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Before he passed away, Mario Bava teamed up with his son to deliver one more for the books, plus pass his torch on.




This is the last film by the late great Italian Horror Maestro, Mario Bava, who teams with son Lamberto to pass on tricks of the family trade.    The story opens with Dora (Daria Nicolodi) moving back into the family home with her 6-year-old son Marco (David Colin, Jr.) and new husband, airline pilot Bruno (John Steiner).  Dora is a remarried widow who had been recently released from an asylum after having a nervous breakdown brought about by her late junkie husband’s apparent suicide. 


I don’t want to give too much away, being that this is the type of film that works best with the audience knowing nothing while the story unfolds.    Let’s just say the house starts to have a strange effect on Marco.  Of course, no one believes Dora when she says that Marco is acting weird.  After all, this six-year-old boy is spying on his mom in the shower, stealing her underwear and feeling her up while she’s asleep.  All healthy normal things for a six-year-old adolescent male to do, right?  And Dora did just get out of the institute for the very, very nervous, so she may be a tad bit over reactive. 


To tell you any more would spoil what I consider to be an excellent, well crafted psychological thriller.  However, upon viewing, you will more than likely figure out the story halfway through the film.  Even that still makes this one fun to watch.  Piecing the clues together, then waiting for the final climax (no pun intended) between mother and son.


Although considered by many to be one of the weakest films by Mario, I found it to be very intriguing.    What starts out as an “Oedipus Rex” plot line quickly evolves into supernatural elements with the “Am I going crazy?” character leading the way.  I think the problem is many fans compare Shock to Mario’s classics such as Lisa And The Devil and Planet of the Vampires, where truthfully, this film doesn’t hold a candle.  However, one must also consider that his son, Lamberto, co-wrote the script and probably directed a good portion of this film under the guidance of his father (Lamberto is credited as assistant director). More importantly, where it really counts, you will know that the suspense scenes are pure Mario Bava creations. 


My feeling is that this film was a collaboration between father and son, mentor and pupil, and should not be compared to other works created by Mario alone.  Released in the U.S. as Beyond the Door II by the now defunct Film Ventures distribution company, it played in the drive-ins double featured with Dawn of the Dead.


Shock (1977)  a.k.a. Beyond the Door II

Director: Mario Bava. 

Music by Goblin, credited as Libra.


©Humberto Amador

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