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It's a comment on the whole RHPS phenomenon
belialprod5 November 2004
"Shock Treatment", aside from being a hellava lot of fun, seems to be Richard O'Brien's dig at the whole RHPS phenomenon.

Forget about this being a RHPS sequel. It's not. The whole tone is different. RHPS was an affectionate salute to B-science fiction movies of the 50's married to the seventies punk rock movement. "Shock Treatment", if it is related to RHPS at all, is a satire of the whole RHPS fan culture. Consider: "Shock Treatment" takes place in a TV studio where the audience lives 24/7. They live for the highs received from Denton TV, yet are a pretty conservative lot on the whole. Isn't that like the typical RHPS audience where straight laced Brad and Janet types go to the show, enjoy the freakiness for two hours, then go back to their normal, suburban lives? "Shock Treatment" goes to great lengths to satirize the horrors of suburbanity, and the costumed entertainers they worship. The most blatant example? Two of the main characters, who profess to be doctors, turn out to be character actors. Character actors who have great fun in costume and in the end, drive off into the sunset, in a cool new car, back to suburban normalcy.

And you know what? I have barely scratched the surface of what makes "Shock Treatment" so clever. If you've read anything recent written about it, you know the film is a huge piss take on reality television, and a prescient(by over 20 years)parody of our current culture which makes stars of...well, whomever the TV industry, film industry, and Hollywood publicists tell us we should think of as stars. Paris Hilton? Vin Diesel? Even Jude Law. Did we discover these people? No, they were foisted upon us,we were TOLD they were stars, much as Janet is in "Shock Treatment". When Janet wakes up and realizes she wants her real life back, another cute chick is pimped up and easily accepted.

"Shock Treatment" is a very smart movie that works on the intellectual level RHPS did not. Hey, I love RHPS, but it operates from a gut, instinctual level. "Shock Treatment", if you give it a chance, will make you think about the media's grip on society, make you take a second look at the "stars" adorning the covers of magazines such as Entertainemt Weekly, give you a whole new take on the audiences lining up for RHPS every Halloween (unlike the 80's when we went every month or weekend), and, having been made in 1981 (!) add no surprise to the fact that Richard O'Brien is a prescient futurist who made a killing in the stock market.

Heck, I haven't even talked about the fact that "Shock Treatment"s use of primary colors, editing, and music video style sequences, predates the birth of MTV by at least a year. This movie could be called a template for the 80's music video boom.

Lastly, I have to comment on one facet which will either a) draw RHPS fans and non fans to check this move out or b) disregard this entire review. I absolutely, unequivocally, LOVE the music in this movie. Every song is fun in the best tradition of the short lived "rock musical" genre (I often sing a somewhat edited version of "Lullaby" to my kids at bedtime)and, on screen, every song is presented with a strong sense of atmosphere. Come to think of it, this IS "Shock Treatment"s greatest commonality to RHPS, except in RHPS, the atmosphere was dark and cluttered, in "Shock Treatment", it's bright and sterile. Two different settings. Two different themes. Both brilliantly achieved.
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You're not looking at the king of anything- you're looking at an ace!
zmaturin13 November 2000
I had heard a lot of bad things about this "sequel" to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and I can see how people expecting a return to the sexual hi-jinx of that classic would be disappointed. I found this to be great in a completely different way. Save for a few RHPS character and location names, this is pretty much unrelated to that flick. This stands on it's own as an excellent musical-comedy with great songs and characters.

"Shock Treatment" takes place entirely in the television station of DTV, a local TV station that probes into the lives of its town's citizens. Brad and Janet (who act differently and are played by different actors than in RHPS) discuss their marital strife and appear on "Marriage Maze". Brad is found to be in need of help, so he's shipped off to "Dentonvale", the channel's bizarre medical show, while Janet is groomed to be the new star of "Denton Dossier", a show that tells people how great Denton is. Meanwhile, nefarious fast food mogul Farley Flavors is conspiring to take over the town and Janet with his latest show, "Farley Flavor's Faith Factory".

Jessica Campbell (who has worked with Dario Argento AND Woody Allen) is superb as Janet, and Cliff De Young plays Brad and Farley so excellently it's hard to tell it's the same actor (he even has a duet with himself!). The rest of the cast is populated with British comedians (Ruby Wax, Barry Humphries, and "The Young Ones"' Rik Mayal, who should have had a bigger part) and RHPS vets including Patricia Quinn, Little Nell, Charles Grey (also a former Blofeld!), and composer Richard O'Brian.

O'Brian's songs are fantastic and some exceed the quality of tunes in the better known "Rocky Horror". Clever lyrics and catchy tunes abound in classics like "Bitchin' in the Kitchen", "Little Black Dress", and the haunting "Lullaby". The choreography is great too, like the brief mirror-dance that accompanies "Look What I Did To My Id".

"Shock Treatmet" gets T-E-N, that's ten out of ten!
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woefully underrated
revcosmo31 October 2003
As people have said, this film got a horribly bad rap, and made very little money. The reason, as people have also said, is that it was expected to be in the same vein as RHPS, which it simply was not. Sure, it had Richard O'Brien's trademark musical style and whimsy, but it wasn't the campy kitsch people were expecting. It was, in fact, an intellectual movie with a serious message, a brilliant satire of life in the late 20th century. O'Brien takes jabs at the hallmarks of the decline of modern Western civilisation; conformity, machismo, brainwashing, and the absurdity of the "American Dream".

The plot can be a little hard to discern on the first viewing, but, as with many great intellectual films, more nuances of what O'Brien is trying to say are picked up with each subsequent viewing. The film is certainly surreal, to say the least; and I would suspect psychedelics were somehow involved in the writing of the script. Denton, the picaresque happy U.S. everytown, is actually just a television studio; and all the residents are characters on television shows or are in the audience. Enter Brad and Janet, who, after experiencing the "horrors" of RHPS, are having marital difficulties. This works perfectly into the plan of a mysterious fast food magnate, who intends to steal Janet away from her husband and use her to promote his business. He conspires to have Brad locked up in the local mental hospital/soap opera, while promoting Janet as a new bombshell sensation, and taking the whole town under his thumb.

In short, if you're looking for more of RHPS, you will be sorely disappointed. But if you want a thought-provoking yet whimsical, tongue-in-cheek attack on all that is mind-numbing and soul crushing in our modern world, definately check this film out. Jonathan Swift would be proud.
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Perhaps the most underrated film in cinema history...
jermdown13 June 2005
I loved Rocky Horror. I thought it was a great film and proves to be one of my favorite musicals. So when I found out that there was a sequel, I searched it out... with much difficulty. Apparently the film was a huge flop and therefore is extremely rare. (funny, when you think about Rocky Horror, which was originally a huge flop as well, but was re-released after finding cult status).

I have just watched Shock Treatment twice in a row and I'm proud to say I love it just as much as Rocky Horror. But be warned, Shock Treatment has completely different subject matter (which means no revealing cross-dressing, references to old horror films and no Tim Curry), but some familiar characters and some very familiar actors appear in a film that looks at the brain-washing nature of television.

It wasn't the sequel I expected, but after seeing it twice, I realize it is the perfect sequel to a perfect film like Rocky Horror.

But the emotion I was filled most with after watching this film wasn't happiness, it was frustration. I was frustrated that this film is shunned by many, that it never has been released onto DVD and most probably never will be. It was depressing to know that probably the only way I am ever going to view this great film is on a terrible quality full screen VHS cassette.

I'm hoping that this will find higher status eventually and is released onto a far more watchable medium. This film proves a satirical look at television, specifically in the eighties, but in doing so creates a prophetic masterpiece long before its time.
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A good film!
Simon Bromley19 April 2004
A decent movie, and nowhere near as bad as everyone makes out. Whereas Rocky Horror is weird in it's transvestite/alien way, this is actually better for a mainstream audience - it may be weird, but in a surreal/escapist way. Nice to see Ruby Wax in a lead role - she actually has a pretty big part as Betty, And the Rocky Horror actors - Richard O' Brien, Pat Quinn, Charles Gray and Nell Campbell are all great too (although it would have been nice to see a bit more of Nell) Keep a look out too for a pre-'Young Ones' Rik Mayall, playing Nell's love interest, interestingly enough. My advice is, if you can find a copy, get it - it's well worth investing in, whatever people may say.
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You Must Be At Least This Crazy To Enter
Ah, "Shock Treatment"-- a witty, campy, colorful movie bursting with cheeky innuendo and amazing songs (one line from "Duel Duet": "You're a dead-end, deadbeat, nowhere mister with a kisser like a Mississippi alligator's sister").

First of all, you have to approach "Shock Treatment" as a sequel to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." While it doesn't contain the same level of raunchy cheese (or the aliens, or the transvestites, or the sex gags... mostly), it follows the married life of Brad and Janet Majors... who are now on the rocks (no pun intended) after years of marital boredom. This is because Brad is the only person in the town of Denton who doesn't jump for joy watching the town's mind-numbing TV station, which is ruled by a greedy corporate sleaze master with an old connection to Brad and Janet.

So eventually, a phony TV host (Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna) and his quack-psych-doctor cohorts (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn, who played Riff Raff and Magenta in RHPS) take Brad a hostage in their psychiatric facility/soap opera set so that station sponsor Farley Flavors can turn Janet into the next big DTV star.

A few cast members return in different roles (Charles Gray, Nell Campbell, and some of the Transylvanians, for example), with Jeremy Newson coming back as Ralph Hapschatt. Generally, people dislike this movie, but I love it. And you know why? It's rock and roll. It's obscure. And it's just too much of a riot to pass up.
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A movie ahead of it's time.
ANewLeaf3 October 2004
After afew years since my last comment on this movie things have changed. The explosion of reality television on TV now makes the commentary on this movie a lot more relevant then when it was originally released. This movie looks not only at the "actors" of this form of entertainment but also the audience and even the producers. A lot of the people who watch this movie are seeing it in a monotone 2 dimensional way, when this movie has a lot more depth then can be seen with such a view.

This movie still deserves the 9/10 I gave it 2 years ago, it probably deserves 10. The style with which O'Brien shows the consumer/TV culture that was forming at the time this movie was made still works even today. This movie is a satire, it is not a spoof like the RHPS was, it is not a sequel, and it cannot be watched in the same manner. It works very very well as a satire on it's topic though using over the top imagery, effective musical numbers, and very over the top characterization.
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A fun little gem
Jamie Moffat3 June 1999
'Shock Treatment' will always suffer in comparison with its older, weirder sibling 'Rocky Horror', but comparison of the two is not really the point. Richard O'Brien, the author of both films, has created a movie musical spoof of American pop culture that should be viewed and enjoyed in its own right. Sure Brad and Janet, the wholesome couple who ran afoul of the Transylvanians in the first film reappear, but from that point on 'Shock Treatment' spins dementedly off on a trajectory all its own.

Jessica Harper takes over the role of Janet, Cliff de Young is Brad (and Farley Flavor, sinister tv station owner) and both actors are fine. Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn, the incestuous siblings from 'Rocky Horror' appear as, well, incestuous siblings, doctor hosts of a tv medical show. Barry Humphries is slyly hilarious in the role of Bert Schnick, gameshow compere.

The central concept of 'Shock Treatment' is that Denton, USA, the wholesome American town alluded to as the benchmark of normality in 'Rocky Horror', is in the thrall of tv culture. Citizens are avid viewers who live vicariously through the personalities inhabiting the various programmes broadcast by DTV, the local television station. Popularity is all, and independent thought regarded as a sign of mental instability. Into this brightly lit soap opera of a world come Brad and Janet, unhappily married and contestants on a game show which airs their marital disharmony for all the world to see. Brad is whisked off for psychiatric help and Janet groomed for stardom on a new show. Farley Flavor covets Janet from afar and schemes with Cosmo & Nation McKinley, the fraudulent tv doctors and character actors, to keep Brad and Janet apart while he makes his move. Rushing to brad's help comes Betty Hapschatt, recently sacked morning show hostess (and Rocky Horror newlywed), played deliciously by the ever-abrasive Ruby Wax.

Richard O'Brien shrinks from a more incisive scrutiny of the dumbing-down of America by it's television obsession. The songs in 'Shock Treatment' are short, bright and instantly forgettable, and the characters flat and garish as, er, cartoons. But the whole package is shiny, good-humoured and utterly entertaining. Watch 'Network' if you want a bitter critique of television culture, but watch 'Shock Treatment' for the sheer mindless pleasure of it.
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Good movie for Rocky Horror types
Schlockmeister4 June 2001
This movie does match and surpass "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in many ways. You can tell that Richard O'Brien and the film's producers had a bigger budget to work with. The songs are a match to the original (same song writer, same style...). Visually, a little too heavy on the reds, but this WAS 1981, after all. This movie will be enjoyed by those who will get the Rocky Horror references that are scattered throughout. Too bad Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon weren't there to provide a little more continuity to their characters. Jessica Harper does a great job though, she appeared in several off-beat movies in the 70s ("Phantom Of The Paradise" and "Suspiria" spring to mind) so playing in a Richard O'Brien movie was not too much of a stretch for her it seems. This sequel was, to me, a lot sexier than RHPS. The original seemed to center on campiness and shock value, it's here as well, but there is a lot more eye-candy in this sequel.

I'm still waiting for a Richard O'Brien / John Waters musical collaboration. Imagine the possibilities!
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I thought it was better than RHPS
Warlock-521 September 1999
Shock Treatment is an extremely strange movie, the plot is all over the place, the songs are weird and the confusion factor for the viewer is high. But Shock Treatment is a good movie. Forget everything about RHPS, there are no singing tranvestites or Meat Loaf getting hacked to bits with an axe, Shock Treatment is very different. It is a funny satire about how television has become an obsession. It's also about Brad and Janet Majors, who become contestants on a show called Marriage Maze and Brad is committed into a mental asylum, placed convieniently inside the TV studio. It's funny to see most of the cast return for a great big musical full of memorable songs. But a warning to the gay community, one song contains the lyrics.."Faggots are maggots-thank god I'm a man!"

Australian Classification


No consumer advice but it really doesn't need any. There's nothing that troubling.
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Ahead of its time
giordana_0123 October 2009
I've seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show live and on TV, but I was never a fan. My husband, a big RHPS fan, found a Shock Treatment DVD (the 25th Anniversary edition) in the video store bargain bin. He convinced me to watch it. I wasn't expecting to like it, but I did.

First of all, Shock Treatment is NOT a RHPS sequel. Some of the actors and characters are the same, but the storyline is completely different. RHPS was a satire about cheap, Z-grade horror films. Shock Treatment is a satire about fame and celebrity. Brad and Janet Majors are now married and unhappy. They go on a TV show hoping to save their marriage, and end up trapped. Fame turns from nectar to poison, and nothing is quite what it seems.

The musical sequences are the best part, especially "Denton USA," Lullaby", "Looking for Trade," and "Look What I Did to my Id." Aside from being infectiously good, they let the viewer trace Janet's journey from concerned wife to celebrity and back. The movie is remarkably clean; the only real titillation is in "Lullaby."

Shock Treatment was ahead of its time. Reality TV didn't exist in 1981. Now, anyone can become a celebrity by exposing their personal lives to the small screen. In 1981, Kate and Jon Gosselin would have been 2 people with a lot of kids, not celebrities.

If you're expecting a sequel to RHPS, you will be disappointed. If you're puzzled by Reality TV "stars", you're a fan of rock musicals, or you go in with an open mind, you could find yourself loving Shock Treatment.
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This is not the sequel just a continuing adventure.
adrian2umortal30 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
::Spoiler Alert::

Denton is not really the home of happiness but a television studio making millions of dollars off the misery of others live on the air. It is run by a man blindly corrupted by absolute power and wealth, Farley Flavors (played by Cliff De Young). Brad and Janet's (Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper) lives are interrupted by Farley Flavors unbeknownst to them. They go on a Marriage Show hosted by one Mr. Burt Schnik (Barry "Dame Edna" Humphries) and Brad gets committed to a Psychiatric Hospital Television Show called Dentonvale hosted by Doctors Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn). They are assisted by ditzy blonde Nurse Ansalong (Nell Campbell). Meanwhile behind the scenes Ralph and Bettie Hapschatt (Jeremy Newsome and Ruby Wax) are divorced and bickering while they work for Dtv. Bettie becomes friends with Judge Oliver Wright (the late Sir Charles Grey) They soon discover after Bettie has been released from her tv show that Farley Flavors and Brad Majors are in actuality brothers by birth. Farley wants Brad out of the picture for good so he can have Janet all to himself. Brad and Janet are drugged and lead astray. Brad's drugs make him totally oblivious and Janet's are making her very susceptible to suggestion and that leads her to being a power hungry, vain glorious person. By movies end Brad and Janet get "Drug Free" and they get back together and escape Denton once and for all.

This movie was slated as being equally good to Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1981 but it did not have the loyal following of the Rocky Horror Community at the time and was shelved supposedly forever. Lately since the re-discovery of Shock Treatment on both CD and Home Video. there is now a new fan base for Shock Treatment. Infact there are S.T. Fan Clubs cropping up globally. Here in the U.S.A. and over in Australia and Japan. Some theaters here in the states will do a rarity event and do what is called a "Shocky Horror Show" both movies play back to back starting at Midnight and ending somewhere around 3 in the morning. This is the "Ultimate Shocky Horror Experience" according to some who have had the pleasure of going to it. Richard O'Brien is currently and supposedly writing the actual sequel to Rocky Horror Show the original musical from which both movies spawned from. So untill then check out this movie about Brad and Janet's life after Rocky Horror Picture Show.
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An accident!
beatlesgirl2430 December 2003
Shock Treatment was an accident. There, now it`s out. While Richard O`Brien DID plan a follow up to Rocky Horror (which actualy bombed in the box office but soon got itself a cult following) this was not what he had in mind. We won`t go into his original idea, but in 1980-1981 there was a SAG strike, thus causing problems for O`Brien and crew. Also, they had numerous budget cuts. Sarandon requested a considerable amount of money to return which the budget couldn`t allow, Bostwick was uninterested and Curry felt he could not handle an American accent. So at the last minute, this is what came out of it. And Richard himself will tell you it is not a sequel, not a prequel but an equal to Rocky. I do agree that it doesn`t match RHPS as a film but it`s delightful none the less. I think you just need to sit down and watch it once more before you pass judgement. Don`t look at it as the RHPS sequel, just look at it as a film. And enjoy.
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Great film, terrible miscalculation...
carnivalofsouls2 July 2003
There is a reason "Shock Treatment" is as obscure and reviled as it is - it refuses to cater to its predecessor's mammoth cult. The film ditches the previous film's camp value and opts instead for (shock horror!) satire. Having much in common with the superb "Melvin and Howard", "Shock Treatment" is a scathing satire of the manipulating powers of television and eerily preceeds the recent onslaught of soap opera-style reality TV shows. While a million "Rocky" fans continue to bemoan the fact it is bereft of Tim Curry hamming it up or even a mere hint of sexual androgyny, they are simply not seeing the film for what it is - a more intelligent and mature film, and, in my opinion, a superior one.

Firstly, the presence of the amazing Jessica Harper immediately cancels out any chance of missing Susan Sarandon. Though Sarandon was sexy, she couldn't sing. Harper on the other hand is both extraordinarily beautiful as well as being an amazing vocalist, having already proved this in De Palma's "Phantom of the Paradise" (a campy film much in the vein of "Rocky Horror", but better in all departments). Harper's solos are show-stoppers and she makes Janet's journey from girl next door to knockout sex symbol wholly credible. De Young is also a better performer than Barry Bostwick, while Curry's camp value is somewhat supplanted by Humphries in a rare non-Australian film appearance. My only complaint is that Nell Campbell, who is almost unrecognizable and looks simply amazing in the film, is tragically underused.

Technically the film is something of an achievement, from the colorful sets, lighting and costume design, right down to the camera work (check out the opening long shot). Visually the film makes "Rocky Horror" seem like a dimly-lit Z-grade Hammer flick. The soundtrack is another component of the film that doesn't receive the attention it deserves, being much more diverse and mature in terms of the musical ground covered. From the country-tinged "Bitchin' in the Kitchen", the discofied "Me of Me" to the punk-lite "Breaking Out", the songwriting is more ambitious this time around but is nevertheless equally successful. Particular highlights include the sombre "Lullaby" (a wonderful sequence which was undoubtedly an influence on music videos in the decades to come) and Harper's brilliant rendition of "Looking For Trade".

"Shock Treatment" was a definite miscalculation, too ambitious to appeal to the "Rocky" crowd and not campy or funny enough to attract any cults of its own (audiences dressing up in hospital gear? I think not), yet on its own merits it is a far superior film. So for now, as the film awaits its belated DVD release, "Shock Treatment" continues to roam the sullen void of cult film that failed to find a cult.
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The blind leading the blind...
Cristian24 August 2007
Brad and Janet going to be married. In a stormy night, they car need some help. They find a castle... but this is not "Shock Treatment", much of us know the story. And if you liked this movie, and love Richard O'Brien songs, you must know that have been other adventure of this beloved characters. But when this movie was made, not much people liked it. It seems that they wait it other thing.

"Shock Treatment" is the "Equal" to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Of course, much know it as a sequel, but it is necessary to understand the differences between them. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is crazy, sexy and sticky. "Shock Treatment" is crazy and sticky critic. Dressing up of fun, "Shock Treatment" is not so unworried as "Rocky Horror" because is a satirical movie about T.V, in a twisted and funny way.

This time we are in Denton, the perfect place... a T.V studio. Their audience live there, and of course Brad and Janet. In one of the shows, Brad is catching with no other explication to a kind of mental asylum in the same place. In that place too lived Janet parents. In the town begin to listen a rumor. A successful man going to come to make a kind of new show. All Denton is waiting for see what is the new show about. A special doctor in social science and one of the host of the shows suspect something. Something evil is happen in Denton.

For much "Shock Treatment" going to be absurd, underrated, boring and totally lost, a movie that have nothing to do with "Rocky Horror",but is absolutely the opposite. "Shock Treatment" is a well think film, very necessary now. Is a weird but real and veridical way to see how the Media is in much of the times dominating the world, in that, in an absurd way. Is not a joke, "Shock Treatment" win a lot of points with that. Richard O'Brien songs describe a dominating world by Media, where Discrimination, selfishness and hypocrisy replace love, compassion and respect. Where people decide to make the ridiculous for have any kind of poor fame. Where we doesn't matter the others, and we only care the "how fabulous i am".

Besides "Shock Treatment" offers a lot of fun, dance and sticky songs, just like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" do. Much fans leave "Shock Treatment" down of "Rocky Horror" for some reason... but i think that both deserves attention. But specially "Shock Treatment". I love "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and believe me, that crazy movie is definitely one of my favorites, but what "Shock Treatmnet" do is incredible. Besides of a great cast: Jessica Harper (Beautiful, strong and awesome voice from the actress who join too Brian De Palma "Phantom of the Paradise" and Dario Argento's "Suspiria") as Janet, Cliff De Young, Richard O'Brien (Of Course), Pat Queen, Nell Campbell (I love her voice!), Barry Humphries and Rik Mayall. The music is totally awesome, and as i say above, totally important(All the score is good, you can find songs like "Farleys Song", Little Black Dress", "Anyhow, Anyhow", the beautiful Cradle Song "Lullaby", "In My Own Way", "Me of Me","Look What i Did to My ID" and of Course "Shock Treatment"). Richard O'Brien is definitely a genius.

I know that much people don't like this movie. Much says that is ridiculous, but i think is because that they don't understand the important message that this movie carries to us. And then in a future, all going to be with a Force Jacket...

This movie is definitely a must see, because is a real necessary masterpiece that not must be ignored. And yes, it is ignored. What a shame that much people that have the opportunity don't watch movies that have something important to say.

The blind leading the blind...

*Sorry for the mistakes, well... if there any.
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A Great Film
rockinhorrorpunk18 June 2007
This film may not be anything like Rocky Horror, but as its own movie it is a Fabulous film, the music is fun and catchy, and the concept is phenomenal. The production design is wonderful, and the camera work is a style in its own. And the characters are great, they all have that awesome Richard O Brien touch.

This is a Great film that catches the glamour and madness of its own original little world, and the lovely characters that reside in it. Don't think of it as a second part to Rocky Horror, because it wasn't really meant to be that, its its own film and a great one at that.

I recommend that anyone who is a fan of this genre experience this film.
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You're lookin' at an ace!
shrinkingman065 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Don't expect this to be like Rocky Horror because it's a different type of film (though some RHPS characters do show up). That doesn't mean it isn't good. In fact, I think the look, plot, and songs of ST are just as good, maybe even slightly better!

It's a brilliant media satire that predicts the forthcoming "reality TV" and throws in celebrity worship (and how a celebrity can be "made"--and then brought down). What if your town were all enclosed in a TV studio? And people could spy on what you were doing, as if you were in a soap opera or comedy or drama. (Yes, later done in The Truman Show...) Where people can pretend to be what they're not (example: Bert Schnick, who isn't really blind, and Cosmo and Nation McKinley--they're not doctors, they just play them on TV)

The "not a sequel, not a prequel, but an equal" to Rocky Horror is now finally out on DVD. I enjoyed the special features, including the "Shock-umentary"; a feature on the music in the film, and commentary by the Presidents of the Shock Treatment Fan Club.

From the transformation of Janet Majors (Jessica Harper), going from run-of-the-mill housewife to sexy singer, to memorable characters like Bert Schnick (Barry Humphries of Dame Edna fame). Memorable songs make it come alive, and fans of ST will love the trivia bits (especially in the commentary). Hoopla!
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Good times!
cradleburns21 August 2006
Shock Treatment was released the year after I had managed to con my parents (I was 11 at the time) into letting me see RHPS. I still remember the lackluster review it had received on Sneak Previews (I think it was still on PBS at the time), but I still had to see it. Unfortunately for me, it was only showing at midnight, and I already played my ace with the parents on going to a midnight movie. Through the years there have been several attempts to see it. All of them dashed. The line I would get from friends who did see it was, don't waste your time it's not as good as RHPS. Well I finally did get to see it on Fox Movie Channel last week, and I was impressed. There's no way you could compare this to RHPS, but it is just as good in my opinion. I think this movie probably could've done much better if it were marketed differently. Maybe, you know, regular showings? It's a good story told in an interesting way (having the action take place in the television studio), and the songs? I loved the songs. I'm actually kicking myself for not buying the soundtrack before. The songs rocked! The only thing I can say to someone interested in seeing this is, don't watch it expecting to see RHPS. Watch it with an open mind. Another thing, I really enjoyed the ending.
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It grows on you, and the songs are great
nopuppy-118 August 2006
Those of us weaned on "Rocky Horror" are in for a shock with this one. The Brad and Janet of "Shock Treatment" are not the wonders of "Rocky Horror." But give it a chance, this is one that grows in its impact with repeated viewings. One off-putting (but right on) element is the set design, which is really pretty ugly, but why shouldn't it be? It's all set in a television studio! The plot is murky to begin with, and the denouement isn't all it could be, but it does make sense (after you watch it twice), and the songs are almost up to RHPS standards, with winners like "We're Gonna Do It Anyhow," "Looking for Trade," and the title number. A great cast, too, with Jessica Harper rocking up a storm, Patricia Quinn finally getting some real dialogue (and delivering it marvelously), Cliff de Young in a dual role (he's a bit weak, but may have been directed that way), Ruby Wax, Rick Mayall pre-"Young Ones," at least one RHPS bit player upped to a major role (Jeremy Newson as Ralph Hapschatt), and Barry Humphries as "blind" Bert Schnick, before he went into permanent drag as Dame Edna.

This is due out on DVD next month, and I'm ready to spring for it. If you like off-kilter satire with rockin' numbers, you might like this too.
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Hilarious musical treat
ThrownMuse15 March 2005
In this satirical spin-off of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," Brad and Janet (this time around played by Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper), find themselves as contestants on a reality game show in their perfect suburban hometown/TV station of Denton (which is owned by a fast food corporation!) Brad and Janet are now married, and the game show host (played rather deliciously by Dame Edna) quickly convinces the impressionable Janet that the catatonic and emotionally unavailable Brad isn't living up to her standards. Brad is held captive in the mental hospital (Dentonvale) while Janet is immediately thrust into Denton super stardom. Will their marriage survive? Will THEY survive?

This movie is hilarious, but it slightly misses its target as a satire. De Young is awesome in his dual role as the comatose Brad and the overwhelming Farley, owner of Denton. Jessica Harper's powerhouse vocal performances are key to this movie. The music rocks and the lyrics are witty. My only complaint about casting is that Little Nell has very little screen time. The ending is a bit of a tart--"Shock Treatment" is surprisingly anti-climactic. But as much as this movie is ridiculous and silly, it is even more charming and entertaining. Favorite scene--Janet to Brad (in his cell), after her first guitar-totin sequin-wearin performance as the star of Denton: "I've come to tell you I'm fabulous."

My Rating: 7/10.
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Not the best movie, but a must-see if you're a Rocky person
ultrageek-37 February 2003
OK, just so you know where I'm coming from, I've seen RHPS in the theatre 472 times and Shock Treatment 18, both going back some 20 years. I saw Shock Treatment in the theatre the first night it came out, and for awhile did RHPS on Saturday and ST on Friday.

I can tell you that you should see neither without an experienced audience. Both films stink and should be seen with a grain or two of salt. Now, having said that, there are some good things to be said about Shock Treatment. The music is every bit as good as any cult movie's; some of the characters are likable; there's a lot of auto-referential details of varying degrees of obviousness that are fun to find; the old RHPS stars are fun in their new roles; the new stars are pretty lousy except for Betty Hapschatt who is a hoot; and it really is fun.

If you have a bit of self-respect and don't indulge in cult movies, this is no exception. Don't waste the time. Go do something respectable. If you don't have that problem, go see it. You know you have to. That's why you know the words to "Do the Swim", "See You Round Like a Record", "I Do the Rock" and "Paradise By the Dashboard Light". I don't know why you're even reading reviews. Go find a bunch of Rocky people, rent the movie, play it twelve or thirteen times and get silly.

Have fun!
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A Minor Musical Masterpiece
moviemystic11 October 2002
Anyone claiming ST to be a true sequel to RHPS is being almost as silly as saying Fierce Creatures was a sequel to A Fish Called Wanda.

(Actually, if anything, ST could have been considered a prequel, had the Brad and Janet characters not already been married.) Also comparing boring Barry to boring Cliff is pointless, since the Brad character was supposed to be boring anyway and both did a fine job at it. (Although as a bonus, Cliff in his alter ego station boss role looks like a dead ringer for Timothy "Dick Deitrich" Stack.)

The only major difference in this movie was the replacement of the original beloved "dammit Janet," the always cranky-looking Sarandon, with the more wide-ranging Harper. She puts an interesting spin on the role, infusing it with the increasingly debauched (and often sarcastic) attitude it requires, with the sultry and sexy attitude of a Janeane Garofalo (if Janeane could sing, that is).

But one has to ask, why use Brad and Janet at all, then? Good question. This flick would have also been as effective, if not more, without any such RHPS distractions.

Many media shortcomings are lampooned, including the phony star-making (and breaking) system, the always tacky fashion biz, soap operas, rude talk shows, MTV and TV in general. The whole thing was way ahead of it's time (in fact the movie release date, 1981, was the same year MTV had barely begun.)

People seem to be very afraid of accepting this movie because it predicted a dismal conservative media future of rife censorship married to greed-crazy commerce... which actually came true.

The music (with a half dozen solid catchy tunes) and script were both clever, and did indeed seem a natural style which both Richard O'Brian and John Waters might work with together in the future. (To interest Waters, however, the subject would no doubt have to involve serial killers in some way.)

Let nitpicking viewers also bear in mind that while RHPS was produced by Mike White, ST was not (John Goldstone handled those chores this time out).

Okay, now that we've got all of the above straight, let me conclude by pleading with ST's studio, Fox, to please finally release the DVD version! Thank you.
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fun, if a bit strange
proj_mayhem1616 June 2002
Shock Treatment (or Shocky as the few fans call it) is considerably more tame than it's predecessor The Rocky Horror Picture Show but no less entertaining. The songs are catchy, the plot is unique (but it does take a few watchings to understand EVERYTHING), and it makes you think about the amount of time you spend watching television. All in all a movie worth watching. Feel free to contact me and I will discuss it in more detail.
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Not quite a RHPS sequel, but then again, it is. (mild spoilers)
playjaykabillion18 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Shock Treatment is completely different than the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in the sense that homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestites, transsexuality, group orgies, little nell's nipples, and basically anything else of that sort are not present. Do not watch this movie thinking it is going to just follow the last story--the premise: The town of Denton ("The Home of Happiness") has become a massive TV studio. Brad and Janet have fallen on hard times, and it is up to Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Riff Raff and Magenta, from RHPS, respectively, who again play "incestual siblings") to cure Brad from his poor mental state by locking him up in their doctor television show/mental institution, "Dentonvale". Janet, meanwhile gets fame and glamour, all because of Farley Flavors' (the president of the TV studio) infatuation with her (the end is rather uneventful, unlike the alien/laser ending of RHPS). Overall, the songs are good, the film itself is mediocre (as is RHPS, due to low budget and a small market to play to), with poor lighting and sound quality, but overall it is very enjoyable. And if you like RHPS, youll probably like ST, because it re-casts some of the original cast members, including Ralph and Betty Hapschatt (from the wedding scene), and has the same type of catchy, yet not annyoing, songs. richard o'brien diserves credit for this, and although it is not as good as RHPS, it is still worth a viewing (especially since the tape is so cheap now). The major downfall of the movie is the recasting of Brad and Janet (i guess by then Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon had moved on to bigger and greater things), and Barry Humphries (you may know him as Dame Edna) does tend to get a little annoying with his german accent and bizarre mannerisms--he is the dr. frank-n-furter of shock treatment, but without Tim Curry, the movie lacks the energy, talent, and fun of RHPS. But hey, give it a shot. It's definitely worth it for any die-hard RHPS fans, and some people who simply enjoy RHPS (or musicals like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Little Shop of Horrors, etc.) may find Shock Treatment to be a very entertaining movie.
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It's no painless sequel to "Rocky Horror" but it's *very* clever, anyway.
columbus-oz23 May 2001
After its long and tortuous climb from obscurity and failure to that of its latter-day Cult Status, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has deservedly found its place in cinema (and even Pop Culture) history.

Even its most caustic critics cannot deny this.

RHPS's enduring appeal is understandable for many reasons, which I won't dwell on here. I love the film too, who doesn't? "Over at the Frankenstein Place" (or is it called "There's a Light"?) is my undying favourite song from that fabulous musical.

What's less understandable is the mysterious disdain the entire world seems to have paid to its ambitious sequel, the much-ignored "Shock Treatment". Perhaps its no-holds-barred satire of suburban life, and the unquestioning TV diet of its dwellers proved too unpalatable to too many? I wouldn't be surprised.

As earlier posters on the IMDB have commented, it's by no means a linear successor to its more illustrious predecessor - this film constitutes an entirely different Ball Game. New actors, different locale, a different mind-set entirely. Yikes, it exists in an entirely different universe.

Its multitude of clever in-jokes, prescient pre-"Survivor" and pre-"Big Brother" Reality TV jabs and (even at the time!) relevant social satire notwithstanding, it's a very entertaining, dark, sinister, brooding and downright clever little musical.

Did I mention: even though I'm a jaded 44 year old cinema projectionist, I LOVE musicals. A lot of my colleagues do, too. Even the straight ones, like me! I know musicals are currently uncool, but they'll be back, wait and see.

Some of the songs from this film are actually quite memorable (they must be, as I'm recalling all this from memory, as I haven't played the soundtrack LP, which I actually bought, for several years), particularly "Little Black Dress" and "Looking for Trade". I'm not certain if those are the songs' actual titles, but enthusiasts will know what I mean. These songs stick in my mind, even after all this time. That must say something. "The Time Warp" is catchy and all that, but it grates after a while, but "Looking For Trade" doesn't. Hmmm.

Speaking of "Little Black Dress", lemme say, once and for all, and on the record, as it were:

I think, and have always thought, that Jessica Harper is / was HOT, and sadly under-appreciated. She was an absolute knock-out in her first film "The Phantom of the Paradise", and for me, has remained so ever since. Even in that weird and little-known Richard Dreyfuss film "Inserts" she was gorgeous, and convincing, in an ugly, difficult little role. (It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but I actually have prints I ... er ... appropriated during an opportunity I had to screen that film.)

In "Shock Treatment", the presence of Barry Humphries (a fellow Australian, perhaps better-known to most as, er, "the advisor", to Dame Edna Everage) and the admittedly somewhat bizarre reprise of O'Brien himself (and Little Nell), so seamlessly worked into the plot as new and wildly different incarnations, was fun and rewarding for several reasons. Find them out for yourself!

The depth of wit and acid-tongued satire in this film makes it one for older (or perhaps a tad more seasoned) viewers, rather than the inane and troubled teenagers that ultimately flocked to the RHPS late-night screening phenomenon, but I enjoyed it a lot, and recommend it to like-minded people. It's a "black comedy", guys, operating on new turf! It's NOT a musical romp bland sequel to the RHPS. Enough said.

I am beginning to suspect that this Richard O'Brien guy might just be something of a genius. I wonder whatever happened to him? Does anyone know? It was "common knowledge" that he was Australian, also, which always amused me immensely. (Satirising, as RHPS did, the entire US Hollywood, er, milieu. Australians have a long and proud tradition of doing this.)

However, a brief web search seems to suggest that he was actually born in England, and raised in New Zealand. In either case, I bet this fellow has some interesting tales to tell!

Don't discount this little film. Just bring a reasonable dollop of intelligence and good humour to its viewing, and try to be (or think) over 35 if at all possible!

The film repays your indulgence - but you won't get to see Frankenfurter having sex with anyone or anything ... but perhaps you'll end up feeling even more uncomfortable watching "Survivor 7", or, for that matter, "Oprah"...
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