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Schock – 1977
A new look at the face of evil.
Mario Bava

Francesco Barbieri screenplay
Francesco Barbieri story
Lamberto Bava screenplay
Lamberto Bava story
Paolo Brigenti screenplay
Paolo Brigenti story
Dardano Sacchetti screenplay
Dardano Sacchetti story

Ugo Valenti associate producer
Turi Vasile producer

Daria Nicolodi – Dora Baldini
John Steiner – Bruno Baldini
David Colin Jr. – Marco
Ivan Rassimov – Dr. Aldo Spidini
Paul Costello – Obnoxious man at party
Nicola Salerno – Carlo

Review by Sven Soetemans
The master’s last film. …*wipes away tear*,

Mario Bava ended his brilliant career as a filmmaker with Shock, while it meant the launch for his son’s activities in horror cinema (more or less, since Rabid Dogs knew many production difficulties). Even though Shock can’t possibly stand a comparison with some of Mario Bava’s previous masterpieces (like Black Sunday, Bay of Blood, Kill Baby…Kill and others), it still is an ingenious and frightening horror tale not worth ignoring. The film completely breathes Bava’s style and trademarks…The story is standard and rather simple, but the whole atmosphere and tension created by Bava brings it up to an higher level.

(****Small Spoilers here****) A young mother (Daria Nicolodi – known from Argento’s giallo-shocker `Profondo Rosso) moves back into the house where her husband committed suicide 7 years earlier. She tries to rebuild her life with her son (David Colin Jr. from the previous `Beyond the Door’) and her second husband Bruno. Not long after, strange events start to occur in the house and they keep reminding Dora of her late husband. Even her son starts to behave pretty peculiar. He evolves from being an irritant boy to an actual scary little monster! It more and more starts to look like the house is still possessed by the restless spirit of the dead husband.

The tension in Shock is built up very slowly and almost bloodless. Through dazzling camera-viewpoints and creepy gothic music, Bava knows how to create a claustrophobic atmosphere before exploding into a disturbing and adrenalin-filled finale! The concluding 10 minutes of this film (and therefore the 10 last minutes of Bava’s entire career as a director) are class-A horror, living up to the director’s earlier highlights.

Shock is overall a very entertaining and professionally made ‘Haunted House’ chiller, containing multiple other horror elements. The acting is above average, regarding Italian shlock-standards. A worthy final installment to a brilliant career.

Schock (1977)

Review by Wayne Malin

Shlock is more like it!,

Dora Baldini (Diana Nicolodi) has just been released from an asylum. Her drug-addicted husband drove her crazy–and disappeared. She moves back home with her new husband and 10 year old son (David Colin Jr.) from the previous marriage. Things are OK at first–but then her son threatens to kill her and strange things start to happen. Is she going crazy or is his first husband dead and returning to kill her?

Very slow and very dull film from director Mario Bava–his final one. I personally never found Bava’s movies too good. They are atmospheric but they make no sense and are full of unlikable characters. This one doesn’t even have atmosphere to help it! It plods on at a very slow pace and wears out it’s welcome long before it’s over. Colin is easily one of the worst child actors I’ve ever seen–it’s a good thing he never made another movie. Nicolodi is good and tries–but she can’t save the movie. The plot is–to say the least–improbable and there’s a music score that will make you want to scream. Nothing really happens until the final 20 minutes when Bava throws in some graphic gore and increasingly silly (but fun) plot twists–but it’s too little too late.

I saw it in a revival theatre where audiences usually applaud after the movies. This ended with dead silence and one guy saying, “Bava directed THAT?” A must miss even if you’re a Bava fan.

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70s Films

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