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The Rocky Horror Treatment (1981)

Documentary about the cult phenomenon of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and the making-of its spin-off, "Shock Treatment."

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Documentary about the cult phenomenon of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and the making-of its spin-off, "Shock Treatment."

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1981 (USA)  »

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Rocky hogs the spotlight in this forgotten documentary
27 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

"The Rocky Horror Treatment" is a great little time capsule. The TV special was released to promote the then-upcoming midnight movie "Shock Treatment," the follow-up to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The bulk of the special follows the phenomenon of "Rocky," with heaviest emphasis on how it became a cult sensation. Nowadays, "Rocky Horror" is a name that everyone from 8 to 80 knows, but back when this special was made, it was it was barely known outside of the rabid midnight movie crowd, and those who passed by theaters and wondered why people were standing in line clad in garter belts and tattered fishnets. It's interesting to see that the audience really hasn't changed at all, over 30 years later.

The secondary part of the special is a look at the making of "Shock Treatment." For fans of that film, this special is exactly that. There's lots of little peeks behind the scenes, on-set interviews with the cast, and Christopher Malcolm camera mugging and clowning around in-character. Unfortunately far less running-time is given to "Shock Treatment" -- which is hardly surprising, considering it's always been overshadowed by the beast that is "Rocky." Since there were no "special features" released with films back then, and since very little footage from this special has shown up elsewhere, this is probably the only look at the making-of that fans of "Shock Treatment" are ever gonna get. As such, there's a lot to admire -- but with "Rocky" hogging the spotlight (and now being so overexposed), it leaves a lot to be desired too.

Nearly 20 years ago, I first saw a mention of this TV special in print, and I've been wanting to see it ever since. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), it was overlooked when materials were compiled for the DVD releases of "Rocky Horror" and "Shock Treatment," which is really a shame. Thankfully, the internet can be a wonderful thing, and stuff like this has a tendency to make its way online...


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