Shock Corridor (1963)

Shock Corridor (1963)
Shock Corridor (1963)

Run time: 101 min
Rating: 7.6
Genres: Drama | Mystery
Director: Samuel Fuller
Writers: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans
Storyline
Peter Breck plays a Pulitzer-hungry journalist who decides to have himself committed to an asylum so that he can investigate an unsolved murder that occurred there.  This cult classic proves, once and for all, that maverick filmmaker Fuller will take chances and revitalize any cliché in order to make his point.
Details:
Release Date: 11 September 1963 (USA)

4 responses to “Shock Corridor (1963)”

  1. rgkeenan says:

    To describe SHOCK CORRIDOR as lurid would be an understatement: it plays like something torn from a supermarket tabloid. An ambitious reporter feigns madness and has himself committed to an insane asylum in order to investigate a recent and unsolved murder–and once inside he encounters everything from hateful attendants to a whole ward of crazed nymphos, and all the characters are presented in the most explotational tone possible.

    But SHOCK CORRIDOR has a lot more going for it than just lurid exploitation. Director-writer Sam Fuller was renowned for his gutsy, no-frills, straight-to-the-point style, and in his hands SHOCK CORRIDOR becomes a vision of America as a society that places so much emphasis on conformity and success that people crack and go mad under the strain. And Fuller’s cast is remarkable: even when the story goes ridiculously over the top, they perform with such sincerity, conviction, and realism that you can buy into the story in spite of its improbabilities.

    SHOCK CORRIDOR will not be to every one’s taste, but even those who dislike it will probably find themselves grudgingly fascinated by the film, and although the film transcends such labels fans of explotational and cult cinema will also find lots to enjoy. A classic of its kind. Recommended… but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

  2. rgkeenan says:

    A tale of irony in the vein of EC comics, Shock Corridor is Samuel Fuller’s work of genius and far ahead of its time. Fuller pulls some absolutely great performances out of his cast. Everyone delivers the goods. Each character is so wild and outlandish while the actors playing them still maintain believability. Peter Breck is outstanding in the lead. All of the patients are either hysterically funny or scary funny, from Stuart (Rosco P. Coltrane in a memorable role) on down to Pagliacci. But the real standout in the movie is Hari Rhodes in the role of Trent, the white supremecist. His flawless performance disturbs me (you’ll know if you’ve seen the movie). He could be the best actor ever. What else can I say about this movie, it’s an insanely perfect pulp piece. Shock Corridor is an unreal experience, film noir at its best, and truly a cult movie.

  3. IMDBReviewer says:

    This is one experience I’m not likely ever to forget, it is truly unsettling. One of the most ferocious, savage and disturbing films I have ever seen, and brilliant cinematic art on top of it.

    Ambitious reporter has himself admitted to a mental hospital in order to solve a murder there. He poses as an incestuous brother to his ‘sister’ and real-life stripper girlfriend, and once inside gets to talk to all three witnesses to the murder. Gradually, though, his own mind starts to disintegrate …

    Was there ever an asylum like Samuel Fuller’s? Hope not. One of the inmates is singing the Factotum Aria from ‘Barber of Seville’ around the clock, another savours the words "I am impotent and I like it", but they are the sanest ones. Of the three witnesses one imagines himself to be a general at Gettysburg but suddenly shifts and claims to be a Communist in reaction to "my folks (that) fed my bigotry for breakfast and ignorance for dinner" in a long pathetic virtuoso solo by actor James Best. One, a young black man, dresses as a Ku Klux Klan member, advocating white supremacy, expressing his loathing for blacks ("Oh, they’re alright as entertainers, but …"), and the third, a Nobel prize winner, has retreated into infantilism.

    ‘Shock Corridor’, which obviously turned out to be a cult favourite, directed by maverick independent filmmaker and former journalist Samuel Fuller, makes no excuses for itself, and its style is swaggeringly confident, blending pulp and downright tawdriness with high melodrama and noir, in unforgettable, dramatically lit images. Sometimes it’s plain silly in its excessive irony, at other times searing in its empathy, and probably the most funny moments are those when the reporter (a wonderful Peter Breck) once more asks his increasingly absurd and irrelevant question, "Who killed Sloane in the kitchen?", and when he finally learns who, he forgets about it immediately! I cannot recommend this film enough, it is one of the great works of art of American cinema. No less.

  4. IMDBReviewer says:

    Shock Corridor is one of Samuel Fuller’s wildest works, a deeply personal examination of insanity by the premier exponant of 50’s and 60’s Pulp Cinema. I prefer "The Naked Kiss", but "Shock Corridor" certainly stands as a unique and memorable work. It is silly, no downright ludicrous at times, as seen today, but this must have been strong stuff when it came out in 1963. It boldly takes on such topics as incest, racism and cold war paranoia. Not sensitively, mind you, yet quite boldly!

    Every scene in this movie seems to be played at fever pitch, and I have to say I believe its been over-rated critically, due to the auteur theory run amok, but I do admire Fuller’s gutsiness and directorial skill. If only his skills as a scenarist and dialogue writer were commensurate! He did, however, certainly know how to pull an intense performance out of an actor. Breck and Towers are rather ridiculously intense at times, as a matter of fact, though forgivably so, as they are instruments of their director and express his style perfectly. Hari Rhodes, who people of my generation may remember from the tv series, "Daktari", gives a terrific supporting performance, as does the memorable Larry Tucker, who later became a Hollywood screenwriter and producer.

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