Critics Consensus

With an intriguing enough premise and horror legend Wes Craven on writer-director duty, the real Shocker here is just how lame the end results turned out to be.



Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,833
User image

Shocker Photos

Movie Info

In this horror film, the killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) is finally captured and executed, only to be transformed into a vengeful spirit who possesses the bodies of innocent people and uses them to carry out his bloody deeds.

Watch it now


Mitch Pileggi
as Horace Pinker
Michael Murphy
as Lt. Don Parker
Peter Berg
as Jonathan Parker
Ted Raimi
as Pac Man
John Tesh
as TV Newscaster
Jessica Craven
as Counterperson
Peter Tilden
as Reporter
Bingham Ray
as Bartender
Jack Hoar
as Rookie
Michael Matthews
as Evil Mouth
Linda Kaye
as Woman at Stairs
Bruce Wagner
as Executioner
Richardo Gutierrez
as Guard Sergeant
Lindsay Parker
as Little Girl
Dendrie Taylor
as Young Mother
Kane Roberts
as Road Worker
Stephen R. Hudis
as Officer Robinson
Marji Martin
as Woman Couch Potato
Ray Bickel
as Man Couch Potato
Mark Slama
as Kid with Crow Bar
Karl Vincent
as Kid with Mask
Dr. Timothy Leary
as TV Evangelist
Joyce Guy
as Cop #2
Bobby Lee Swain
as Priest #1
Marvin Elkins
as Guard #1
Wes Craven
as Man Neighbor, Neighbor
Holly Kaplan
as Woman Neighbor
View All

News & Interviews for Shocker

Critic Reviews for Shocker

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (1)

  • the camp aspects simply give way to the ridiculous while failing to establish any rules to govern the mayhem. The result is plenty of unintentional laughs.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • It's interesting to note that Shocker boasts an opening stretch that hardly hints at the off-the-wall craziness that's to come...

    Jul 6, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Like a frenzied fever dream fueled by the power of righteous heavy metal, Wes Craven's Shocker is certainly one of his more oddball cult classics, an amalgam of his most ambitious ideas & a viciously wild visual style.

    Jan 6, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The notion that television regularly delivers violence into America's living rooms is literalized in this thoroughly wick-wick-wack but distinctive satire-chiller.

    Nov 6, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Shocker ranks among Craven's absolute worst, with his attempt to create another enduring villain like A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger falling woefully flat.

    Sep 12, 2015 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Shocker is more over-the-top goofy than scary, but it's a good deal of fun and the special effects hold up pretty well after a quarter century.

    Sep 11, 2015 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Shocker

  • Oct 09, 2015
    Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) was meant to be the next evolution in Wes Craven's horror odyssey. A bald serial killer who worships at the throne of channel-surfing, Pileggi hops right on board the gargantuan overacting inherent in the role. In a sidenote, it's an amusing nuance that Pileggi had to mimic the limp of a prepubescent girl who was possessed by Pinker later in the film because she filmed her scene before he arrived on set. However, Shocker nosedived at the box office and Craven couldn't capitalize on another Freddy Krueger. For what it's worth, Shocker is a rollicking, albeit cynically synthesized horror-comedy. The boob-tube hypnosis and desensitization to cathode-ray-tube violence would've been a viable outlet for satire but Craven presumably abstains from social commentary for once. Craven plunders wholesale from his Nightmare on Elm Street template. The opening is precisely identical to his aforementioned franchise with a repair shop instead of a boiler room. The lines between reality and REM sleep are blurred. Pinker spews sound bytes that could've been pun-intended catchphrases ("Take a ride in my Volts-wagen"). Moreso than his other films, rationalization and logic hold no sway over the far-fetched writing in Shocker. Jonathan Parker (a vanilla Peter Berg) is a foster child who practically lives in an expensive suburban house all by himself like a Nickelodeon sitcom. A necklace imbued with the omnipotent power of "love" is the only object that can defeat the electrified Pinker. It might seem that I'm deriding this film but actually I wholeheartedly recommend it. The flickering, low-res pixel version of Pinker was quite innovative for the time. The showstopper is a gonzo sequence where Pinker and Jonathan hopscotch through different programs from a Leave it to Beaver to a John Tesh newscast to a televangelist set. Obviously, Shocker should be evaluated with a macabre sense of humor. The Dudes of Wrath and Alice Cooper soundtrack guarantees the film is a heavy-metal guilty pleasure for headbangers and any opportunity to hear a tongue-wagging Michael Murphy shriek "eat shit and die you little fucker" is a succulent treat. If nothing else, it is superior to both The First Power and The Horror Show which overlapped the same premise.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2012
    This movie is quite awful. But at least it's laughably bad, so you do get a lot of laughs from how bad the movie truly is. Certainly the film is Craven's attempt to recreate the success he had with Nightmare on Elm Street. Horace's use of, supposedly, funny one-liners instantly reminds you of Freddy Krueger. The set-up is utterly goofy and the execution is even worse. The gore isn't even good. You also get the feeling that they knew they had a stinker on their hands as the movie, while getting worse, also starts getting funnier. It's like they made a conscious effort that, since the movie was already far gone by that point, that they'll just make you laugh as much as they can. The perfect example of this is the scene where Jonathan and Horace go into the TV and start fighting through several channels. They go through movies, sitcoms, news broadcasts, etc. The effects are fucking awful during these scenes, just laughably bad. I can't possibly think that anybody, that was part of the filming, thought these scenes were any good. To compare, Sherlock Jr., a 1924 movie starring Buster Keaton, has this same set-up. Buster goes inside a movie screen, and the background starts changing behind him every couple of seconds. A movie that, at the point of Shocker's release, was 65 years old had better effects than this movie. While the effects in Sherlock Jr. were far ahead of their time, this film's effects were just downright terrible as well. Just terrible stuff. The acting isn't very good, the movie isn't particularly well-written. So it's really just a failure on all counts. At least it'll make you laugh a bit, so the suffering isn't as bad.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2011
    Kinda fun up until the awful final act.
    Sam C Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2011
    Not much works in this horror film - not the direction by usually reliable Wes Craven, not the script and not the acting.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer

Shocker Quotes

News & Features