Shock Treatment

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"Trust me, I'm a doctor!"
  • PG
  • 1981
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 5.7  (5,246)
  • 36

Shock Treatment is a 1981 musical-comedy directed by Jim Sharman, who also directed the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film is a sequel of sorts to Rocky Horror, and features many of the same cast and crew. Shock Treatment takes place in the fictional town of Denton, USA, and explores the themes of fame, celebrity, and the television industry.

The story begins with Brad (Cliff De Young) and Janet (Jessica Harper), the protagonists from Rocky Horror, traveling to the Denton television studio to appear on a game show called Marriage Maze. However, they soon find themselves trapped in the studio when a riot erupts outside the building. This leads to Brad becoming a candidate for the position of the town's new leader, and Janet being offered a job as a television personality.

As the film progresses, the town becomes increasingly focused on television, with various programs and celebrities taking center stage. Brad, meanwhile, becomes more and more lost in his quest for political power, while Janet begins to see the dark side of fame and the television industry.

One of the key themes of Shock Treatment is the idea of television as a means of control. The film portrays the television industry as a powerful force that can manipulate people's thoughts and desires. This is represented by characters like Farley Flavors (also played by Richard O'Brien), the owner of the television studio, who is presented as a sinister figure with a God complex.

Another notable aspect of the film is the music. The songs had been written by O'Brien and Richard Hartley, and they offer a mix of rock, pop, and Broadway-style tunes. The music is often irreverent and satirical, poking fun at various aspects of American culture, from beauty pageants to reality TV.

The film's overall tone is often quite surreal, with frequent breaks in the narrative to show scenes that seem to exist in some sort of alternate reality. It can be difficult to discern what is real and what is not, and the characters themselves frequently seem unsure of what is happening around them.

Despite its flaws, Shock Treatment has developed a cult following over the years. Fans of Rocky Horror often enjoy the film, as it shares many of the same themes and weaves in references to the earlier film. However, it is not a direct sequel, and can be appreciated on its own merits.

In conclusion, Shock Treatment is a film that is difficult to define. It is part musical, part comedy, and part commentary on American society. It is a strange, often confusing, but ultimately unique and entertaining film that offers a darkly satirical look at the power of the television industry.

Shock Treatment
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (5,246)
  • Metascore