Search - Shock Treatment (1981) on DVD

Shock Treatment (1981)
Shock Treatment
Actors: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Charles Gray
Director: Jim Sharman
Genres: Comedy, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
PG     2006     1hr 34min

Brad and Janet from Rocky Horror are in trouble again in this funny semi-sequel, featuring an early appearance by Dame Edna.


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Movie Details

Actors: Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young, Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Charles Gray
Director: Jim Sharman
Creators: Richard O'Brien, Mike Molloy, Jim Sharman, Richard Bedford, John Goldstone, Lou Adler, Michael White
Genres: Comedy, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Comedy, Musicals
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/05/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1981
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1981
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Not ROCKY HORROR - but still up there
Riff Hepburn ( | Brisbane, Australia | 08/31/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Are you a Jessica Harper fan?Do you like the work of Richard O'Brien?If you answered yes for those questions, you should continue to read this review.If not, try a different movie.SHOCK TREATMENT is definitely the most weird, bizarre, unique, complicated film ever made and is to watched seriously.Make sure you watch it at least three times before forming a critically opinion of what you think.After the first viewing you are thinking "it's crap" and "I don't understand".By the second it is growing on you.But by the third, you are begging for more and want to keep the video forever.The higlight of this film is Jessica Harper's performance as Janet Majors.She is the only character that keeps the show together.If you didn't like Susan Sarandon in ROCKY HORROR, you'll most likely love Harper instead.Her sexy looks and voice make you want to listen to her sing over and over again.The problem wiht SHOCK TREATMENT is that too many people compare it to ROCKY HORROR.But maybe that's a good thing!On its own, the movie sucks!But if you take into consideration the kind of humour that Richard O'Brien puts into his work and the sort of songs he writes, you can understand the uniqueness of ST.Songs would be the only good thing about this film as there is too much dialogue and plot compilcation that first viewers get lost and promise never to watch it ever again.Because of this, not many people see it more times to make it slowly grow on you.Trust me, this film is only for ROCKY HORROR lovers who want to see more of O'Brien's work and for those who have often wondered what other actors would suit in the parts of Brad and Janet.Not to be missed or not to be seen!It's your decision."
Like Germany... Ambitious and Misunderstood
Animagess | Somewhere up North | 01/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, bad comparison. But ST is plenty of the latter, which is a pity, because it's actually a very good movie.

The biggest mistake people have when seeing ST is that they expect 'a straight sequel to Rocky'. With the exception of a few minor elements such as incest and two characters with the names Brad and Janet, the resemblance is hard to find. The fact is that ST is a completely different movie than RHPS and most viewers come away disappointed because the title is inextricably linked to RHPS (in mind, if not in spirit).

Don't make this mistake. Erase all RHPS from your mind before viewing.

For starters, in terms of symbolism, ST is Plato's Allegory of the Cave compared to RHPS. The voyeurism of reality television was not at the extreme degree in 1981 as it is today, making ST's vision a strangely prophetic one. And yet it all seems very familiar. The basic premise is that the town of Denton is obsessed with a monster television show, a kind of all-encapsulating collection of programs with a seemingly never-ending time schedule. Brad and Janet are forced to participate in an isolating reality TV show called Dentonvale, supposedly to help their failing marriage, while two characters whose show has been dropped have uncovered a devastating conspiracy about DTV and must race against the clock to expose it before it's too late.

There is a deep sense of entrapment (the entire movie takes place on the TV set) and irony in ST. Whereas RHPS was a lighthearted homage to bygone celluloid, ST is a dark, cynical satire on a different kind of picture show, possibly even taking on the original Rocky fans with its portrayal of an audience who does nothing but 'participate' vicariously in the events onscreen. The movie contains elements, and often messages about, the following exhaustive list: broken relationships, fame (the darker side of), voyeurism, consumerism, conformity, obsession, freedom (the loss, search and gain of), the search for truth, redemption, gender roles, groupies (another stab at the RHPS community), sexuality (in an entirely different manner than RHPS), show biz, American icons, mental health, the relationships between siblings, and of course, reality TV and the sort of bizarre Phil McGraw-solves-all brain cures that populate the airwaves these days.

O'Brien manages to link all these elements with recurring symbolic images (Brad`s cage, the television screens) and symbolic lyrics ('Breaking Out'), then ties it all up in a darkly ironic package and sets it down in the even more ironic setting of a television studio. When you watch this movie, as well you should, you are watching a screen depicting people watching a screen being watched by a character watching a screen, and the things being depicted on the screens-within-your-screen are satirizing things we see on our screens in real-life everyday; not only that, but the characters watching television are satires of us watching television, which we are, and those characters watching other characters watch television might be us as well, since we are doing the same. On another mind-bending note, you are also watching a screen depicting a satire of a movie that appeared in so many screens it made possible the creation of the movie you're watching now. And the fact that you're trapped in this never-ending cycle is also represented symbolically in the movie, so basically, there's no escape.

Confusing? Yes. Deliberate? Probably not, but so much of it is fairly well done and so fun to watch (some people might call it sloppy, but then maybe they weren`t analyzing it for metaphorical content) that it's hard to imagine at least some of it wasn't intentional. There is still a sort of Rocky-esque flavour hovering around the set, with foreshadowing and important plot points steamrolled over by the seemingly non-sequitor dialogue and zany goings-on, but I didn`t find that this damaged the entertainment value any more than it did RH. Like RHPS, ST needs a few watchings to get it put in perspective. But, for aforementioned reasons, most viewers never get that far.

Oh, and the songs were great too.

O'Brien never should have used the names Brad and Janet for his leading characters, nor do I think De Young makes a good Brad (though his other role is quite pleasing and he manages to pull a few stunts I can`t imagine Curry doing as well. Blasphemy, I know). The roles call for completely different people and Harper and Young, while suffering under the burden of the B and J names which the movie could do without, deliver as best they can (and I maintain, after the "Looking for Trade" sequence, that Sarandon could never have pulled this off in her Janet role). Humphries' saliva-laden Bert Schnicks is the closest character to RHPS aside from O'Brien and Quinn's ever-present brother/sister duo.

You need a bit of...
Maria Violentano | Sheffield, England | 11/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"...Oooh, Shock Treatment. Quite possibly the catchiest line from any song included in this film. Shock Treatment has been cited countless times as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This inaccurate assertion had often to lead to many disappointed viewers who had bought the movie expecting a similar "erotic nightmare" which Shock Treatment quite simply isn't. However, after more than one viewing it is easy to see that Shock Treatment is an outstanding movie in its own right. Most of the musical numbers are on a par with or better than Rocky Horror, ones to look out for are the title track "Shock Treatment", the schizophrenic "Duel Duet" and the spectacular "Look What I did to my Id!" Althought the plot is slightly obscure, it's lack of clarity is more than made up for by some superb moments, from the tongue in cheek "Denton, USA" to the touching sensuality of "Lullabye". The film reunites Patricia Quinn, Laura "Little Nell" Cambpell, Richard O Brien, Imogen Claire and many others from The Rocky Horror Picture show. The onscreen chemistry between Quinn and O'Brien as the incestuous Doctors Nation and Cosmo McKinley lends a quirky and erotic undertone to the movie, which fans and non-fans of Rocky alike will find irresistible, if a little unsettling. Campbell makes the most of a small amount of dialogue and gives a charming performance as the stunning but sweet Nurse Ansalong. Jessica Harper and Cliffe DeYoung work well as the quarelling couple, Brad and Janet Majors and Harper gives a believable performance throughout some rather unlikely situations.In short, this is a very clever satire of "TV Culture" which may be confusing at the first viewing but where is may lack strength of plot it more than makes up for in outstanding musical numbers and charm. This was a thoroughly enjoyable film from start to finish and stands up to repeated viewing. Although it has not gained the recognition and success of Rocky Horror, it is more than deserving of its own cult status and dedicated fanbase. If you learn only one thing from this review let it be this;Shock Treatment is under no circumstances a sequel to Rocky Horror. Four of the characters have the same names but the similarities end there. However, it is a fantastic film in it's own right and there is something in it to entertain more or less everyone."
Be Prepared...
Scott Boland | Woodridge, IL United States | 02/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"...for one of the most confusing movies you will ever see. I personally got a little bit of detail out of this movie, but the rest of it was random singing and dancing. The funniest thing about this picture is in Richard O'Briens storytelling of live as a tv show. Many people whine and moan that it's nothing like the rocky horror picture show, let alone not a sequel, well guess what....THERE'S NOT GONNA BE A SEQUEL, FRANKS DEAD, OK!? (sobs...) Anyway, for those of you who want to hear of the movie in itself, Denton (Brad and Janet's hometown) is now a big tv studio. Each morning, studio audience members arise from their chairs to view the newest game shows. Brad and Janet (again, nothing like their other characters) are having problems. Seems brads an emotional reck, and after going on a new game show hosted by crazy blind man bert schnidt, Brad is soon committed to a tv show/psychiatric ward called Dentonvale. Richard O'Brien and Patricia quinn once again give stunning performances, this time as Cosmo and Nation McKinley (again into the idea of incest). Little Nell is in the movie as Nurse Ansalong, not too big of a role actually, just eye candy. Charles Gray however has a much more active role than in the R.H.P.S, and he sings too! I suppose the main plot is centered around Janet becoming famous to help brad, then forgetting about him completely and becoming too thrilled with being famous. I highly recommend this, not as being compared to the R.H.P.S (nothing compares with that) but rather as an open minded person who loves looking at weird stuff."