This review is going to be a relatively short one. Not because this movie isn’t worth talking about, but because I scoured the internet for any information on the making of this film, but couldn’t find anything. In fact, the movie is so obscure that if you type in the title exactly on IMDB’s search bar, it’s not the 1st movie that shows up – it’s the fifth. If you not only type the movie’s title exactly into google, but quote it and add its release date of 1987, it goes to the French Wikipedia page. Despite the movie being in English, there is no page for it on the main English Wikipedia site.
It kind of feels like the only reason anyone discovered this movie is that it features the very first on-screen appearance of late character actor and producer James Gandolfini. He’s best known for The Sopranos, but he also performed in Where the Wild Things Are, True Romance, Zero Dark Thirty, and Get Shorty.
The only other name actor in this movie is Cyndy McCrossen, in which this is her only acting role, but she’s been working as a location manager fairly consistently since 2009. Allan Lewis Ricman, who plays the main villain Commander Zont-El, has done a bunch of very minor rolls. Pretty much everyone else in the cast either only ever acted in this movie, or has only appeared as background extras. Even with the co-writers/directors Arn McConnell and Todd Rutt, this is the only movie that McConnell was ever involved with, while the rest of Rutt’s media career is in graphics design.
So what exactly is Shock! Shock! Shock!? That’s a good question, because even this movie doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s not a question of whether the filmmakers were on drugs, but what kind of drugs were they on … and where can I find them? Kidding, I have no interest in mind altering drugs. I’m pretty sure this movie is meant to be a parody of B-movies, but in the process, it became a zero-budget cheese fest.
Shock! Shock! Shock! starts off with what seems like a cute, happy scene with two parents talking while their toddler son plays, with what even sounds like cheap lullaby music in the background. Then it suddenly turns into a slasher film, when they’re stabbed to death. Then we see the toddler sitting between the bodies of his parents, holding the knife and looking confused. Somehow, the police conclude that this toddler was able to stab his parents in the chest with a knife that’s almost as long as his torso from top to bottom, and he’s sentenced to life in an insane asylum.
From there, the movie becomes a thriller, where he manages to escape from the asylum by, uh … walking out the front door? It’s in the asylum where we see Gandolfini’s first ever on-screen appearance, where he plays the orderly for a very brief scene. From there, the movie becomes a dramatic thriller, where he hitches a ride with a woman, and is haunted by the sight of the women’s knife. Why is she showing him her knife? The movie doesn’t really give us a good reason.
Without going into too much detail for the plot, the movie shifts into an action thriller, then it goes straight to 60’s style sci-fi horror. The acting from the villains is hilarious. Their leader exaggerates everything he says as if he’s a sugar high 10-year-old in a school play. One of his henchmen has the power of eyebeams of death, in which his eyes are covered up with oversized ping-pong balls. He’s constantly grinning too – it’s impossible to take him seriously. The special effects for his death beams are film scratches. Yup, they intentionally scratched the film for the movie’s special effects.
The movie briefly becomes a character study, then it suddenly becomes a superhero origin story. During its superhero bit, the main character becomes Starman and brutally kills the three alien invaders, as well as a monster they created. I’m not sure what my favourite part is. Is it grinding the teleporting woman’s face with an ordinary desk fan, reflecting the death beams back at death beam guy with his hands, or ripping the “Super brain” leader’s head off with a popping noise you could make with your lips. The movie then concludes as a musical. A bunch of people sing Starman’s theme song while he flies around. Even the villains, who were just killed, join in on the song from behind bars.
This is easily the most obscure movie I’ve ever looked at on this blog, and probably has the lowest budget. I could only find the one video clip on all of YouTube, and there are plenty of video clips from most hilariously bad movies. That’s what Shock! Shock! Shock! is though. It’s intentionally bad, and sometimes that makes a movie unbearable, but in this case, it works. You really need to be in the right mood to watch it, but if you are, you can watch it in full in the link below.
I’m hoping to review one last movie this coming weekend, part of why I picked a 5-weekend month for hilariously bad movie month. As of right now, I’m split between which movie from the 2000’s to look at. I won’t spoil either one, but let’s just say that one of them is a legendary box office bomb with a fairly high budget, and the other is a low-budget drama. I’ve seen them both before.
I also haven’t 100% decided on next month’s theme. It could be Hollywood Epic month, Bruce Willis month, or a general catch-up month. I’ve now seen Spider-Man: No Way Home, and there’s been Disney’s 60th animated movie and two Pixar movies since I last touched on them.