Dr. Shock, Or: How I Learned to Love Independent Movies

Dr. Shock, Or: How I Learned to Love Independent Movies

“Hey couch potatoes it’s me, Dr. Shock, your Midnight Mental Maniac, your Marauder of Mayhem, your Lieutenant of Lunacy, your Prince of Puns!”

So began many a Saturday nights on WUPW Fox 36 in Toledo, Ohio when Dr. Shock’s X-ray Chiller Theatre hit the airwaves.  From 1989 till 1992 Dr. Shock and his cast of characters including Frumpy the Zombie, Shrunken Head, and Camera Sick would show classic horror movies, while mixing in their over the top campy humor during the breaks.  Being a 10 years old at the time, I remember laughing at the stupid jokes while getting my first taste of horror movies.  It was a wonderful time to be a kid in Northwest Ohio.

Unfortunately, Dr. Shock had to go, being replaced by infomercials and I thought that would be the end of it.  That is until my first trip to Cinema Wasteland in 2004 where I met the man himself!  He was there screening his newest movie from Aftershock Productions, Wilber’s Dead and Breakfast.  After sitting down to chat with the doctor, I learned that shortly after being cancelled he, Doug Agosti, and his longtime friend and co-creator Lance Otto Smith formed Aftershock Productions to try there hand at shooting no budget horror shorts.  They started with a couple of out of print shorts that I never had the chance to see, A Winter’s Chill and The Dweller.  They tried to sell these through classified ads in Fangoria magazine, having marginal success. 

In 2000 they decided to go in a different route and start adding blood and gore to there horror, and pushing them on the internet.  That’s where The Garden Tool Murders was unleashed on the now defunct ifilm.com website, where it was the #1 thriller movie at one time, and climbed to #5 on the comedy list.  They had found there calling, and began making more violent horror movies, still sprinkling in comedy along the way. All the movies are shot in and around Toledo, and for a working budget of around $500.  These are the epitome of no budget horror, and I love them all for that fact alone.   “So couch potatoes, lets…turn off the lights…melt in your chairs and absorb the shock waves off the tele…” and enjoy the films of Dr. Shock!


The Garden Tool Murders:   Story of a disgruntled groundskeeper who is under extreme pressure to get the park ready for the Cherry Festival, but one too many litterers has driven him over the edge.

Demon’s Day:  Lucifer is cloned, which leads to the ultimate battle in Hell.  To the winner will go the spoils.

The Town That Loved PizzaA new pizza joint in town is all the buzz, until a number of the townsfolk turn up missing. 

Bullet For A Vampire:  Mob family the Luciani’s throw a fortune teller out of her shop due to late rent  payments, only to have the boss’s daugher bring home a new man, a vampire.  Who will win the battle between the mob and a vampire?

Wilber’s Dead and Breakfast:  Meet brother’s Wilber and Swilber who run a bed and breakfast/auto service center where the visitors check in, but rarely check out.

Bloodsucking HillbilliesSet in the 1920’s meet a family of moonshiners who run out of gas in the country.  The only place within walking distance is the brothel, where the brothers get a little more than they bargained for.

The Black Rose:  A struggling newspaper reporter hires a group of stoner kids to spy on a recently acquitted killer, and try to get some pictures of him.  Turns out all the man wants is to grow his prize winning black rose.

Unfortunately, the movies seemed to dry up around 2006, so I’m not 100% sure if this is the full anthology of Dr. Shock, or if there are more treasures out there to uncover.  I did happen to see the man last Halloween hosting a night of programs on PBS in Toledo, so I know Mr. Agosti is still around.  I can only hope to one day see the next film from Dr. Shock.  For anyone interested you can find Dr. Shocks Tales of Terror and Dr. Shocks Grindhouse of Horrors available on DVD from Amazon to see these seven movies yourself.  At least I know that Dr. Shock will always live on thanks to these two DVD collections.  “Go Figure!”

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Matt has been a fan of horror films since his first trip to the video store when he was transfixed by classic vhs cover art. Now he primarily enjoys films from the grindhouse era of the 70's and 80's, but holds a soft spot in in his heart for low budget flicks.

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