Blu-ray Review: Shock



Mario Bava was one of the giants of Italian cinema. Staring the late 1930s, Bava became prized as a filmmaker for his cinematography and special effects. In the late ’50s, Bava had to step up on a few productions and finish directing the films. For Black Sunday, Bava finally was given a film to direct from the start. He created a film that set the standard for Italian horror and made Barbara Steele an icon. He quickly became a major force with Black Sabbath, The Whip and the Body, Blood and Black Lace, Planet of the Vampires, Danger: Diabolik and Lisa and the Devil. Because he had started so late in his career to direct, his final effort was Shock in 1977. The film united him with Dario Nicolodi, the co-writer of Susperia. Shock also had him working with his son Lamberto Bava who would go on to direct Demons and Demons 2. It’s interesting that father and son would work on the film since Shock is a familial horror.

Thomas Wolfe wrote a book called You Can’t Go Home Again. Dora Baldini (Deep Red‘s Daria Nicolido) does go home and she should have taken notice of Wolfe’s novel. She moves back into her old house with her son Marco (Beyond the Door‘s David Colin Jr.) and new husband Bruno (Caligula‘s John Steiner). He’s a pilot. Since the house is near the airport, it’s perfect for him. Why did Dora’s move out of the old home originally? Because she lived there with her late husband Carlo. He was a drug abuser, but he died at sea on a boat. Things should be ok, but very quickly a supernatural force haunts the happy family after they unpack in the familiar abode. Things get a little more bizarre when Bruno is off on flights since Dora had used shock treatments to get over the death of Carlo. Is being inside the house setting off weird memories of their time together or is she just freaking out? Maybe spirit of Carlo wants back in the house?

Shock has Mario Bava doing what he does best. Making an innovative film on a shoestring budget. He opens up the house to plenty of possibilities as we wonder what is happening to the family. While the special effects aren’t overwhelming, they are effective at putting a scare on the screen. Daria Nicolodi gets you pondering if she’s haunted or still insane. When the movie was released in America, the distributor called it Beyond The Door II. Why? Because the kid was the child in the original Beyond the Door. Don’t think you need to see that film to understand this one. Bava did not make a sequel. Shock is a shocking film about why you should find a new home for your new family.

Video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. This is a new 2K transfer so you’ll see more than previous DVD releases. The audio has the original Italian and English dubs. Daria’s voice is dubbed in the Italian mix so you aren’t hearing the original cast on either choice. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas is great since he wrote a book on Mario Bava. He mentions The Scales that did the score for Shock included an ex- member of Goblin. He points out that Lamberto Bava plays a moving man at the start of the film. Turns out the film was made for nearly $60,000.

A Ghost In The House (30:34) sits down with Lamberto Bava who co-wrote the script and was the first assistant director on Shock. He talks a bit about being Mario Bava’s son.

Via Dell’Orologio 33 (33:48) interviews co-writer Dardano Sacchetti. He enjoyed the experience of working on the film even through it went through a few title changes. He was in a public feud with Dario Argento when he was invited to meet Mario Bava. They first worked together on Bay of Blood. The basic premise for Shock was developed at the same time. He goes into how much Bava hated working with actors.

The Devil Pulls the Strings (20:45) is critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas discussing the movie. She goes deep into the hand sculpture in the movie.

Shock! Horror! – The Stylistic Diversity of Mario Bava (51:46) is a video appreciation by Stephen Thrower. He places Shock in context with the director’s other horror film.

The Most Atrocious Tortur(e) (4:12) interviews critic Alberto Farina about the film. He relates his interviews with Daria Nicolodi. The piece includes a drawing Mario Bava did for her during the shooting of Shock. He also explains that her voice was dubbed because a producer thought she sounded to masculine.

Trailers include the Italian Theatrical Trailer (3:35) and five TV Spots when the film was released in the US as “Beyond the Door II” (1:51). One is for a double feature with The Dark.

Image Galleries includes Posters, the Italian Fotobuste and Japanese Souvenir Program.

Arrow Videos presents Shock. Directed by Mario Bava. Screenplay by Lamberto Bava, Francesco Barbieri, Alessandro Parenzo & Dardano Sacchetti. Starring Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, David Colin Jr., Ivan Rassimov & Nicola Salerno. Running Time: 92 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Release Date: January 18, 2022.

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