I have a rocky relationship with Shocker. I’ve always really wanted to like it, but for some reason I just couldn’t get past its cheesiness. I’ve long considered it to be Wes Craven’s second-least favorite film of mine, following The Hills Have Eyes(Yes, I’m one of those guys who prefers the remake.) I’m not certain if the recent passing of Craven caused me to watch the movie with different eyes, or if as an adult, I was able to appreciate what it was a little more, but I found myself having a much better time upon revisiting the film via Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.
The last time I watched Shocker was, at the very least, a decade ago. I remember thinking it had a really strong first half, but once the film’s baddie turned into some sort of electrified spirit, I felt like it ventured way too far into cheese territory. While I still felt like the first half of the film was stronger, I powered my way through to the end, and found myself smiling, even cheering the movie on. I would like to think that I was able to separate the emotions Wes Craven’s passing caused, and still watch the film objectively, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t know that for certain. Is it possible that my judgment was clouded? I suppose. Either way, I enjoyed the movie far more than I have during previous viewings.
Actually, it had been so long since the last time I viewed this movie, that I had no idea that Mitch Pileggi was the villain, Horace Pinker. As cheesy as his one liners become, Pileggi plays Pinker with his usual brand of “all-in” character acting ability. He owns that role. Also kicking a little ass is a young Peter Berg as the film’s protagonist. The soundtrack is awesome, the kills even more so. All in all, this viewing of Shocker converted me into a fan, and I feel like I’ll actually revisit more often, especially now that I have Scream Factory’s exceptional Blu-ray release of the movie.
The picture quality is exceptional. This is the best the movie has ever looked for me. Perhaps if you were lucky enough to catch a 35mm screening, it would look a tad better, but for my money, this is the definitive home video release of the film. Any and all issues present can and should be blamed totally on the age of the movie. Other than a few very minor blemishes, this thing is gorgeous. And the audio quality? Even as good as the picture quality is, the sound blows it away. With a rocking, badass soundtrack, Shocker rocked every corner of my living room with its DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. The sound of a kill feels as if the after effects are dripping down the side of your walls, and the electrifying sounds throughout the entire film felt as if the hair on my arms was actually going to stand at attention. If you are a fan of this movie, you are in for a real treat.
Being that this is one of SF’s badass collector’s edition, Shocker comes filled to the brim with awesome special features. We’re treated to both ports of old extras from previous releases, as well as all new stuff as well. The extras range from the already-known commentary with Wes Craven, as well as all new interviews with Mitch Pileggi, Cami Cooper, and Shep Gordon. And of course, the “Shocker” music video is included, as well as a vintage “making of” featurette. One thing is for certain, if you don’t feel like the awesome video and audio quality make this disc worth the price of purchase, the beefy extras package should very much do so.
Shocker is now available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, and is highly recommended. You may purchase a copy by clicking on either of the following links: