A desperate woman slowly loosing her grip on reality; is she being haunted or is she just plain nutzo? A young boy seemingly possessed by a deceased adult male; is he a monster or a victim? You’ve seen these screws turned before no doubt, but here the guy manning the screwdriver is Italian film legend MARIO BAVA and the results may surprise you. SHOCK, released in America as BEYOND THE DOOR 2 has little to do with its EXORCIST cash-in predecessor BEYOND THE DOOR, save for the presence of child actor DAVID COLIN JR. This is BAVA’s last film and some of it was helmed by his son/protégé, the also very talented LAMBERTO BAVA. Two BAVAs for the price of one? Count me in! Unlike the Big B‘s best work, you’re unlikely to find yourself salivating over every scene, but that’s as it should be as the story really doesn’t call for it. There’s a natural everyday vibe here not usually associated with the director. No worries, though. When the gloves come off, we are treated to nearly every camera trick in the book, and though some may find their patience tested during the slow build up, few will be dissatisfied by film’s conclusion. One scene in particular is a visual doozy and is a testament to what can be achieved without optical effects when real creativity is involved. DARIA NICOLODI, frequent collaborator with DARIO ARGENTO (one such collaboration was named ASIA), is a joy to watch sliding down the slippery slope to cuckoo town. The insular, claustrophobic, constant grinding of her psyche brings POLANSKI’s REPULSION to mind. Her bizarre, sometimes apparently incestuously-inclined offspring fares equally well. COLIN JR.’s lack of acting chops is easily compensated for by the fact that he’s just one of the freakiest looking kids ever. If his jack-o’-lantern old man mug and MARJOE GORTNER locks don’t get under your skin, then it’s gotta be cuz you’re all crazy looking yourself. SHOCK is a great farewell card from a true artist. It may not burst with the power of some of his earlier work, but its stealthy psychological approach sets it apart from the pack.
The soundtrack by GOBLIN-infected rock band LIBRA is a rocking jack-in-a-box
Razor blade in a piano keyboard!
Window replaced by brick wall followed by floating box-cutter