Shocker (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Comedy , Horror , Mystery & Suspense , Television
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video

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Mitch Pileggi
as Horace Pinker
Michael Murphy
as Lt. Don Parker
Peter Berg
as Jonathan Parker
Cami Cooper
as Alison
Ted Raimi
as Pac Man
John Tesh
as TV Newscaster
Jessica Craven
as Counterperson
Sam Scarber
as Cooper
Peter Tilden
as Reporter
Bingham Ray
as Bartender
Sue Ann Harris
as Watiress
Eugene Chadbourne
as Man in Bar
Jack Hoar
as Rookie
Michael Matthews
as Evil Mouth
Linda Kaye
as Woman at Stairs
Bruce Wagner
as Executioner
Stephen Held
as Rookie
Richardo Gutierrez
as Guard Sergeant
Ernie Lively
as Warden
Lindsay Parker
as Little Girl
Dendrie Allyn 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
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Critic Reviews for Shocker

All Critics (19)

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.

Full Review… | January 6, 2016
Daily Dead

The notion that television regularly delivers violence into America's living rooms is literalized in this thoroughly wick-wick-wack but distinctive satire-chiller.

Full Review… | November 6, 2015
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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.

Full Review… | September 12, 2015
Creative Loafing

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.

Full Review… | September 11, 2015
Under the Radar

If "Shocker" careens off its rails, however, Craven's puppet-master command behind the scenes remains in evidence; his direction is never in doubt, even when shreds of his script are.

Full Review… | September 7, 2015

Shocker represents a low point (perhaps the lowest point) in the career of horror master Wes Craven. With lazy and uninspired writing, in addition to a mishmash of ridiculous plot points, this is a film that is best (and easily) forgotten.

Full Review… | September 6, 2015
The Blu Spot

Audience Reviews for Shocker

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 Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

Wes Craven uses the Nightmare On Elm Street formula, and obtains average results. Shocker is not the best horror film, but it's definitely not the worst either. This film does have some high points. Mitch Pileggi gives a very good performance as Horace Pinker, and he's very amusing to watch on screen. Shocker is a film that shouldn't be taken too seriously, as the mode on screen feels quite silly at times, but it's what makes it fun in the first place. Not Wes Craven's best film, but definitely not his worst, Shocker is a very good film to watch if you want to waste a good two hours. Just don't go expecting excellent. An underrated film for sure, Shocker does have a lot to offer the viewer and despite all it's flaws, it's simply a silly horror film with ideas left over from the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Another thing that makes this film good is the rocking heavy metal soundtrack, Shocker the film may be average but the soundtrack is great.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

"Shocker" takes a lot of heat for the similarities it shares with another Wes Craven film, a true horror classic, "A Nightmare On Elm Street." While "Shocker" is not a horror classic, it doesn't deserve the backlash it has received. In actuality, "Shocker" is one of the better horror flicks of the late 80s and early 90s. Starring Mitch Pileggi as Horace Pinker and Peter Berg as Jonathan Parker, "Shocker" is a solid slasher story with plenty of gore. Pinker is a mass murder who murders high school athlete Jonathan Parker's family, and then Parker's girlfriend. After being brought to justice, Pinker is sentenced to death by electrocution, but that is only the beginning. Pinker studied black magic, and he turns himself into electricity during his date with the chair. He is able to transfer his soul into other bodies, effectively moving around the city, adding to his impressive body count. No one is safe, and Parker cannot trust anyone except for some gridiron teammates. Parker searches for Pinker to kill him once and for all, which leads to an awesome battle that takes the two through every television channel on the dial. The film is as gory as any of the "Nightmare" films and is much better than the "Friday the 13th" series. "Shocker" was supposed to be the first in a series of films, a series that was supposed to become the next great horror franchise, but the concept apparently felt flat before Craven's vision could be realized. Nonetheless, "Shocker" was a very good horror film. It delivered a ton of thrills and spilled a lot of blood. I seriously recommend this film for every horror fan

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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