Tuesday, May 9, 2023

SHOCKER (1989)

A serial killer is terrorizing Los Angeles. At the same time, the lead detective's college age stepson is having extremely vivid dreams about the murders. Shit happens and soon the murderer's soul is jumping "...in and out of people like a goddamn crab or something".

Obviously, I don't know the story behind the creation of SHOCKER, but it seems, from the advertising and the actual feel of the movie, that the filmmakers were trying to use Wes Craven’s name and the popularity of the Elm Street series to create another successful horror franchise. The trouble is Freddy was initially scary, cool and unique. It wasn’t until things started getting cheesy later in the series that things went to shit.  But with SHOCKER, things are goofy as fuck from the very beginning! First off, the killer has a shitty villain name. Horace Pinker. What the fuck is that? Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Darth Vader…Horace Pinker. It ain’t happening. More like Boreus Stinker, amirite? Secondly, the dude is boring looking. He looks just like a normal dude you’d see at the grocery store. Yeah, yeah, so does Patrick Bateman or Norman Bates, but still, they have a sinister feel about them. Thirdly, the dude is too loud and has absolutely horrendous one-liners. Example: “… let's take a ride in my Volts Wagon.”  Kill me.  Motherfucker comes off more like a cartoon character than a vicious serial killer. Fourthly, the hero character (played by Peter Berg) was a fucking dweeb! Dude could barely put together a coherent sentence. Plus, he was falling all over the place, walking into a table, running into a pole and tripping on everything. I wouldn’t trust him to deliver a pizza correctly. Fifthly, the entire feel to the movie was off. Lots of weird camerawork, needlessly complicated story, disappointing (and abrupt) ending, crap dialogue, dreamy lighting, extremely confusing timeline (Why did our hero wait until after the funerals to talk to his stepfather about his visions? What was the time between Pinker's arrest and his execution?), a newspaper with gibberish in it, televisions mainly showing old stuff from the 1940's and 1950's, very little on-screen violence, rock soundtrack that felt forced, overacting, zero gore, zero tits, zero dicks.

I don’t know. I really wanted to like this film back when I was a kid in 1989 and I didn’t. Revisiting it again for this review, outside of some nostalgic feelings, I still didn’t like it. One thing that disappointed my friends and I back in the day was we thought the killer was going to have some kind of evil superpower to use electricity to kill people. Like having machinery attack people, electrocuting women during a wet t-shirt contest or making a baseball pitching machine hit somebody in the nuts…to death.

For what it is, SHOCKER is a mid-level 1980’s slasher flick, but too cheesy to be taken seriously.