Shock corridor

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German title Shock corridor
Original title Shock Corridor
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1963
length 101 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Samuel Fuller
script Samuel Fuller
production Samuel Fuller
music Paul Dunlap
camera Stanley Cortez
cut Jerome Thoms

Schock-Korridor (Original title: Shock Corridor ) is an American thriller from 1963, directed by Samuel Fuller , who also wrote the screenplay.


The ambitious journalist Johnny Barrett tries to get into a mental hospital through a feigned mental illness , where he wants to solve an unsolved murder case - for him the fastest way to a Pulitzer Prize . But Barrett's lover Cathy reluctantly poses as his sister and accuses her alleged brother of incest . The plan succeeds and Barrett begins the research in the relevant clinic, which mainly consists of a long corridor, the "shock corridor", on which the inmates move daily. He gets his first clue from patient Stuart, a witness to the murder case. Although he could not directly recognize the perpetrator, he does report that it must have been a nurse. He also names two other witnesses. From then on, Berett succeeds in putting together the puzzle of the murder piece by piece by skillfully influencing the nervous patients, but now he too shows the first signs of a delusion. Increasingly he begins to believe that Cathy is really his sister. She notices the changes in Barrett's behavior, and is already skeptical about his methods, she gives the attending physician Dr. Menkin got permission to shock Berett with electric batons. She hopes that this will persuade her lover to break off his investigation. But Barrett sticks to the research, even if he continues to fall into the delusion that Cathy is his real sister. In the end he succeeds in finding the solution, the sick physicist Boden, the last witness to the murder, can tell him the name of the murderer. For Barrett, this does not mean the end of his stay on the "shock corridor". A seizure makes him forget the name of the murderer at first, but when he remembers after another attack, the clinic staff no longer believe him - the psychological disturbances that are being played have turned into real psychosis. Barrett is still able to expose the perpetrator through an attack, knocked to the ground, he strangles the nurse Wilkes until he admits the perpetrator. Months go by and Berett writes down his story, but he is still in the clinic. The final sequence of the film shows Barett and Cathy, he only seems to perceive them as a sister.


The film takes on numerous contemporary problems in American society. Fuller projects these onto the patients that Johnny Barret has to interview in order to finally solve the murder case. Stuart, the first witness to the murder, believes he is a Confederate general in response to the negative feedback the patient received after returning from the Korean War . There he became a defector, as he could never be proud of his country due to his difficult childhood . He first received respect from the communists . However, an American prisoner managed to win him back to his country and arouse pride for the country that Stuart previously loathed. However, he will no longer be welcomed with open arms. His remarks throw a clear light on the political climate of the 1950s, which u. a. was shaped by the hysteria before communism . The second witness (Trent) is a black man from the southern states who, after negative experiences, thinks he is a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan . Barrett gains access to him by pretending to be General Nathan Bedford Forrest (who was a Southern General and the clan's first "wizard", his bogus identity gave him access to Stuart). The black man agitating for the KKK, arguably the most extreme and clearest figure in the film in this contrast, is a clear reference to the anti-discrimination laws implemented in the late 1950s and their violent opposition within the white population of the south. The last witness is Dr. Boden, a nuclear physicist , collaborator on the atomic and hydrogen bomb , Nobel Prize winner - Fuller's reference to the paranoia of the Cold War arms race .


"A psychological thriller staged firmly and convincingly by genre director Samuel Fuller, which goes beyond mere tension and shock effects to create a dark panopticon of individual and social neuroses in US society."


1996: Entry into the National Film Registry

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Shock Corridor. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used