A young widow moves into her old family home with her son and new partner. She soon starts to believe that the spirit of her former husband is haunting the house and wants to possess her son….
“Shock” (1977) is a mediocre Bava movie which is held back by mis-casting and slow pacing. The film is exclusively built around the relationships of three people, neither of whom are entirely convincing.
On occasion, the film erupts with the visual zealousness Bava won fame for. We have a razor blade placed precariously between the keys of a piano and a groaning spectre seen through the light of a child’s flashlight in what is quite a magical shot. But for the most part this is a dull and dreary film which just goes through the “haunted-house” motions, one by one. There are creaking doors, moving objects, peculiar noises and a child’s swing pushed by a phantom. Throw in a pair of zombie-hands searching for Daria Nicolodi’s flesh and you basically have the first 70 or so minutes of the movie.
The score has always been one of Italian horror’s centrepieces but the musical accompaniment to “Shock” (1977) is minimalist and disinterested. The film takes a welcome change of direction in the final third, with some out-of-the-blue plot devices, genuinely surprising revelations and a charitable amount of gore. But, the audience shouldn’t need to wait this long – such treasures should have been the essence of the movie rather than its belated goodbye.
On balance, Bava’s final film isn’t terrible but there are cries of desperate movie-making in some of the reels. As a result it’s one for completists alone.
NB: This movie is also known as “Beyond the Door 2” despite bearing no relation to “Beyond the Door” (1974).
hotdog rating: 5.5/10