Shock Treatment

 

(1981)

Distributor : Twentieth Century Fox  
Director : Jim Sharman
Writing credits : Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharman
Original music : Richard O'Brien and Richard Hartley
Producer : Lou Adler, John Goldstone, Michael White

Cast: 

Jessica Harper ......... Janet Majors
Cliff De Young ......... Brad Majors/Farley Flavors
Richard O'Brien ......... Cosmo McKinley
Patricia Quinn ......... Nation McKinley
Charles Gray ......... Judge Oliver Wright
Nell Campbell ......... Nurse Ansalong
Ruby Wax......... Betty Hapschatt
Jeremy Newson ......... Ralph Hapschatt
Rik Mayall ......... 'Rest Home' Ricky
etc...

Shock TreatmentOooh, Shock Treatment. Quite possibly the catchiest line from any song included in this film. Shock Treatment has been cited countless times as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This inaccurate assertion had often to lead to many disappointed viewers who had bought the movie expecting a similar "erotic nightmare" which Shock Treatment quite simply isn't. However, after more than one viewing it is easy to see that Shock Treatment is an outstanding movie in its own right. Most of the musical numbers are on a par with or better than Rocky Horror, ones to look out for are the title track "Shock Treatment", the schizophrenic "Duel Duet" and the spectacular "Look What I did to my Id!" Althought the plot is slightly obscure, it's lack of clarity is more than made up for by some superb moments, from the tongue in cheek "Denton, USA" to the touching sensuality of "Lullabye".

The film reunites Patricia Quinn, Laura "Little Nell" Cambpell, Richard O Brien, Charles Gray and many others from The Rocky Horror Picture show. The onscreen chemistry between Quinn and O'Brien as the incestuous Doctors Nation and Cosmo McKinley lends a quirky and erotic undertone to the movie, which fans and non-fans of Rocky alike will find irresistible, if a little unsettling. Campbell makes the most of a small amount of dialogue and gives a charming performance as the stunning but sweet Nurse Ansalong. Jessica Harper and Cliffe DeYoung work well as the quarelling couple, Brad and Janet Majors and Harper gives a believable performance throughout some rather unlikely situations.

In short, this is a very clever satire of "TV Culture" which may be confusing at the first viewing but where it may lack strength of plot it more than makes up for in outstanding musical numbers and charm. This was a thoroughly enjoyable film from start to finish and stands up to repeated viewing. Although it has not gained the recognition and success of Rocky Horror, it is more than deserving of its own cult status and dedicated fanbase. If you learn only one thing from this review let it be this:

Shock Treatment is under no circumstances a sequel to Rocky Horror. Four of the characters have the same names but the similarities end there. However, it is a fantastic film in its own right and there is something in it to entertain more or less everyone.

 

Shock Treatment

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