Shock Treatment

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This article is about the 1981 musical comedy film. For other uses of the term 'shock treatment', including other films with the same name, see Shock therapy.
Shock Treatment
A fully red poster has O'Brien smiling at the viewer with his quote "Trust me, I'm a doctor" below him.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Sharman
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Mike Molloy
Edited by Richard Bedford
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 31, 1981 (1981-10-31)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3.5 million[citation needed]

Shock Treatment is a 1981 American musical-black comedy film and a follow-up to the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While not an outright sequel, the film does feature several characters from the film portrayed by different actors and several Rocky Horror actors portraying new characters. It was written and directed by Jim Sharman, and produced by Lou Adler.

Plot[edit]

Continuing from The Rocky Horror Picture Show are the characters of Brad and Janet Majors (now portrayed by Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper, respectively), now married. The film takes place in the town of Denton, USA, which has been taken over by fast food magnate Farley Flavors (also De Young). The town of Denton is entirely encased within a television studio for network DTV (Denton Television). Residents are either stars and regulars on a show, cast and crew, or audience members. Brad and Janet, while seated in the audience are chosen to participate in the game show Marriage Maze by the supposedly blind and kooky host Bert Schnick (Barry Humphries). As a "prize", Brad is imprisoned on Dentonvale, a soap opera that centers around the local mental hospital run by brother and sister Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn).

Janet is given a taste of show-biz as Farley Flavors molds her into a singing diva superstar in an attempt to take her away from Brad. Her compliance is assured through the use of drugs supplied by the McKinleys. Betty Hapschatt (Ruby Wax) and Judge Oliver Wright (Charles Gray) investigate Farley and other people involved in DTV, eventually discovering that Cosmo and Nation are not doctors, but merely character actors, and Farley Flavors is Brad's jealous, long-lost twin brother, seeking to destroy Brad and take Janet for himself. The pair rescue Brad from Dentonvale and have Brad confront his twin on his show Faith Factory. Farley imprisons the three and Janet, but they manage to escape in a car along with a local band.

Cast[edit]

Musical numbers[edit]

Song Chief singer(s) Other singers
Overture N/A (Instrumental) N/A
Denton U.S.A. Neely, Harry, Emily, Vance,
Brenda, Frankie, Ralph, Macy
Audience
Bitchin' in the Kitchen Brad, Janet N/A
In My Own Way Janet N/A
Thank God I'm a Man Harry Audience
Farley's Song Farley Cosmo, Nation, Ansalong, Ricky
Lullaby Nation, Cosmo, Janet, Ansalong, Ricky N/A
Little Black Dress Cosmo, Janet, Bert, Nation N/A
Me of Me Janet Frankie and Brenda
Shock Treatment Cosmo, Nation, Ansalong Janet, Ricky, Bert, Harry, Emily
Carte Blanche Janet N/A
Looking for Trade Janet Brad
Look What I Did to My Id Emily, Harry, Cosmo, Nation,
Macy, Ralph, Ansalong, Ricky
N/A
Breaking Out Oscar Drill The Bits
Duel Duet Farley, Brad N/A
Anyhow, Anyhow Brad, Janet, Oliver, Betty All characters (including chorus and other minor characters)

Production[edit]

The film was shot entirely in a sound studio; it was originally intended to be shot in realistic locations in the USA, but a 1979 Screen Actors Guild strike froze production funds. Director Jim Sharman suggested possibly doing the production as a London stage show and filming it in a theater, which gave Richard O'Brien the idea to rework the locations as a giant TV studio using a film studio in England, trimming the budget and reviving the project.[2]

Casting[edit]

Although several Rocky Horror cast members returned for the film, only Jeremy Newson reprised his role as Ralph Hapschatt (though it is possible Judge Wright is the Criminologist from Rocky Horror). Tim Curry was offered the roles of Brad and Farley, but declined because he didn't think his American accent would be convincing. Barry Bostwick was unable to reprise his role as Brad due to other filming commitments, and Susan Sarandon's asking price could not be met, due to budget constraints.[3]

Cliff De Young had been Sharman's original choice for Brad in Rocky Horror, as the two had worked together off-Broadway in the play "Trials of Oz" in 1972. De Young had been unavailable at the time, as he was appearing on the television show Sunshine in California. Cast now as Brad and Farley, De Young modeled his performance of Brad after David Eisenhower, and modeled Farley after Jack Nicholson.[4] Shock Treatment‍ '​s original working title was The Brad and Janet Show. Founder and long-time president of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fan club, Sal Piro, has a cameo appearance as the man using the payphone during the opening sequence.

Release[edit]

Home media[edit]

A special edition DVD was released in the United States on September 5, 2006, its first Region 1 DVD release. Special features include an audio commentary with fan club presidents Mad Man Mike and Bill Brennan, a making-of featurette, a music retrospective featurette, and domestic and international trailers.[citation needed]

All DVD releases cut the original end credit version of the Denton "Overture" in half, and then prematurely fade out the single version of "Shock Treatment" when the credits are over. The original version features the complete "Overture" playing over the credits with "Shock Treatment" playing over a black screen as exit music. The edit shortens the film from 94 to 92 minutes.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

In spite of pre-release hype (including a promotional TV special called The Rocky Horror Treatment), the film was both a critical and commercial failure when it was released only as a midnight movie on Halloween 1981. It never received a full general theatrical first-run release. Due to its increased budget and box office failure, Shock Treatment was an even bigger flop than Rocky Horror‍ '​s original general release in 1975.[citation needed] Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 40% of five surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.3/10.[5]

The film has taken on a life of its own on DVD, though, and has been applauded for its satire of the early Reagan era in America.[6]

Stage adaptation[edit]

In late 2014, it was announced that O'Brien would produce Shock Treatment for the theatrical stage. The production will premiere at the King’s Head theatre in Islington, London in the United Kingdom in the spring of 2015.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SHOCK TREATMENT (A)". 20th Century Fox. British Board of Film Classification. July 8, 1981. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  2. ^ Conroy, Mike (1981). "Richard O'Brien and Shock Treatment." Fangoria, No. 15. New York; O'Quinn Studios. 66.
  3. ^ Conroy, Mike, "Richard O'Brien and Shock Treatment," op cit., 66.
  4. ^ 20th Century-Fox (1981). Shock Treatment Press Kit. 5.
  5. ^ "Shock Treatment (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ Shock Treatment, reviewed by Joe Blevins and Craig J. Clark. "Shock Treatment, reviewed by Joe Blevins and Craig J. Clark". Unloosen. Retrieved 2015-05-26. 
  7. ^ "As Rocky Horror sequel comes to stage, it seems creator was far ahead of his time | Stage | The Guardian". Retrieved December 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]