Shock (1977)

Genres - Horror, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Originally released in the U.S. as a sequel to Behind the Door, Shock is perhaps one of the more conventional offerings from a man whom many consider the founding father of Italian horror, though it still bears the trademark style and technical trickery of Mario Bava's previous efforts on slightly muted terms (possibly due to the fact that father Mario feigned illness during production to give son Lamberto a shot at directing). And though some fans of Bava's work may dismiss the film in terms of its lack of the colorful visual elements that have come to be a defining factor in his work, Shock certainly delivers the goods in its effectively disturbing portrayal of a boy possessed by the spirit of his deceased, drug-addict father, and the horrifying effect this has on his mother and stepfather. The slight-of-hand camera trickery that Bava had mastered with nearly 20 years in the director's chair is equally effective, creating unexpected shocks that easily surpass those in shockers that have come to rely on computer-generated effects to raise the hair on viewers' necks. It's easy to criticize a number of Bava's works for their inconsistencies and character flaws but to do so would be missing the point; imagery and visualization are the keys here, and as a final work by a director who specialized in such endeavors, Shock will certainly entertain haunted-house movie aficionados and those looking for a spooky possession flick.