When someone mentions Italian horror, you’re probably going to think of a giallo or a zombie film, and one with a lot of gore. But that’s not accurate, as many and some of the best Italian horror films are in fact psychological thrillers such as Schock. However, the film IS very “Italian”, in that it contains nonsensical dialogue and scenes that exist entirely within the world of “dream logic”. And it does have SOME gore, during the climax, so there’s something.
That climax features more ‘typical’ genre conventions, but otherwise, Schock falls more into the ‘killer kid’ genre than anything else. For the most part, the film concerns a woman slowly going mad due to the apparent possession of her son by her ex-husband. Like The Omen, the kid doesn’t seem to be conscious of his evil, which of course makes his deeds more effective. The scene where he tries to kill his mother’s new boyfriend is particularly nasty (since the guy happens to flying a plane filled with innocent people), and there are some light Oedipal touches as well that are pretty creepy.
This one is a lot different than Mario’s other films, and it’s a shame he died right after completing it, since it seemed he was going in a different direction with his career, one I happen to quite enjoy. His other films, while not BAD by any means, aren’t ones I consider my favorites in the genre, but this one I really dug a lot. To be fair, some folks say his son Lamberto actually directed a lot of it, so maybe that’s why.
Look, it doesn’t matter. The movie features a psychiatrist who “comforts” a troubled woman by reminding her about her shock therapy, depression, and “drug addict ex-husband”. I wish I could find the exact quote, but alas. Hopefully this one will be on the second volume of Anchor Bay’s Mario Bava sets (the first one is labeled “Volume 1″ so they better release a 2nd one or else Encyclopedia Brown will come down hard on their ass).
Check out more of BC’s reviews at Horror Movie A Day!