Shock Treatment (Richard O’Brien, 1981)
Janet (Jessica Harper) and Brad (Cliff De Young) become contestants on a game show… but wind up as captives instead.
Shock Treatment is the not-sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is one of my all-time favourite movies. I have never heard of Shock Treatment before! I found it on clearance at an HMV, (a Canadian music store that is closing). They had a lot of copies, which I think I should go buy and give them to friends and family for Christmas. This movie is strange. Like, Rocky Horror was strange, but a cult classic that had endearing characters and songs, (and dances), that everyone knows. But, Shock Treatment, not so much.
To be honest, the story line is not too bad. Brad and Janet are married, back in their home town, Denton. Denton claims to be the happiest place in America. The town is run by Farley Flavours (Cliff De Young), who runs a fast food chain. The entire town participates in a game show of sorts and a television station. It is weird, don’t get me wrong, but it is kind of an interesting concept. The movies ridiculousness reminded me of the movie Heathers, which I have already reviewed, you can read it here.
Brad, apparently winning a prize, ends up in a mental hospital. The hospital is run by two familiar faces, Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn) from Rocky Horror. They are apparently doctors? Columbia (Nell Campbell) works at the hospital as a nurse.
The music is not awful. It sounded similar to Rocky Horror. I did like the song, Lullaby, that was performed at the hospital when the staff and Janet were going to bed. Watch it here. For some reason, Janet was forced to stay at the hospital when she went to visit Brad. Janet’s parents are not impressed with the treatment of Brad at the hospital, and equally unimpressed with Janet’s behaviour. She has become a diva because of her star status. Not sure why she is a star, but okay! In normal diva behaviour, Janet thinks she is too good for Brad, and eventually the doctors become worried. It is later found out that Mr. Flavours is not all that he is cracked up to be. Not an alien transvestite, but an orphan (gasp!). Actually, he is Brad’s twin bother, which no one realized?!
Jessica Harper played Suzy Bannion in Suspira (1977). Another weird cult classic. I thought she looked familiar. Which, by the way, is in what looks like a re-make of Suspira, that is in post-production right now. Interesting.
According to Wikipedia, Shock Treatment was adapted for the stage in London. I think this would be a fun show to put on!
If you are looking for some strange, 80’s fun, then this is the movie for you! I can see why Rocky Horror fans did not like this movie as much, but it is still a fun watch. Richard O’Brien said that it wasn’t a “sequel, or prequel, but an equal!” I am not sure about that!
Quotables: “Look what I did to my Id!” -song title; Freud would have argued, that it is what your id does to you, not the other way around.
“Miss Mental Health!!” – Janet’s new title
Shock Treatment recieves 3.5 deranged supposed doctors out of a possible 5.