy than electrifying, but unassuming entertainment nonetheless.
  • happyendingrocks29 April 2011
    I think maybe parts of this movie are supposed to be funny, the but the only joke in Shocker is the movie itself
    Warning: Spoilers
    Assuredly the lowest point of Wes Craven's filmography, Shocker is a jumbled and often absurd horror/comedy that woefully misfires on both counts. The convoluted plot crowds in so many mismatched pieces that it seems like Craven decided to cram sketches of several movies into this one, and the end result is an over-long pastiche of clichés that limps along to its obnoxiously lame conclusion begging desperately to be put out of its misery.

    I'm hoping that writing the plot down will help me make sense of it in my own mind, so let's give it a shot. The story is centered around a brutal serial killer named Horace Pinker (played by the normally solid Mitch Pileggi, who eschews acting here in favor of presenting an over-blown caricature of a movie psycho) and a twenty-something protagonist named Jonathan Parker, who, in a fine example of how relentlessly silly this movie is, we later discover is actually Pinker's long-lost son.

    Though this is never made clear, the sequence of events seems to suggest that after suffering a concussion at football practice, Parker somehow develops supernatural powers that allow him to dream of Pinker's murders while they're happening. After Pinker butchers Jonathan's entire family (except for his detective father), and later his girlfriend, the vengeful lad makes catching the madman his personal mission. This leads to a Nightmare On Elm Street-cloning moment where Jonathan forces himself to fall asleep to see where Pinker will strike next and asks a friend to wake him up at the first sign of trouble.

    Through Jonathan's resourceful plan, Pinker is captured and eventually executed via electric chair (the next day, apparently, since no effort is made to suggest any sort of time elapsing in between). However, before this justice is meted out the crafty maniac performs a Satanic ritual with the television in his cell, during which demonic yellow electricity overtakes him, ostensibly giving him the ability to transfer his essence into other people's bodies and take them over. Using this power, Pinker is able to escape his demise in the chair by jumping into someone else's body, and the killer is then free to roam the streets again while masking his identity with a series of human disguises (remember the movie The Hidden? If not, you should check it out, since it's a hell of a lot better than this one).

    Clearly miffed that Jonathan foiled his murderous plans, Pinker's first order of business is getting revenge on his nemesis. Luckily, Jonathan is informed of Pinker's non-demise thanks to a dream he has, in which his dead, covered-in-blood girlfriend appears to warn him. In the vision, she hands Jonathan the necklace he once gave her and tells him it's the secret weapon that will stop Pinker once and for all (???), and, in yet another Elm Street lift, Jonathan wakes up to find the necklace in his bed.

    Thus begins the second phase of the film, in which Pinker pursues Jonathan while inhabiting a variety of bodies. Apparently our hero read the script ahead of time, because the first time he is confronted by Pinker (disguised as a police officer), he immediately sees through the ruse and deduces that the malevolent spirit of Pinker is controlling the cop's body, and he also figures out without hesitation that when the body's life force is used up, Pinker will have to find another vessel to occupy.

    In one of the film's ludicrous high-points, Pinker zaps into the body of a little girl, who then commandeers a conveniently abandoned tractor with the key in the ignition and tries to run Jonathan over with it. Despite Pinker's ability to leap into someone's body by touching them, he fails to use this skill when our hero picks up the little girl (wouldn't it be easier for Pinker to just jump into Jonathan's body and force him to kill himself?).

    After escaping a few more retarded twists during this scenario, Jonathan seeks help from the first person anyone with a shape-shifting murderer chasing them would run to: his football coach (who, naturally, believes our hero's entire story without question and can't wait to help). Pinker takes over more bodies, he kills some people, he gets a few guns along the way and shoots at Jonathan approximately 819 times without hitting him, etc.

    It takes almost two hours for this tripe to arrive at its thudding conclusion. Jonathan eventually figures out a plan to stop Pinker (way too involved and stupid for me to waste your time with here), but before he implements it he takes a break to have sex with the ghost of his dead girlfriend. In case you're curious, the climax finds Jonathan transforming into electricity (?), leaping into a television set (??), and doing battle with Pinker throughout TV land (???). Oh, and our hero also uses a remote control to force Pinker through a series of grade-school pratfalls (fast forward makes the brutish killer talk in a high squeaky voice, hardy har).

    Other than the ample displays of Pinker's gory handiwork, there is absolutely nothing to recommend in this wretched mess. The meandering plot never coheres into a rational story, and the padded sentimentality of Jonathan's visits from his ghostly lover belongs in a young adult romance novel, not a fright flick. About the only thing Craven gets right is ending the movie in a way that doesn't blatantly crack open the door for a sequel (I can't even imagine how awful Shocker 2: Electric Boogaloo would be...).

    The only shocker here is that the same film-maker who made a horror film as intelligent as New Nightmare also helmed this load of abysmal, mindless crap. Maybe he directed this after suffering a concussion at football practice?
  • Vivekmaru4515 March 2011
    Wes Craven's Finest!
    This one is his best, apart from his other gem, The Serpent And The Rainbow.

    In this one, Mitch Pileggi plays his most famous and iconic role, the psychopath Horace Pinker: TV repairman by day, serial killer and practitioner of the occult arts at night.

    Our hero in this film is played by the excellent Peter Berg.

    Plot: One day Jonathan (Peter Berg) has a dream in which he witnesses his family being slaughtered by a maniac. Having seen Pinker's TV repair-van in his dreams, he now tells his father, detective Lt. Don Parker (Michael Murphy) where to find Pinker, but under one condition: that he accompany his father on his mission to capture Pinker...

    But Pinker is not the easy prey that they think.
  • ManBehindTheMask637 February 2011
    a good craven film...drags a bit at the end
    This is better than expected. Wes Craven tries to create another boogeyman in the character of Horace Pinker. Pinker is a serial killer who studies voodoo and kills entire families in their sleep. A young college football player named Jon (Peter Berg) develops a psychic link with Pinker. Jon begins an attempt to help the police catch the crazed killer. The first half of the film is realistic and intense, but the second half is based in the supernatural. Pinker gets the electric chair but becomes an evil entity that can transfer from body to body (mush like "Fallen" with Denzel Washington) and move through electricity. Once again Jon must use his link to stop the killer. Or is the killer to powerful to be stopped? There is some surprising gore and a pretty nifty plot twist. It's fun to watch a young Peter Berg in an earlier role but the film tend to drag a little. This film came near the end of the slasher craze and Craven was trying to cash in on it one more time. Craven was trying to make a point about televisions and the media, it was evident in the film. Overall, it was a solid and better than average slasher flick with a supernatural killer.
  • gavin694228 September 2010
    Plenty of Potential If They Had Toned Down the Cheese
    A young man (Peter Berg) dreams of a killer (Mitch Pileggi)... and the dream is all too real, with his mother and sister left dead in the morning. But that is just the beginning. Once captured and executed, the story is not over but only starts anew!

    We start with a shape-shifting story inspired by "The Thing" and Jack Sholder's "The Hidden". Craven even borrowed a shot from "Midnight Run" of all places. Then add in executive producer Shep Gordon (Alice Cooper's agent), which caused the use of Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy", a song that became the film's tagline. Even Cooper's guitarist has a cameo as a construction worker.

    Peter Berg makes a strong lead, acting as the poor man's Christian Slater. This was one of his earliest roles, having started in the business as a production assistant. Today (2015), he has become a wildly successful actor, director and producer, most notably on "Friday Night Lights". Mitch Pileggi is also excellent, though a bit campy, and it is nice to see him in a tougher, darker role than FBI Director Skinner.

    Mike Mayo says, "Wes Craven creates a fierce satire on television and the way the medium distorts our view of reality." Not sure I agree. If this is a "fierce satire" of anything, it is hidden well. I did not see a critique of television or the media in here at all, and Craven does not make a point of saying this was intended.

    Mayo continues, saying, "the film is just another derivative exercise in obvious special effects, borrowing liberally from Craven's own work", including the fact Pinker "becomes a channel-surfing Freddy Krueger who returns to attack his enemies." This is absolutely true... Craven himself, in his audio commentary, notes just how similar "Shocker" and "Elm Street" are in theme.

    Both Timothy Leary and Ted Raimi show up, so that's a plus. Even Wes Craven's daughter has a slight cameo. Worth singling out is stuntman Dane Farwell (who worked with Craven since "Serpent and the Rainbow"), who takes a few beatings, including running head first into a pole at full speed. Farwell doubled for Bill Paxton in "Rainbow", and had previously doubled him in "Spaceballs". Indeed, Peter Berg and Bill Paxton are physically similar in some ways.

    The special effects had to be done in the last two weeks of post-production, which ate up much of the profits, after the original effects plan fell through. This last minute rush may explain any shortcomings. Craven himself says he can still see outlines that should not be visible. We also have an MPAA-required 13 cuts, which cut down on some of the darker moments (including the electrocution itself.)

    If you happen to be one of those who contemplate movies too deeply, you can look for the intentional use of water in the film as a Freudian symbol, saying (among other things) that there is more hidden beyond the surface. Or the "father issues" Craven tried to present in regards to the poor relationship he had with his own father. Or, on the lighter side, you can ponder the legacy of John Tesh -- only a local TV reporter at the time (1989), but quickly catapulted to national stardom... was it this film?

    Wes Craven fans will need to see this one, but may want to keep their expectations a little lower. Some parts, such as the possessed girl, are entertaining. But budget issues, special effect limitations, and a cheesy sense of humor make this much more a cult film than one of Craven's best. (For those who like a little horror cheese with their beer, this may actually be a great pick.)
  • jnj45 February 2010
    Worst Movie of All-Time
    A horrible movie that is the epitome of bad film making. This is simply the worst movie I have ever watched. And it is not one of those "so bad it's good" and you have to see it. It is just plain bad. The violence is useless and for a horror film it just fails to do anything useful or unique.

    Watch this movie and you will either not make it through the entire thing, turning it off about half way in, or you will suffer through it and realize these are two hours you will never get back.

    Obviously the budget on this wasn't huge as Craven has commented before on going after unknown actors because they were cheaper. Well, it shows.

    But budget aside, the real issue here is the story. It's not scary so much as depressing. The pointless killing is...well, pointless.

    It's a shame too, because Craven's films, especially 1980's Craven films were by and large great. Even when the budget was small. Not the case here. Stay away, stay away, stay away!!!

    If you want a good 80's horror film by Wes Craven try Nightmare on Elm Street I or II and don't go to sleep. Avoid Shocker at all costs. You won't be sorry.
  • noneabve194711 June 2009
    I Saw This at the Perfect Time
    Warning: Spoilers
    Honestly loved this....mostly for the musical soundtrack and Peleggi's over-the-top acting. I had just come back from many years of living in Micronesia with vacations in SE Asia and I was trying to catch up on "trashy" music and cinema. This fit the bill and Wes Craven is an artist.

    To digress slightly, seeing cinema is weird in foreign countries. It gives one a good idea of a peoples slant on morality and perspectives. Case in point: I saw Re-Animator in a theater on Mabini St. For those unaware, that is the middle of the "go-go", prostitute, lady-boy, underage sex business. But watching Re-animator there, any scenes of nipples or other nudity or depiction of sexual activity was censored out with green bars or blobs....but the gore was there in all technocolor....including Dr.Hill being beheaded by a shovel. Go figure.

    I digress. Shocker was one of those original ideas. Admit it. How many new "monsters" have been created in the last 50yrs?? Not many, and a guy that can travel thru wires and virtual reality is sumthin new!! Peleggi has a field day!!!....LOL
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