Shock Corridor (1963)

Shock Corridor (1963) – On paper this movie sounds a lot better than it is. It’s about a reporter named Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) who goes undercover in an insane asylum to uncover the truth about a murder that took place there. In order to find out what happens who needs to talk to the three witnesses, all of whom are men driven insane by the hypocrisies of the early 1960s: communist paranoia, racism, and the nuclear arms race. Being constantly in the presence of madness however turns out to be enough to drive Barrett mad. That’s a cool fucking premise and that’s why I wanted to see the movie. However the movie ends up being too pulpy to ever really deliver. I don’t think a bigger budget would necessarily have solved all its problems. Hell, maybe my expectations were just too high after hearing everyone gush over it all the time. Maybe it’s fine and I’m just too modern a viewer to respond to the different style of the early 1960s (us damn kids today!). Either way I just didn’t really respond to Shock Corridor. I really liked Pickup on South Street so I won’t be dissuaded from giving more Samuel Fuller films a shot, but I just didn’t get too into this one. It did have some great scenes though. I can see why other people hold it in such high regard I just don’t quite share that opinion.

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