5.7/10
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26 user 25 critic

Shanks (1974)

A mute puppeteer uses a deceased scientist's invention to control dead bodies like puppets.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Malcolm Shanks / Old Walker
Tsilla Chelton ...
Mrs. Barton
Philippe Clay ...
Mr. Barton
...
Celia
...
...
...
Biff Manard ...
Goliath
Mondo ...
Read Morgan ...
Policeman
...
Grocer
Phil Adams ...
Beethoven
Lara Wing ...
Little Girl
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Storyline

Malcolm Shanks is a sad and lonely man, deaf, mute and living with his cruel sister and her husband, who delight in making him miserable. His only pleasure, it seems, is in making and controlling puppets. Thanks to his skill, he is offered a job as a lab assistant to Dr. Walker, who is working on ways to re-animate dead bodies by instering electrodes at key nerve points and manipulating the bodies as if they were on strings. When the professor suddenly dies one night, Shanks gets the idea to apply their experimental results to a human body, and then to start exacting some revenge. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A new concept in the macabre in which the Good come out of the grave and the Evil are sent to fill the vacancy. See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

PG
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Details

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Release Date:

9 October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A bábmester  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alex North used parts of his rejected score for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) for this film. For example, the main title music was originally composed for the space station phone call sequence of 2001, but here rearranged with a female vocalist added. See more »

Goofs

After Mrs. Barton moves Celia's placemat, Malcolm cocks her body to her left. In the following shot, she's cocked to her right. See more »

Crazy Credits

Right before the closing credits roll, a quote from William Makepeace Thackeray is featured: "Let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out." See more »

Connections

Featured in Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Incredibly weird and surreal
15 October 2003 | by (Northern KY, USA) – See all my reviews

And that's not an exaggeration. I searched for this movie for a long time, and I'm glad I found it. Marcel Marceau plays Shanks, a deaf puppet maker, and Walker, an old scientist who has discovered the secret of reanimating the dead. He plays both beautifully, using his pantomime skills to achieve silent movie style acting. In fact, that's what this movie reminds me of - a silent fairy tale (the use of title cards to introduce scenes further suggests this), with a little George Romero thrown in! It's incredible that something this abstract and individualistic was made; I wish more movies would be as bold. The opening credits sequence, with tinted photos of kids watching Shanks' puppet show while the weird Oscar nominated (!) music plays is incredibly strange, memorable, and disturbing.

William Castle, of all people, directed. This movie shows, more than any other, that he was more than just the "King of Gimmicks". To see such an expressionistic and disturbing vision.......is to regret that this was his final film as director.




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