Blu-ray Review: Shock

Mother and son

While Mario Bava may not get the same recognition as his fellow countryman Dario Argento, his films have been as equally influential on generations of filmmakers who have followed in their wake. The likes of Blood and Black Lace, Black Sabbath, A Bay of Blood and The Girl Who Knew Too Much are all criminally underappreciated by English-speaking audiences and chillingly memorable. His final film, Shock, is no exception.

Dora (Daria Nicolodi) moves back into the family home with her new husband Bruno (John Steiner) and her young son Marco (David Colin Jr.) from her first marriage. Haunted by nightmares, her days begin to be tormented by a series of strange events. At the same time, Marco’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and unusual. She starts to believe that the house is possessed but Bruno dismisses her protestations and refuses to move out.

Whilst much of Bava’s work borders on the operatic, Shock focuses more on Dora’s internal breakdown. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of screaming involved. There’s plenty of that! As a psychological drama it encompasses many of the elements which made him so successful. Playing with perception, he uses Dora’s increasing instability to create some unerring and startling moments. Shock certainly lives up to its name and is a fitting finale to an incredibly fruitful career.

Special features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative by Arrow Films
  • Original Italian and English front and end titles and insert shots
  • Restored original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark
  • A Ghost in the House, a new video interview with co-director and co-writer Lamberto Bava
  • Via Dell’Orologio 33, a new video interview with co-writer Dardano Sacchetti
  • The Devil Pulls the Strings, a new video essay by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Shock! Horror! – The Stylistic Diversity of Mario Bava, a new video appreciation by author and critic Stephen Thrower
  • The Most Atrocious Tortur(e), a new interview with critic Alberto Farina
  • Italian theatrical trailer
  • 4 US “Beyond the Door II” TV spots
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Troy Howarth, author of The Haunted World of Mario Bava

Shock is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 17 January.

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