Shanks (1974)



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Movie Info

Shanks is not so much a movie as an hallucinatory experience. World-renowned mime Marcel Marceau plays a dual role as a mute puppeteer and an eccentric inventor. The inventor dies, passing along his secrets for reviving corpses to the puppeteer. With the help of an enigmatic little girl, Marceau activates several dead bodies and goes on a robbery spree. Costarring with Marceau are fellow mime artists Tsilla Chelton and Phillipe Clay. Shanks had cult potential, but was released with a … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 27, 2013



as Malcolm Shanks/Old W...

as Mrs. Barton

as Mr. Barton

as Mrs. Barton

as Napoleon

as Einstein

as Goliath

as Genghis Khan

as Motorcycle Gang

as Beethoven

as Little Girl
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Critic Reviews for Shanks

All Critics (1)

A grim fairy-tale.

Full Review… | August 2, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Shanks

After apprenticing to a reclusive scientist, a deaf-mute puppeteer learns how to move corpses using electrodes operated by remote control. William Castle (!) directs Marcel Marceau (!) in this "grim fairy tale" mixing black comedy with pantomime slapstick and silent film aesthetics with an exploitation movie plot to create a movie like nothing else out there.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

"Shanks" is not marvelous, but if you wanted to make a film to exploit the talents of Marcel Marceau, there would be few ways to do it better.

Marceau portrays Malcolm Shanks, an innocent puppeteer who is beloved by the town's children but saddled with an abusive sister and her nasty, drunk husband. Keen to seize his wages, they find him a job with an old, rich scientist (also played by Marceau, in ridiculously heavy makeup) who is conducting reanimation experiments on the dead. Sure, it happens! When the scientist dies himself, Marceau takes over the operation, finding that his marionette skills are well-adapted to mastering the handheld invention which directs a dead creature's movements.

At least three mimes portray animated corpses, and most of the fun is watching these artisans at work in such an unusual, macabre setting. No one utters much dialogue except the sister and husband -- Marceau's character stays silent but *does* croak a few lines in the guise of the old scientist -- and the wordless action is accented by occasional title cards in the style of a silent film. Eventually, a hoodlum motorcycle gang complicates the plot, which unfortunately is a rather clichà (C)d touch.

"Shanks" is just a novelty, but it's entertaining. It is also William Castle's final work as a director.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Marcel Marceau as a mute? No way! And here he is as a puppeteer who learns the secret of bringing the dead to "life" through electric marionation.

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