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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Shock
Shock
Starz / Anchor Bay
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted May 17, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

Italian director Mario Brava's last picture, Shock (1977, 92 minutes), is also one of his more widely appreciated films. Mario was an elder statesmen of the horror community when he died 20 years ago. He left a legacy of influential films, not the least of which, Black Sunday, launched the career of icy B-queen Barbara Steele. Shock is based on his son Lamberto's script, which is said to have been inspired by Stephen King's work. While atypical to Mario's often extravagant style, the flick is probably his most accessible to the average horror hound. When the movie was carted off to the U.S., distributors slapped on the title Beyond The Door II to capitalize on the modest success of a completely unrelated predecessor. Numero uno was also Italian and a bit of an Exorcist knock-off, with a momma knocked up with Satan's spawn. There was even a third installment, still unrelated to Brava's movie (those wacky Italians), involving a bunch of coeds riding a train to hell.

The movie: We meet up with Dara Nicolodi again (Deep Red), this time around she's Dora, the mother of a precocious little nose miner named Marco. His daddy died seven years ago and they haven't lived in the family home since. Mom remarries and decides to return to the old homestead. Marco loves Bruno (John Steiner), but is quick to set anyone straight who mistakes him for his REAL father. No sooner than they're settled back in the house, the yard monster is rooting around in the cellar, and starting to act strangely. It soon becomes clear he's channeling his dead pop from the great beyond, and it turns out the guy's got a grudge. Dora is suspicious, and generally freakafied about being back at the old house, but her world comes to a screeching halt when, during a dinner party, Marco calmly whispers to her, "Momma, I have to kill you." That pretty much sets the stage for the rest of the flick, which earns its title with numerous shocking moments. There are intensely uncomfortable moments as well ... shudder as little Marco humps his MOTHER while under the influence of his dead, and apparently VERY sexually frustrated, father. Let's be glad we didn't have to see Haley Joel Osment do THAT. But, hey, maybe he'd have won that Oscar if he did.

Notables: No breasts. Three corpses. Pickax to the chest. One yard monster. Diddling. Rat infestation. Devil swing. Gratuitous metronome. Gratuitous shower scene. Rake attack. Flying utility knife. Bleeding wall. Multiple neck slashing. Panty raid. Long distance voodoo.

Quotables: When mom's diddling his new daddy, in another room, the kiddo wakes up and snarls, "Pigs! Pigs! Pigs!"

Time codes: A freaky puppet show (14:05). "Who walks the stairs without a care? ... It's Slinky, it's Slinky the favorite of girls and boys" (1:04:25).

Audio/Video: Fairly clean widescreen (1.85:1) print from the original negative. Some pixilation during the darker scenes. English, French and Italian mono tracks.

Extras: Interview with assistant director and co-writer Lamberto Brava. Original Italian trailer and Beyond The Door II trailers. Insert card with reproduction of U.S. theatrical poster.

Final thought: Terrific creepy-kid flick. Dara Nicolodi's descent into madness is stunning. Recommended.

Check out CineSchlock-O-Rama
for additional reviews and bonus features.

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

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