Shock (1946)

NOVEMBER 13, 2008


You really can’t go wrong with Vincent Price. Even a rather dull movie like Shock can manage to seem exciting when Price is onscreen. Honestly, whenever the movie shifts to other folks it nearly put me in a coma, but as soon as he was back on, it got my full attention. Shit, Willis can’t even do that sometimes.

And this was rather early in his horror/thriller career, so he’s not even as scene-chewingly delightful as usual. If anything, he’s sort of subdued, playing a shrink who kills his wife and then spends the rest of the movie trying to convince the one witness that she was hallucinating. It’s a grand role for him, and without doing any research whatsoever on the matter, I assume it was part of what led to his signature roles of the 50s.

It’s good that they cast him too, because other actors would not be able to strike the right balance between sinister and charming that Price pulls off, and in turn makes the movie interesting. You practically want to see the guy succeed (I almost put this in the “Hero Killer” category), because he’s just so damn wonderful. And I got a real kick out his nonsensical excuses and fake psychiatric practices that he explains to people. When the girl’s husband tells him that she is convinced she saw Price kill his wife, Price replies “Oh this is a common delusion of amnesiacs...” Hahaha, what? Why would someone who couldn’t remember who they were be able to “remember” specific murders that never occurred? Yet, not only does he convince the husband on this matter, Christ, he almost convinced ME.

Speaking of the murder, for some reason they never show his wife’s face. I expected this to be part of a twist or something, but no. The Code restrictions are obvious during the murder scenes, but why she is never fully shown I do not know. Maybe because he is later seen kissing his mistress (the murder is the result of them arguing about getting a divorce)? Was there some rule about only kissing a woman outside of wedlock if a wife character was never actually shown? Again, someone needs to do a doc about the damn Code.

Oh, and if you’re into conspiracy theories, Price begins a treatment that would kill the woman on Tuesday, September 11th. They even go out of their way to point this out, for some reason. Spoooooky.

As these 40s cheapies go, it’s not too bad, thanks to Price and a kinda cool plot. Plus the ending is a bit of a surprise, though not in a twist way, more in a redemption-y heroic kind of way. It’s very slow and absolutely nothing happens after the murder, but the fact that it’s not about a bunch of assholes in a house discussing an inheritance or whatever (which describes about every 3rd movie on the Horror Classics set) was enough for it to stick out a little.

What say you?

NOTE - Below is not the trailer, but a key (early) scene, provided by Mill Creek itself!

1 comment:

  1. I love this flick. I bought it for a dollar at my local grocery store. Hell... it was cheaper than my Snickers bar.


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