Insanity -- Drama, Journalists -- United States -- Drama, Psychiatric hospitals -- United States -- Drama, Racism -- Psychological aspects -- Drama

Shock Corridor

Archival 35mm Print


Peter Beck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans, James Best,

A Pulitzer Prize–seeking journalist named Johnny Barrett has himself committed to a mental institution to investigate the unsolved murder of one of the patients. Three inmates witnessed the crime: a brainwashed GI, a broken-spirited Black activist, and a former nuclear physicist. They’re too far gone to be of help, and, what’s more, they’re taking Johnny with them: his paranoid nightmares are matched only by his waking reality (e.g., the three-hundred-pound “Pagliacci,” who performs arias while seated on Johnny’s chest). “Fuller created a fascinatingly lurid, cheap paperback of a movie. . . . [His] attempts at exposing the social and moral failings of American society are gross, heavyhanded, and predictable. But the movie is zany and farfetched enough to overcome its faults. . . . The mental hospital [is] cartoonish, but the brutality of the place is rendered as vividly as it was in Val Lewton’s Bedlam (1946) and is just as frightening. The French, of course, take these satires as evidence—literal exposés of American life—and they’re no more than half wrong, maybe less” (Barry Gifford). 

  • Samuel Fuller
  • Stanley Cortez
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 101 mins
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive
  • Janus Films

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Shock Corridor documents  

Samuel Fuller (program note), Institut Valencià de l'Audiovisual i de Cinematografia Ricardo Muñoz Suay, Quim Casas, 2010

Pulp fictions: the films of Samuel Fuller (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 1998

Crazy for you (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 1998

Un Americain en Normandie: le jour j de Samuel Fuller (press kit), GMT Productions, Noël Simsolo, 1994

Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor (distributor materials), Beta Film GmbH, 1989

Revivals in focus -- excerpt (review), Village Voice, Tom Allen, 1988

Shock corridor (review), L.A. Weekly, Ginger Varney, 1980

The American cinema (program note), Blake Lucas, 1970

Shock corridor (review), Monthly Film Bulletin, Mike Wallington, 1970

Sam Fuller flicks shown (review), Daily Californian (Berkeley, Calif.), Lawrence Loewinger, 1969

Displaying 10 of 16 publicly available documents.

View all Shock Corridor documentation on CineFiles.