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The Curator of Schlock #109 by Jeff Shuster

Wes Craven’s Shocker

(This movie had better be shocking)

Shocker1 I picked up Wes Craven’s Shocker a few years ago in a double pack with Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs. I liked that movie back in the early 90s along with Child’s Play and Candyman, the last gasps of 80s horror before we entered a decade without any real horror movies. Wes Craven’s Shocker had escaped me somehow until I had bought that double pack. Was I pleasantly surprised? I’m guess…

Wes Craven’s Shocker is about a psycho serial killer that goes around murdering families. Pretty harsh stuff and the police are finding it impossible to capture the guy.

Our hero of the film is a college football player named Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg) who bumps his head and I guess develops a psychic connection with the serial killer.

Shocker5When Jonathan goes to sleep, he dreams about the killer murdering his adoptive family. Turns out it wasn’t a dream! His foster dad is the lead detective on the investigation and the serial killer wanted to send Detective Don Parker (Michael Murphy) a message: Stop hunting me or I’ll kill your family. Oh wait. I just did kill your family. Hahahahaha! I’m that evil! (That taunt may not have been in the actual movie.)

So Jonathan managed to see the killer’s face in that dream he had, notices the guy has a limp and that the guy owns a dilapidated TV repair shop. They figure out the killer is a man named Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi). Pinker manages to murder every single arresting officer sent to the shop save for Detective Don Parker. Pinker then tracks down Jonathan Parker’s girlfriend and murders her. Then he writes Happy Birthday, Jonathan in her all over the walls of his apartment. Like I said, this guy is really evil.

Shocker4Pinker is trying to murder another family when Jonathan uses his dream/psychic powers to track Pinker down. The police follow him in close pursuit.

Shocker3Jonathan and Pinker have a fight to the death on a rooftop, but the police break it up so I guess it really isn’t a fight to the death. While awaiting death row, Pinker does some weird ritual to a television demon (just watch the movie). Oh, it turns out Jonathan is adopted and Pinker is really his father. Pinker murdered Jonathan’s mother too. Jonathan has had a pretty sad life up to this point, but he gets to watch Pinker get the electric chair so hopefully that will help ease his pain.

shocker2Except that Pinker is now pure electricity and he can posses anyone he comes into contact with. I guess they shouldn’t have allowed him that final devil-worshiping ceremony in his cell! Eventually, Pinker jumps into a satellite stream allowing him to murder random people in their living rooms just by jumping out of their TV sets. You know, why did they show Pinker murdering people in their living rooms when he could have been murdering TV characters instead. Imagine if he had murdered Gilligan or Captain Kirk, leaving the characters on those shows to do nothing but mourn. Pinker had the ability to ruin all of the classic TV shows. Now that would have truly made him a monster.

Five Things I Learned from Wes Craven’s Shocker

  1. Keep your gun drawn when hunting a serial killer.
  2. Never give mouth to mouth to a serial killer.
  3. The ghost of your dead girlfriend can save your life from scary electricity man.
  4. Electricity man can possess easy chairs.
  5. If Pinker were to have murdered Jay Leno on live TV, would the real Jay Leno be dead or just the television version? So, I guess I learned nothing! Happy Halloween, folks!

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Photo by Leslie Salas

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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