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Friday, May 24, 2013

Shock Corridor (1963) d. Samuel Fuller


The Criterion Collection revised edition had artwork by Daniel Clowes, which makes perfect sense.


































Movie Review
Shock Corridor
d. Samuel Fuller
1963
Criterion Collection #19

  This is the second Samuel Fuller film in a row I've watched.  The other was The Naked Kiss.  Both have Constance Garnett as the female lead.  In The Naked Kiss she plays a reformed prostitute who murders here pedophile fiance.  In Shock Corridor she plays the cabaret singer fiance of the newspaper reporter who goes undercover into an insane asylum to solve a murder and pays... with his sanity.

Shock Corridor


  Seeing the two films back to back in the their glorious Criterion Collection editions it is easy to see what contemporary critics saw in his movies.  First of all, there is his outre treatment of mental illness- Shock Corridor has a black character who thinks he is white and repeatedly talks about lynching "niggers."   The Naked Kiss was the first movie to directly discuss pedophilia as a mental illness.  Fuller was clearly interested in the subject as a hook to sell movie tickets in the 1960s.  This psychological angle is something that has lasting interest to the film scholar community, but these are not dry, academic films, they are pulpy b movies and rewarding for reasons outside of their long term value- in the same way that you can watch a Quentin Tarantino or Richard Rodriguez film as a genre exercise or a film that plays with the conventions of genre.
Shock Corridor with the black character who thinks he's a white racist


 Same thing with Fuller, in fact it seems like Samuel Fuller was likely an inspiration to Tarantino.  I could probably look that up.  It certainly feels right.  There is a sort of studied artificality that surrounds Fuller's films that recalls the work of David Lynch, as well.  Think of Kyle McLaughlin in Blue Velvet.

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