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Film / Shocker

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It's sho- oh, nevermind.

Shocker is a horror film directed by Wes Craven which was released in 1989.

The film centers around young Jonathan Parker (Peter Berg), who starts having prophetic dreams of Serial Killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) after he kills most of his foster family. Seeking justice, Jonathan turns to his police officer foster father Lt. Don Parker (Michael Murphy) and convinces him that he can track Pinker through his dreams. With Jonathan's help police are able to capture Pinker, who is sentenced to die in the electric chair. However, before the moment of his execution Pinker makes a Deal with the Devil and becomes one with the electricity after his execution. This gives him the ability to possess the bodies of others, allowing him to continue his killing spree from beyond the grave.


This movie provides examples of:

  • And This Is for...: Jonathan lists Pinker's victims as he forces him to thrash around with a remote control. Complete with "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Horace Pinker reveals during his execution that Jonathan is actually his son and that he killed his mom. For trying to stop him, Pinker has apparently made it his life's goal to destroy his son and brutally murder everyone he loves, including his adoptive family and his girlfriend.
  • Ax-Crazy: Pinker is almost always in a murderous frenzy.
  • Axe Before Entering: Pinker, while possessing coach, goes through two doors to get to Jonathan.
  • Backup from Otherworld: Alison gives assistance from the realm of the dead.
  • Bald of Evil: Pinker is both bald and a violent, murderous brute.
  • Batter Up!: Jonathan arms himself with a baseball bat to defend himself from Pinker.
  • Advertisement:
  • Behind the Black: Jonathan is unable to hear a bulldozer driven by Pinker when it is offscreen.
  • Body Surf: Pinker's special powers. He's very bad about selecting bodies with bad hearts, though.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cassandra Truth: Averted and played straight: Jonathan's friends immediately believe him when he says that Pinker is still alive, but the police do not.
  • Chekhov's Gift: The necklace that Jonathan gave to Allison before she was killed, comes back from the afterworld as means to stop Pinker.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Pinker leaves messages written in blood to taunt Jonathan.
  • Creator Cameo: Wes Craven appears near the end of the movie.
  • Deal with the Devil: Pinker does this before going to the electric chair, and his new powers are given to him by a disembodied mouth appearing from a television screen.
    Pinker: Come on! Give it to me!
    Mouth: You got it, baby.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The final chase scene, which takes place through the medium of television itself! Jonathan and Pinker weave in and out of the riots in Berlin, a boxing match, an Alice Cooper concert, Leave It to Beaver, stock footage of Atomic Bomb testing (with Pinker as the explosion), Frankenstein, a live Newscast (to the shock of the anchorman), World War II, and into a Roseanne-Expy's house.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: While Pinker is still alive, Jonathan can predict the next victims with the help of his dreams.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played with... the necklace Jonathan wears (a token that he gave to his girlfriend at the beginning of the movie) affects Pinker the way a Cross would affect a Vampire - badly. It can weaken Pinker's hold on the person he is "wearing" at the time, and when he is corporeal it can destabilize him enough to drive him back into the airwaves.
  • Evil Laugh: When not taunting, Pinker's laughing.
  • Faking the Dead: Pinker pretends to have died from his deal with the devil to hurt two guards.
  • Family Extermination: Horace Pinker targets the family of the police detective who has been investigating his murders, and also because the same detective previously adopted Pinker's biological son Jonathan (Pinker had killed his own wife as well), killing almost his entire adoptive family in front of him.
  • Fingore: Pinker bites off a prison guard's finger. Earlier, he chopped off three of Jonathan's brother's fingers.
  • Glamour Failure: Even when Pinker has a new body, he continues limping on his bad leg.
  • Handy Remote Control: Jonathan manages to get his hands on a TV-remote control during the final Chase Scene through the television world, and uses it to mess with Pinker for a while.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Jonathan does this twice to people possessed by Pinker.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Allison says this when she appears in Jonathan's dreams for the first time.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Pinker's aim with guns is horrendous. He's likely aware of this, given his usual means of murder involves knives and tearing people apart with his bare hands.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Pinker puts on a police uniform to evade the cops at his workplace.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: This movie is often called Wes Craven's Shocker.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: Jonathan's foster family's funeral is accompanied by rain.
  • Knife Nut: Pinker prefers knives, even in undeath.
  • Laughably Evil: Aside from being dangerously Ax-Crazy, Pinker is a definite doozy. He's basically The Joker as a Psycho Electro.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: At the moment of his execution, Pinker reveals to Jonathan that he is his father. Also, just to be even more of a dick, he also gloats about murdering his mother. Hinted at all of a couple minutes earlier during the arrest. "It runs in the blood" indeed.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: It may actually be half of the movie rather than its beginning, but it is the beginning of what Pinker thinks will be the fulfillment of his plans.
  • Neck Snap: When possessing the prison doctor, Pinker snaps a cop's neck before possessing the other.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: After Pinker is granted his powers, he is as vulnerable as any human... but if something happens, he'll just switch bodies.
  • No Body Left Behind: After Pinker's now electrified soul leaves from his body, the corpse turns into ash.
  • Not So Different: Pinker says this to Jonathan about how they enjoy killing. But at the end, Jonathan refused to kill him by knife.
  • Offing the Offspring: Pinker's main goal is to kill Jonathan, who is actually his son.
  • Oh, Crap!: During the first Body Surf chase scene, when Pinker leaps from the body of a small mother... into a massively muscled Construction Worker (played by Alice Cooper's guitarist Kane Roberts). Cue Slasher Smile.
  • One-Word Title
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Pinker's soulless corpse gives one last scare before burning away.
  • The Power of Love: Allison's love for Jonathan enables her to help him from the other side.
  • Religion of Evil: Pinker worships the devil. Or the television.
    • The preacher kicks Pinker's shrine, calling it "blasphemy".
  • Resurrective Immortality: Pinker's ultimate reward granted by Satan. Or by television, whichever happens to be more evil.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: This movie is a perfect example; that starts with the villain brutally murdering the hero's family, builds up to a chase through TV Land and ends with the hero making the villain jump up and down on the bed like an idiot.
  • Ride the Lightning: Pinker uses electirc sockets and television sets for travel.
  • Scary Black Man: Jonathan's football coach who seems to have a thing about breaking people's necks.
  • Serial Killer: Who could it be?
  • Slasher Smile: Pinker gives one to Jonathan while possessing the body of his stepfather.
  • Spirit Advisor: Allison, and all the other people Pinker killed for Jonathan.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Allison's fate early in the movie. Subverted in that her ghost continues to be an active and significant character throughout the rest of the movie.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The last Chase Scene between Jonathan and Pinker takes place between television programs.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used on Jonathan when Pinker causes an explosion outside the prison.
  • Villain Ball: Pinker might have gotten away with his crimes if he didn't insist on continuing to kill families even after successfully framing Jonathan.
  • Villain Song: The soundtrack has several for Horace Pinker, which also reflects on Evil Is Cool, examples include "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Shocker," "Different Breed," and the most obvious "Demon Bell — The Ballad of Horace Pinker."


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