Home > Movies, Reviews > Oooh, Shock Treatment…

Oooh, Shock Treatment…

Did you know that The Rocky Horror Picture Show1 had a sequel? Are you now wondering why you’ve never seen or heard about it? Perhaps, you suspect, there’s a reason this movie has been buried? Well, curious chap that I am and buoyed by a healthy sense of curiousity, I set out to investigate Shock Treatment.

Looking back, the fact that my local DVD merchant thrust the movie into my hand for no charge, with a slightly haunted expression should have been a sign, I suppose. Shock Treatment is one of those ‘sort of sequels’. Some of the characters are meant to be the same, but really there’s little to link one movie to the other, the term sequel in this case really meaning ‘by the same people who brought that thing you enjoyed’.

The premise is fairly straight forward; Brad and Janet, the couple from Rocky Horror are having marital problems, and show in an effort to fix their relationship, end up mired in a bizarre reality TV show. Now, what this movie almost becomes is a precursor to films like the The Truman Show. There is so much potential for it to be fantastic commentary on the rise of reality TV, on the perils of fame and the self-help industry. What we get instead is a disjointed mess. Many of the individual elements of the production work fantastically well. For example the cast features some great talent2 such as Jessica Harper and a surprisingly sinister Rik Mayall. Sadly, it fails to be greater or even equal the sum of it’s parts.

As visually arresting as it's sibling, but fails to be as charming.

Like its older, much better known sibling, it has some ace songs. Little Black Dress and Bitchin’ in the Kitchen are just two amidst a great selection of fun tunes this movie has, but both suffer from not being terribly well presented. Shock Treatment feels rushed and bitty, and makes you suspect that the producers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show just got lucky the first time.

It’s a real shame because Shock Treatment could be something much better than it is. I’d love to see it re-imagined and re-made, with a slightly re-worked story and better produced tunes. As it is, it deserves its place in the bargain basement bin. If you plan on hosting a ‘terrible movie night’, give this one a go, as it’s wacky and odd enough to entertain a room full of heckling drunks. But apart from that, isn’t really worth your time.

1: Often, when geeks talked about Rocky Horror, someone quotes the TV series spaced, which describes Rocky as “boil in the bag perversion for sexually repressed accountants and 1st year drama students…”. I don’t entirely agree with this. Rocky Horror fandom is primordial cos-play, and we have moved on from dressing up like Riff-Raff to dressing up as anything from any movie. This is no bad thing, but is one of the reasons why the movie is ageing so badly. Dress-up is no longer as remarkable as it once was.

2: And also, sadly, Barry Humphries. AKA Dame Edna. Who has never been funny.

Categories: Movies, Reviews
  1. November 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Taking the bad movie hit so we don’t have to, god bless you Ed.

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