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In a fit of rage, Doctor Richard Cross (Vincent Price) kills his wife,
whom he has been cheating on for years with his assistant Elaine (Lynn
Bari) anyways. Problem is, Nancy Stewart (Anabel Shaw), who stays in the
hotel next door witnesses the whole thing. Fortunately for Doctor Cross
though, the woman falls into an immediate state of shock, which is blamed
on the fact that she was overly excited about the return of her husband
Paul (Frank Latimore), who was first presumed dead, then held as a
prisoner of war, and was supposed to meet her in the hotel after two years
of absence. When Paul finally arrives though, he finds his wife completely
traumatized, and since Doc Cross is a prominent psychiatrist and just
happens to live next door, she is handed over to his care.
Janet to his asylum, but instead of trying to cure her, he tries to make
her sound insane, so that even if she reports the murder, nobody will
believe her. In the meantime, he tries to get rid of the body (nobody
knows his wife is dead yet), throwing her off some cliffs.
everything goes as planned, and everybody believes Cross's wife has died
in an accident, until one day, a nosey DA (Reed Hadley) shows up and
suggests the woman did not have an accident but was actually killed by a
burglar who has been prowling the neighbourhood. Soon enough, evidence is
found, too, that she has been struck to death with a candlestick, but
still, the burglar is suspected rather than Cross. This means one thing of
course: He and Elaine have to get rid of Janet before she tears down their
house of lies simply by telling her suspicions about the doctor being a
killer to someone who cares to listen. Cross and Elaine decide to kill
Janet by slowly overdosing her on insuline shots, which will look like
nothing but a tragic accident during treatment.
Janet's husband Paul
though has already listened to her, has put two and two together when
hearing about Doctor Cross's wife's death, and now calls on Cross's
colleague Doctor Harvey (Charles Trowbridge) for help, who is soon
convinced that Paul's suspicions are reasonable and his wife might be in
terrible danger - so they rush to their rescue ...
Meanwhile, Cross is
preparing to let Janet die on the insuline overdose and realizes he can't
just in the final moment. It is then that Elaine tries to push him to do
it, but in a fit of rage, he kills Elaine instead of Janet, strangling
her. Having killed the woman he loved, he falls into a weird state of
stupor and lets Paul and Doc Harvey save Janet.
as the story of this little film noir sounds at first, it is actually
translated into a screenplay remarkably well, and with Vincent Price, the
movie has also the right actor for the lead role. That said though, the
film is not exactly perfect, it suffers a bit from a very flat, even bland
direction that's never able to overcome the low budget this film was made
on, and Reed Hadley in a key role is a bit too wooden to really work. But
that said, the film is still well worth a look.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
... and a second opinion by Dale Pierce ...
Vincent Price plays a psychiatrist having an affair who kills his wife
with a candlestick when he announces he wishes a divorce and she refuses.
He then disposes of her body bu dumping it off a cliff to make it look
like an accidental fall. Complications arise when a young woman on a
balcony witnesses the murder through the killer's window and goes into
shock over the affair.
The boyfriend takes this disturbed girl to a doctor and who should her
doctor be but....
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
No one saw it coming??????????
In treating the girl, Price of course finds out she witnessed the killing
and thus does everything he can to hinder her recovery rather than help it
along. When she comes to and tries to identify him as the killer, he has
already convinced everyone she is mad. Thus the cat and mouse game begins,
which is further complicated when the police start to suspect foul play
rather than accidental death in the demise of the dead woman.
Price as usual, makes the film. Once again, he is at his cowardly best,
masking his fear and insecurity with false bravado. He is a smirking,
loathsome villain of the lowest order and again pulls off the role of a
total dipshit, which of course made his career again and again. Vincent Price
saved many films from being total disasters due to his acting ability. More
Dead Than Alive, The Haunted
Palace, The Pit &
The Pendulum, The
Abdominal Dr. Phibes and Theater
Of Blood come to mind. In Shock, he does not have to save
the film as a solo, for he has a decent script to work with, but his
presence once again makes the movie.
In all, Shock is a tense film, though some of it gets a little
predictable. It is well worth a look, and to think I discovered it by