Wes Craven's Shocker

Wes Craven's Shocker (1989)

Shocker (aka Wes Craven’s Shocker) is a 1989 horror film written and directed by Wes Craven. The relatively low-budget film has since become a cult classic. It starred Mitch Pileggi as the antagonist Horace Pinker. This role gained Mitch fame as Assistant Director Walter Skinner in The X-Files television series.

Tagline:  On October 2, at 6:45 AM mass murderer Horace Pinker was put to death. Now, he’s really mad.


Both Wes Craven and Universal had hoped for the film to launch a franchise (Craven had particularly wanted to create a new series since he felt he had not been given due profits from New Line Cinema resulting from the Nightmare on Elm Street series). However, due to the middling commercial performance of the film, no sequel was made.

A special edition DVD was released in 1999.

Shocker (1989) DVD

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  • Shocker was filmed in ten weeks and in a low budget. Craven said that all this savings are in a small team work with talent and low known actors.
  • According to Wes Craven, the film was severely cut for an R-rating. It took around 13 submissions to the MPAA to receive an “R” instead of an “X”.
  • In Jonathan’s second dream, he looks up at a street sign and sees the street names Maddalena and Wagner. Marianne Maddalena was a producer of the film, and the actor playing the executioner was Bruce Wagner.
  • When Jonathan and his father enter the Tavern after the funeral of their family, a news program is playing on the TV in the background and discussing the murders. Someone immediately changes the channel and on comes (briefly) the 1986 concert footage of Alice Cooper’s The Nightmare Returns tour.
  • One of the bodies that Horace took over (the male “Road Worker” with long black hair) is a former guitarist for Alice Cooper.
  • One of the bodies that Horace took over (the “Jogger” in the park) is Jonathan Craven, son of director Wes Craven.


Shocker (1989) SoundtrackOriginal musical contributions were made by Alice Cooper (who would later play Freddy Krueger’s abusive foster father, Mr. Underwood, in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare), Megadeth who covered Alice Cooper’s 1973 hit No More Mr. Nice Guy. The movie’s “title song” was recorded by The Dudes Of Wrath, which was composed of KISS’ Paul Stanley and producer Desmond Child both on vocals, Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and Guy Mann-Dude on guitars, Whitesnake’s Rudy Sarzo on bass guitar, and Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee on drums. Also backing vocals by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony & Kane Roberts.

Soundtrack listing:
“Sword & Stone” – Bonfire
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” – Megadeth
“Shocker” – The Dudes Of Wrath
“Timeless Love” – Saraya
“Demon Bell – The Ballad Of Horace Pinker” – Dangerous Toys
“Love Transfusion” – Iggy Pop
“Different Breed” – Dead On


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