Shocker is the 1989 Wes Craven cult classic that follows Horace Pinker (Mitch Pillegi), a serial killer sent to the electric chair, who then returns supernaturally and uses electricity to carry out his vengeance on the football player (Peter Berg, yes THAT Peter Berg.. the guy who directed Lone Survivor and Battleshit…I mean Battleship) who turned him in to the police. For a very special Halloween edition of Bearded Blu Ray Reviews, check out my take on Scream Factory’s release down below!
Shocker is an older movie, and with older movies, no matter how much you master and re-master it, it’s going to show its age. Now, that’s not to say that it looks BAD by any stretch of the word, but there are some noticeable grains and fades in the picture at some points. THAT SAID, the special effects hold up SO WELL on this transfer, especially Pinker’s “teleportations” and “transitions”. The fight scene in the house with Pinker bouncing around through all the sockets in the home looks GREAT, and is really a standout moment on the disc. This flick would’ve earned a perfect score here, but like I said, the age takes it down a slight notch, but still makes this a worthwhile watch!
NO MORE Mr. NICE GUY! Shocker features a really effective DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that springs to life (and death… BA DUM CHING!) during the numerous special-effects-heavy scenes when Pinker's zapping about and it affords the track many chances for buzzing crackling panning sounds that create a nice sense of cinematic immersion. Dialogue is also picked up really well and the film's RIDICULOUSLY GOOD score sounds excellently vivid throughout the movie. For the record, a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is also included on the Blu-ray, but I didn’t switch to see how that would sound
The disc comes loaded, as do most Scream/Shout Factory releases. Featured on the disc is a robust selection of bonus material, most notable of them being a commentary by the late Wes Craven, who offers really invaluable insights in to a film he CLEARLY loved making (he even touches on how he wanted Pinker to be the “new” Freddy Krueger, and planned a franchise around Shocker, obviously that didn’t go as planned. BUT he still had Scream to satisfy his franchise appetite!). There’s a second commentary with various members of the production crew that I didn’t get in to, though I’d imagine it to be way more tech talk-y than Cravens. A few cast and crew interviews (Cable Guy - An Interview with Actor Mitch Pileggi, Alison's Adventures - An Interview with Actress Cami Cooper, It's Alive - An Interview with Producer Shep Gordon) a selection of trailers and TV spots, a still gallery, storyboards, and a REALLY fun piece about the music of Shocker round out the disc. It’s definitely a great crop of material to keep fans old and new busy for a while!
Shocker is cheesy, it’s dated, it’s old… but hell if it isn’t fun above all else. Is this a masterpiece? Obviously not. Is it even one of Craven's better films? Again, probably not. But it's still enjoyable on its own extremely goofy terms, even if it's stifled by the some bad acting, especially from Peter Berg. Pileggi is a lot of fun as a crazed madman, even if he's forced to spew some pretty cringe worthy lines, but hey, it was the 80’s what do you expect? Technical merits are generally very good, and, as expected, Scream Factory have given fans a glut of great supplements. I’d say pick this up if you get a chance!