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John’s Horror Corner: Shock (1977), a terrible Italian “haunted house” sequel.

July 28, 2016

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MY CALL:  Perhaps the most boring Italian horror film I’ve ever seen, this alleged sequel to a “haunted house” movie boasts nothing scary or particularly interesting.  MOVIES LIKE Shock:  For more (and decidedly better) Italian horror try The Other Hell (1981; still not so good), Manhattan Baby (1982; utterly senseless but entertaining), The Beyond (1981; awesome), Zombie (1979; awesome), City of the Living Dead (1980; awesome), Aenigma (1987; utterly senseless but entertaining), The Church (1989; utterly senseless but entertaining), Phenomena (1984; utterly senseless but entertaining), Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980) and Mother of Tears (2007). That should get you started!  ALTERNATE TITLE:  Also released as Beyond the Door II.

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This film is very, very, very slow.  Not a slowburn, but just plain slow.  It takes us forever to get to the point–which, by the way, I do NOT think is an actual sequel to Beyond the Door (1974).  Perhaps in theme, although that’s it.  But in the mean time we suffer through perhaps the most disastrously poorly scored horror film I’ve seen in a long time–and yes, I’m including synth scores. LOL.

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Dora (Daria Nicolodi; Phenomena, Mother of Tears), her young son Marco (David Colin Jr.; Beyond the Door) and his stepfather Bruno (John Steiner; Caligula) move into a new home to find that Marco isn’t handling the transition so well.  He behaves strangely and rather casually threatens to kill his mother.  I think we can all agree that is NOT normal.  Meanwhile Bruno secretly keeps the basement locked, yet somehow Marco keeps getting down there.  I’m guessing we’ll discover some dark family secret down there later.  Way to be subtle.

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It turns out Dora had a tortured mental history after the suicide of her drug-addled first husband.  And now it turns out their new home was her old homewhere he killed himself!  Bruno somehow doesn’t see how this would pose a problem.  Dora is paranoid and being haunted by her bedroom furniture and spectral boxcutters, young Marco continues to act out, and Bruno is blind to anything out of the ordinary.  Ultimately there is a twist, and I couldn’t care less.

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Now I’m no Italian horror expert, but Mario Bava seems to tell a much more organized story than the typically haphazard Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci ever did.  The problem, however, is that his easy-to-follow story has nothing interesting in it!  I criticize Argento and Fulci to no end in my reviews.  But make no mistake, they always manage to entertain me.  This hardly boasts enough to keep my eyes open.

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This was Mario Bava’s (Black Sabbath, A Bay of Blood) final feature film, and the only one I’ve seen so far.  The quality presented here doesn’t exactly make me want to venture through his back catalog. I’m not saying this may not have been decent back in 1977, but by my 2016 standards this is awful.  And not like “fun” awful–just plain awful, and dreadfully boring.  My only joy that came from this movie experience has been writing about it.  Sorry, Bava.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2016 8:20 am

    I’m not really a fan of Shock either, but before you give up on Bava you might at least want to watch Bay of Blood because it’s fun to see how he influenced the slasher genre.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 28, 2016 8:49 am

      I’ll gradually get to his other work. But after this, it will mostly be for the sake of adding something random to the mix here and there. Although I need to see Black Sabbath since I love anthologies.

  2. July 28, 2016 9:34 am

    Nice review. Sounds like it should be called “Shlock.”

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 28, 2016 10:01 am

      That would be an insult to schlock since schlock is, by nature of content, actually entertaining. haha

  3. July 28, 2016 9:51 am

    Good stuff!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 28, 2016 10:05 am

      Well, this movie is terrible stuff. Were you a fan?

      • July 28, 2016 10:07 am

        I like Bava – even at his worst. But no, I was referring to your review. lol This was a pretty poor Bava outing, though I still found it a little enjoyable.

  4. July 28, 2016 11:16 am

    There’s some great old Bava films but this wasn’t one of them. Some are slow just because that was the Italian style of filmmaking but Black Sabbath is a classic for it’s time with full on atmosphere and mood. The Whip and the Body with Christopher Lee is good and Black Sunday is another classic for its time. And of course Bay of Blood was a huge influence on J. Carpenter and the slasher genre as WC mentioned above 🙂

  5. July 28, 2016 1:40 pm

    Gonna shock you here as I love this movie. Terrified me as a kid, especially the scene where the kid runs towards her on the hallway and turns into the dead guy which Annabelle attempted to riff on. Nightmares for weeks afterwards. Great to see it get a mention and good work as always my friend, but I’m a sucker for this particular Bava number.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 28, 2016 1:43 pm

      I’ve had a couple inform me that they liked this one, but most instead express “oh no, not THAT Bava movie…what [this] instead.”

      Having just seen it for the first time, I have no sense of what this could have felt like watching it as a kid. It’s pretty weird. But as an adult–I was just bored.

  6. Chris Clubb permalink
    July 29, 2016 12:31 am

    Dear John Horror Corner

    I am a subscriber to your newsletter , just the other day , I read your recent post ,

    I had a little problem , I had wanted to leave a comment at the end , once I had

    written it John , I had a little difficulty by posting my comment , once I pressed

    to post my comment , it told me , my email was invalid , and also obsolete , I

    had always wanted to post something interesting for other to read , I do have a

    real email address , and I have never missed reading all of your great views on

    movies , I wish I can share my own memoires as well, it seems now , my email is

    no good , can you please help me , here is my home phone # , its (1818) 243-6335 ,

    can you please help me , your friend Chris Clubb

    ________________________________

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 29, 2016 9:16 am

      Chris, this seems to have posted just fine unless you did something else that wasn’t explained above. “New Commenters” have to wait to be “approved” by admin before their comments appear…which is why this comment didn’t appear until this morning.

      How did you make this comment (above)???

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 29, 2016 9:17 am

      Oh, and once we solve this, please comment all the time. We love it when people do!

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix

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