REVIEW: Wes Craven’s Shocker – The Music (1989)



Scan_20160607Wes Craven’s SHOCKER – No More Mr. Nice Guy – The Music (1989 SBK)

1989’s slasher film Shocker was Wes Craven’s attempt to introduce a new character to the pantheon of horror.  Unfortunately, Horace Pinker and the movie he rode in on were quickly forgotten.  Also forgotten was the heavy metal soundtrack, so let’s have a gander and see what you may have missed.

Ever heard of The Dudes of Wrath?  This temporary “supergroup” consisted of various members from track to track, but the best song they did was “Shocker” itself.  With lead vocals by Paul Stanley and Desmond Child, it’s a must-have for Kiss maniacs.  If that’s not enough, Vivian Campbell, Tommy Lee and Rudy Sarzo also play on it.  It’s like a collision of some of those bands — Kiss, Dio, Motley.  The anthemic outro will slay you.

Desmond’s writing is all over this album, and he co-wrote a track with Alice Cooper that ended up being recorded by Iggy Pop called “Love Transfusion”.  Sub out the saxophone for guitars and you could easily imagine this being a Trash B-side.   In fact I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the backing track is from the Cooper sessions, because this sounds exactly like an Alice Cooper song with Iggy Pop overdubbed.  All the musicians are guys from the Trash album.  Do the math.

It’s hard to imagine a weirder team up than Desmond Child and Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine was deep into the powders at the time, and he recorded “No More Mr. Nice Guy” with a three piece Megadeth.  The late Nick Menza had joined the band already, but Marty Friedman was yet to be hired.   Most Megadeth fans are familiar with this track, since it was re-released on their Hidden Treasures EP.  Certainly not the band’s finest moment.

Paul Stanley reappears in a writing capacity on “Sword and Stone”, performed by Bonfire.   Paul wrote it for Kiss’ Crazy Nights LP with Desmond Child and Bruce Kulick.  If it had been on Crazy Nights, it might well have been the best tune on there.  Paul’s demo has yet to be released in an official capacity, but it’s been heavily bootlegged.  Bonfire’s version is fantastic, but it only makes me hungry for a fully recorded and mixed Kiss version.  One day….

Another version of The Dudes of Wrath appear on side two, this time with Alice Cooper on vocals.  “Shockdance” sounds like little more than a slowed down variation of the “Shocker” riff, with Alice and actor Mitch Pileggi rapping over it. Just terrible stuff, actually. Thankfully Desmond redeemed it a little bit with the song he wrong with Dangerous Toys, “Demon Bell”. Like Guns N’ Roses galvanized and electroplated, “Demon Bell” slays.

Voodoo X were the band of Jean Beauvoir, who Kiss fans know from his many co-writes and guest appearances on their records. He only made one record as Voodoo X, and his song “The Awakening” is damn fine indeed. At first you’re thinking, “Oh it’s just another crap ballad”. Then a riff kicks in, and it blasts right off. It’s a bit like 80’s Kiss meets Top Gun. The last band up is Dead On, pretty pedestrian thrash metal, and one of the few songs without any involvement of Desmond Child. The angry elf vocals are hilarious, but the song is almost a parody of bad metal. The album ends with a reprise of the title track “Shocker” from the first side. Basically what this means is that you get to hear Paul Stanley singing for another two or three minutes, when he was really able to hit some seriously high notes. Cool!

The worst track is probably the ballad “Timeless Love” by Sandi Saraya.  Guess who wrote this putrid sappy swath of heartbreak?  Desmond Fucking Child!

Shocker isn’t the greatest soundtrack, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the movie that spawned it!

2.5/5 stars

The helpful back cover doesn't even tell you who's on it.

The helpful back cover doesn’t even tell you who’s on it.


  1. I saw this movie when it was new. As you said, the movie is crap but when I heard the theme song during the closing credits, I recognized Paul Stanley’s voice. I bought the soundtrack right away. I always liked Dangerous Toys and Megadeth…so I liked their songs on this album.


  2. I had this soundtrack on cassette so me personally, I would have given it a three but you hit the nail on the head on why it doesn’t deserve any higher score. It appears Desmond Child got some great bands, Saraya and Bonfire to record some songs he wrote. Shame because those two bands have produced some much better stuff on their own. As for Megadeath, well “No More Mr Nice Guy” was their first top 40 UK hit but yes, Dave must have been heavily into the powder to record it.


  3. Never saw the movie, never heard the soundtrack. I dunno, not being the super duper KISS fan you are, this doesn’t have the same pull for me.

    I laughed at the back cover not having the artist names. In 1989, without easy internet access, that was a real chance to take!


  4. Again, a movie I haven’t seen but a score I have been on the search for in physical form for many years due to the fact that it’s very hard to find these days. (It was released on Varese Sarabande) William Goldstein was the composer and if you’re not familiar with that name I’m not surprised. He’s know for such movies as Manbeast, Terror Out Of The Sky, Forced Vengeance, Fame and the short-lived 80’s revival of The Twilight Zone.

    As for the release you are talking about I may have picked it over a time or two but I never picked it up.

    This has been a great week. Maybe for the future you should consider Trick Or Treat by Fastway or Maximum Overdrive by AC/DC. Rock n’ Roll Nightmare is another, I know, because I sent you it. In any case, thanks for posting a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rob thanks for your awesome support and comments this week. I’ve had fun and now I have so many ideas for another week of this.

      I purposely went for a certain type of soundtrack this week — mixed songs — rather than scores or even a Maximum Overdrive type CD where it’s all one band. I mentioned to “J” over in another thread, it’s because sometimes I have to choose the “easy way” when I write, if you know what I mean. Certain things I find easier to write, other things take more time and effort and I usually have a good handle on how much time I’m going to need to write something. But there are only so many hours in a day…as you know we have a few challenges in our life today. So sometimes I have to bang out a review quick.

      Queen – Flash is one I want to take time with. Not only is there the 2CD set I have with the extra material, but also the 1991 reissue which had a new remix of the title track, not included on the 2 CD version. So lots to cover!

      Cheers and I think the next time will be lots of fun thanks to these suggestions.


  5. I haven’t ever seen the movie. I remember it, but never seen it. Soundtrack sounds interesting, even if it’s not generally my type of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what J, often on these soundtracks you find one of two really cool tracks that you otherwise wouldn’t buy. I enjoy that…you mentioned Bill & Ted earlier. I should do that soundtrack. Primus & Tom Waits, man! That’s a song I am glad to have found that way!


      1. Bogus Journey! Tommy The Cat! That track is genius! There’s a couple of good tunes on that soundtrack … also the first time I ever heard Kiss!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No! Really? Not one for the long term fans, then … Man, I loved that tune. Second track of theirs I fell in love with was Nirvana’s version of Do You Love Me …


  6. I’m definitely not a Megadeth fan yet, but I really like their Nice Guy. Probably because it doesn’t sound like their regular stuff. And because I’m a sucker for covers


      1. She “retired” from music after the second album, I think. Shame really, as I always loved the first album (still play it a lot now) and gave the second album quite a bit of play.
        Saraya were due to play a melodic rock festival in the UK a few years back, but that all got cancelled for some reason.
        I hear that she was married to Brian Wheat at one point too… People in bands, eh?!

        Liked by 1 person

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