HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS #9: Wes Craven orders Assistant Director Skinner to SHOCK Peter Berg! by DARK SIDE

Posted on August 22nd, 2009
Posted on August 22nd, 2009

Many of us grew up in the 80’s watching the movies and listening to music.  One song from that era can bring back so many great memories.  Sometimes…  songs remind us of movies (or vice-versa).  HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS brings back those memories by connecting the songs we loved from the 80’s to the movie(s) they were attached to.  Visit The Small Town Critic every Saturday to rock out with us to the songs and movies that shaped a generation…

I’ll wager very few X-Files fans know that Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Skinner) on the popular show got his genre start as a crazed serial killer.  That’s right, old Uncle Mitch once played Horace Pinker, one of the meanest villains ever to grace the silver screen.  He’s so mean, he even nearly beat his son to death for interfering with matricide.  He’s so mean, he gets his jollies wasting entire families with a Rambo knife.  He’s so mean, even the Electric Satan won’t let him die after an execution by electric chair. 

After Pinker kills Jonathan Parker’s (Peter Berg) entire family and girlfriend, college football star helps police track down Pinker and put him in the hoosegow.  The night of his execution, Pinker makes a deal with Electric Satan who turns him into a body-possessing electric spirit.  Pinker goes on killing and tormenting Jonathan from beyond the grave.  Jonathan’s ghost girlfriend and his football team try to help Jonathan figure out how to defeat Pinker, but hings get even more complicated when Pinker learns he can transport himself through electrical wires and appliances. 

Before Peter Berg became a successful director (The Kingdom, Very Bad Things, Hancock, Friday Night Lights), he was a bad actor with a weird accent.  Seriously, when he says the word “Dad” it sounds like “Dod.”  Freaky.

Anyway, Shocker (1989) is a pretty cheesy horror movie.  It’s basically a tongue-in-cheek rehash of Craven’s far superior A Nightmare on Elm Street and there aren’t any real scares.  But it’s fun to see Pileggi hamming it up and the inventive ways his killer uses electricity.  The film is most famous for it’s wild and hilarious climax where Pinker pulls Jonathan into the “TV-world” and they fight it out on shows like “Leave it to Beaver” and the news with anchor John Tesh.  My favorite part is where they appear on “Beaver” running next to a car with the young Beaver Cleaver sitting in the passenger seat.  Jonathan yells, “Beaver! Help!” while Pinker is chasing him. 

Despite its cheesiness, it holds a special place in my heart as one of the first R-rated horror movies I saw in the theater.  I still get a kick out of watching it.



The title track “Shocker” was written and performed by no less than The Dudes of Wrath.  I love that name.  Here’s what Wikipedia says about them (from Paul Stanley of KISS’s wiki page)…

In 1989, Stanley loaned his voice to the title track for the soundtrack of the Wes Craven horror flick “Shocker”. The song was written by long time Stanley collaborator Desmond Child, along with Jean Beauvior and Guy Man-Dude. The song was performed by a group of well known artists calling themselves “The Dudes Of Wrath”. The Dudes consisted of Stanley and Child on vocals, Guy Man-Dude and Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard and Dio) on guitars, Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Ozbourne, Whitesnake and Dio) on bass and Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) on drums. Background vocals were provided by Desmond Child, Louis Merlino, Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts and Michael Anthony of Van Halen. (note from Dark Side to the writer of this piece: Learn how to spell “Osbourne”… ya jerk.)

That’s a hell of a pedigree for a superband and with Paul Stanley singing, it feels like a KISS song.  First here’s a ridiculously serious trailer for Shocker

And how the song, “Shocker”…

This is the best I got when I typed “electric clown” into Google. Sigh.

-Dark Side

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      Hahaha…. dod….spot on man! Great movie btw. I still love it. Ultimate 80’s supernatural action. I still like that soundtrack. Call me nostalgic.

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      Oh you bet I have a lot of affection for it. I remember when you gave me a taped copy of it (and “The Abyss”) for my birthday!

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