As hor­ror fans grieve the loss of Wes Craven, is it worth not­ing that his fans in the home video busi­ness have done well by him and cre­at­ed spe­cial edi­tions that will help his lega­cy to live on. Scream Factory has been an impor­tant play­er in this area in the last few years, bring­ing titles like Deadly Blessing, Swamp Thing and The People Under The Stairs into the high-def realm with plen­ty of bonus mate­ri­al. Their lat­est Craven-ori­ent­ed work is a spe­cial edi­tion blu-ray of Shocker: though it was not intend­ed as a posthu­mous trib­ute, it Shocker-bludoes a nice job of hon­or­ing his sin­gu­lar take on the hor­ror gen­re.

The trans­fer includ­ed here looks pret­ty sleek, with nice col­or repro­duc­tion (par­tic­u­lar­ly those fre­quent blue tones) and nice lev­els of detail. Both 2.0 and 5.1 loss­less stereo mix­es are includ­ed. The 5.1 track was used for this review and it’s a live­ly affair with sur­round activ­i­ty dur­ing the shocks and a punchy, lay­ered pre­sen­ta­tion of the musi­cal score.

Scream Factory also piles on the extras. The bonus fea­tures begin with two com­men­tary tracks. The first is a solo Craven track that is full of insights deliv­ered in the soft-spo­ken but inci­sive style that was his trade­mark. His talks about how the the­me of a young man emerg­ing from the shad­ow of a bru­tal father was a per­son­al one for him and goes into great detail about how expressed his cho­sen sym­bol­ism through visu­als. He also speaks fond­ly of the film as his first col­lab­o­ra­tion with long­time pro­duc­ing part­ner Marianne Maddalena and how it was the first time he had total cre­ative con­trol on a film. It’s nec­es­sary lis­ten­ing for his fans.

Shocker-05The oth­er track was cre­at­ed by extras pro­duc­er Michael Felsher and finds him inter­view­ing three of the director’s key col­lab­o­ra­tors: cin­e­matog­ra­pher Jacques Haitkin, 1st A.D. Robert Engelman and com­poser William Goldstein. All three sub­jects offer insight­ful details into their work: Haitkin dis­cuss­es his phi­los­o­phy of cin­e­matog­ra­phy and his sto­ry-dri­ven approach to his artis­tic choic­es, Engelman talks about blend­ing the prac­ti­cal demands of pro­duc­tion with sup­port­ing the direc­tor and Goldstein cov­ers his career before reveal­ing how his exper­tise in elec­tron­ic com­po­si­tion was used on this film. Felsher pro­vides nice bios for each per­son and keeps the insights flow­ing with qual­i­ty ques­tions.   It’s a great com­ple­ment to the Craven track and good lis­ten­ing for aspir­ing film­mak­ers.

Shocker-06Next up is a quar­tet of new fea­turettes. A near­ly 18-min­ute inter­view with Pileggi is the first: the actor reveals the gen­tle, intel­li­gent man behind the blus­tery vil­lain per­for­mance, telling fun tales about how he scared Maddalena dur­ing his audi­tion and how the film’s pre­mière allowed him to con­vince his friends and fam­i­ly about his career. Cami Cooper appears in a 17-min­ute sit­down in which she dis­cuss­es how she tran­si­tioned from teen mod­el­ing to film, dis­cuss­es the FX-ori­ent­ed chal­lenges of her per­for­mance and reveals why she drift­ed away from the film busi­ness.

Shocker-07The third fea­turet­te is an inter­view with pro­duc­er Shep Gordon. It packs a ton of fas­ci­nat­ing info into 12 min­utes: Gordon reveals how he learned to finance films via video sales, how he cre­at­ed Alive to give his cho­sen film­mak­ers total cre­ative con­trol of their work and why he ulti­mate­ly left the film busi­ness.

The final fea­turet­te might be the most fun: “The Music Of Shocker” focus­es on the film’s song sound­track. Interviewing pro­duc­er Desmond Child and mem­bers of Dangerous Toys, Megadeth and Kiss, it cov­ers each song on the sound­track and insights into why and how each song was writ­ten and record­ed. Kane Roberts also appears and offers an intrigu­ing thought about why ‘80s met­al matched ‘80s hor­ror films so well. It’s fun and edu­ca­tion­al for the film’s fans and hard rock fans in gen­er­al.

Shocker-08The remain­der of the extras are devot­ed to pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als. A trail­er and a pair of t.v. spots lean heav­i­ly on Craven’s name as a hor­ror auteur (part of the Alive Films approach) and play up Horace Pinker as a new hor­ror supervil­lain. Two radio spots use sim­i­lar tac­tics but also play up the hard rock sound­track.

A “Vintage Making Of” seg­ment offers two brief EPK’s: the first focus­es on Craven as he gives his intel­lec­tu­al take on hor­ror and the sec­ond has Craven pos­ing the film as com­pe­ti­tion to the Nightmare On Elm Street fran­chise, with addi­tion­al sound­bites from stars Peter Berg and Michael Murphy. An ani­mat­ed sto­ry­board gallery cov­ers four sequences in the film and an image gallery adds over 70 images’ worth of ad art, stills and behind the sce­nes pix.

Simply put, this is a fine upgrade of Shocker with extras that give you an appre­ci­a­tion for the tal­ent and intel­lec­tu­al depth of Craven. Anyone with an appre­ci­a­tion for his work will want to check it out.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Shocker, click here.