Shock / Schock (1977)

4.0 out of 5

Daria Nicolodi gives the performance of her career as Dora, a woman who has just returned from being institutionalized for a mental breakdown that she suffered after the suicide of her heroin addict ex-husband. She moves back into their old house, accompanied by present husband, John Steiner, and young son Marco, David Colin Jr. Dora is stricken by terrifying dreams and hallucinations, while Marco exhibits bizarre and threatening behavior towards his mother. Is the ghost of her dead husband possessing her son and haunting her? Or is Dora losing her mind?

Released in the U.S. as Beyond the Door II, a sequel in name only, Shock is Mario Bava’s last theatrical film. It is a suspenseful tale that blurs the line between the psychological and the supernatural. Son Lamberto served as assistant director and co-writer.

The atmospheric score by Libra has a Goblin-esque sound, and features several musicians that have performed with Goblin at one time or another.

Among the film’s memorable images are a laughing piano, a box cutter that floats menacingly though the air, hallucinatory camera effects, a dangerous giant sculptural hand, and a jump-inducing father-son transformation scene. This underrated shocker is highly recommended.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics