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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Produced by||Warren Chadwick
|Written by||Wes Craven|
|Music by||Michael Bruce
|Edited by||Andy Blumenthal|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|October 27, 1989|
|Box office||$16.6 million|
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.
Both Craven and Universal had hoped for the film to launch a franchise (Craven had particularly wanted to create a new series since he felt he had not been given due profits from New Line Cinema for the Nightmare on Elm Street series, which he had began). However, due to the middling commercial performance and poor reception of the film, no sequel was made.
A serial killer, having murdered over 30 people, is on the loose in a Los Angeles suburb. A television repairman with a pronounced limp, named Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi), becomes the prime suspect. When the investigating detective, Lt. Don Parker (Michael Murphy), gets too close, Pinker murders Parker's wife, foster daughter, and foster son. However, his other foster son Jonathan (Peter Berg) develops a strange connection to Pinker through his dreams and leads Parker to Pinker's rundown shop. In a shootout in which several officers are killed, Pinker manages to escape. He targets Jonathan's girlfriend Allison (Camille Cooper) in retribution.
Another dream leads Lt. Parker and the police to Pinker, whom they catch in the act of a kidnapping. This time, just as Pinker is about to kill Jonathan, he is arrested. Pinker is quickly convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair.
Prior to his execution, Pinker reveals that Jonathan is, in fact, his son, and that as a boy, Jonathan had shot him in the knee while trying to stop the murder of his mother. But what they do not realize is that Pinker has made a "deal with the devil." When he is executed, he does not actually die but instead becomes pure electricity, and is able to possess others (it is unknown if the possessed hosts live or die after Pinker leaves their body since some of them were shown to be lying motionless after being released) to continue his murderous ways. He soon possesses Lt. Don Parker. Parker uses his strength to fight off Pinker, who escapes into a T.V. dish. Jonathan and his friends try to find a way to fight him.
Eventually, Jonathan, with the aid of Alison's "spirit," devises a scheme to bring Pinker back into the real world and accidentally discovers that Pinker, as with all energy sources, is bound by the laws of the real world; Jonathan uses this limitation to defeat Pinker, and traps him inside a television. Pinker threatens Jonathan that he will find a way out of his "prison." The film ends when Alison's voice tells Jonathan to take care of himself, while Jonathan's neighborhood suffers a blackout, trapping Pinker in the television.
- Michael Murphy as Lt. Don Parker
- Peter Berg as Jonathan Parker
- Mitch Pileggi as Horace Pinker
- Camille Cooper as Alison Clemens
- Sam Scarber as Sidney Cooper
- Richard Brooks as Rhino
- Ted Raimi as Roy "Pac-Man" Stewart
- Heather Langenkamp as an intended victim of Pinker's. Langenkamp played Nancy Thompson in Wes Craven's landmark 1984 horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and in two of its sequels, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
- Wes Craven as the neighbor
- Jessica Craven (Wes Craven's daughter) as the clerk
- Jonathan Craven (Wes Craven's son and the film's visual effects coordinator) as the jogger (one of Pinker's possessed hosts)
- Dr. Timothy Leary as the television evangelist
- Brent Finkelstien as the talk show guest
- John Tesh as the TV newscaster
- Michael Matthews voices the Evil Mouth that grants Horace Pinker's request for power in Horace's contact with the devil.
- Kane Roberts (the guitarist from Alice Cooper's band) as a buff construction worker (one of Pinker's possessed hosts)
- Eric Singer as a member of the band on the talk show
- Eugene Chadbourne as Man in Bar
According to Craven, the film was severely cut for an "R" rating. It took around 13 submissions to the MPAA to receive an "R" instead of an "X". Some of the scenes that were cut included Pinker spitting out fingers that he bit off of a prison guard, a longer and more graphic electrocution of Pinker, and a longer scene of a possessed coach stabbing his own hand. Despite fan interest, an uncut version has never been released.
The film was released theatrically in the United States by Universal Pictures in October 1989. It grossed $16,554,699 at the box office. Shocker received mostly negative reviews from critics and holds a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 18 reviews.
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Original musical contributions were made by Alice Cooper (who would later play Freddy Krueger's abusive foster father, Mr. Underwood, in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare), Megadeth who covered Alice Cooper's 1973 hit "No More Mr. Nice Guy".The movie's "title song" was recorded by The Dudes of Wrath, which was composed of Kiss' Paul Stanley and producer Desmond Child both on vocals, Vivian Campbell and Guy Mann-Dude on guitars, Whitesnake's Rudy Sarzo on bass guitar, and Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee on drums. Also backing vocals by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Kane Roberts. The soundtrack was released on Capitol/SBK Records in 1989.
- "Sword & Stone" — Bonfire
- "No More Mr. Nice Guy" — Megadeth
- "Shocker" — The Dudes of Wrath
- "Timeless Love" — Saraya
- "Demon Bell — The Ballad of Horace Pinker" – Dangerous Toys
- "Love Transfusion" — Iggy Pop
- "Different Breed" — Dead On
- "Shocker". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Shocker (DVD)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "People Under The Stairs, The / Shocker (Double Feature)". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- "Shocker (blu-ray)".