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USA 1963
Directed by
Samuel Fuller
101 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Shock Corridor

Ambitious newspaper reporter Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) helped by his girlfriend Cathy (Constance Towers) gets himself committed to a state mental asylum ward as a "fetishist" in order to identify a murderer known to three of the inmates.

Although apparently regarded as masterpiece in some quarters (not that I know where they are), low budget B grade is still low budget B grade no matter how well done and Fuller's film is not that well done. Yes, there are moments of wonderful excess like the flooding hospital corridor of Johnny Barrett's hallucination but the coloured inserts (taken from Fuller's own home movies) illustrating those of Trent and Stuart are more expedient time-fillers than surrealist strategies. There is also a lot of genre-typical white-coated psycho-babble and hammy loony bin types including a White Supremacist Negro and Nobel-prize winning scientist who has regressed to the mental age of six, not to mention risible moments like Barrett being attacked by a room full of "nymphos" in what is at-best a perfunctory script that adheres to the usual cautionary tale format common to such fare.

Whilst there are moments of off-beat flair to Shock Corridor there's also a lot of pointless activity (Fuller really goes to town smashing up sets) and redundancy leaving the film in the ranks of also-ran B-grade fare.




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