Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jim Sharman|
|Produced by||Lou Adler
|Written by||Jim Sharman
Cliff De Young
|Music by||Richard O'Brien (Songs)
Richard Hartley (Score)
|Editing by||Richard Bedford|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||92 minutes|
|Budget||3.5 million [estimated]|
Shock Treatment is a 1981 musical-black comedy film and a follow-up to the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. While not an outright sequel, the movie does feature several characters from the movie portrayed by different actors and several Rocky Horror actors portraying new characters. It was originally titled The Brad and Janet Show, which included a similar plot and the same songs, but was rewritten to take place entirely in a studio when a strike made filming the outdoor scenes impossible.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2011)|
A narrator introduces the audience to shadowy Denton TV executive Farley Flavors, who has lived his life "fast" but still feels incomplete without a certain woman - who belongs to someone else. As Flavors watches, his television studio - which now encompasses the entire town of Denton - is steadily filled with the former residents of Denton, who gleefully assume their new roles as studio audience members of a 24 hour live television broadcast ("Overture"). The sole holdout in the celebration is Brad Majors (Cliff De Young), who, despite the insistence of his wife Janet (Jessica Harper) that things will be OK, is ambivalent about the town's transformation ("Denton, U.S.A.").
Brad and Janet are chosen as contestants on "Marriage Maze", a supposed game show whose only purpose seems to be committing people to "Dentonvale", Denton's resident insane asylum. Janet is given the opportunity to have Brad committed by the show's host, a supposedly blind Austrian named Bert Schnick (Barry Humphries), who promises her that the experience will improve their marriage ("Bitchin' in the Kitchen").
Upon arriving at Dentonvale, Brad and Janet are greeted by the staff: Nurse Ansalong (Nell Campbell), Rest Home Ricky (Rik Mayall), and Dentonvale's supervisors, the apparently incestuous siblings Dr. Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn). Despite Brad's objections, Cosmo has him drugged, bound, gagged, and placed in a padded cell known as the "Terminal Ward". Before Janet can sign the papers permitting the McKinleys to treat Brad, Ansalong tells her to wait a day, to give her time to make up her mind. Meanwhile, Janet's parents, Harry (Manning Redwood) and Emily (Darlene Johnson), are brought onto Marriage Maze and promised a prize if they offer a psychological assessment of Brad. Deciding that he's regressing into childhood, the Weisses are awarded a vacation home on another of DTV's programs. Janet goes to meet them there and laments Brad's lack of assertiveness ("In My Own Way"). Harry chastises Janet for marrying Brad, an orphan whose parents died in a car crash, rather than other boys from more stable home backgrounds. (Thank God I'm a Man).
Meanwhile, the McKinleys are informed that financing for their show has been taken over by Flavors' own personal company, a fast food enterprise which Farley hopes to use to finance a pop psychology movement, using a new TV program, "Faith Factory", as the platform and the McKinleys as his mouthpieces. The reluctant McKinleys are quickly taken in by a persuasive videotaped pitch, and on Farley's orders, they recruit Janet to be the face of Farley's "Sanity For Today" movement, as he believes she is the perfect example of the girl next door ("Farley's Song"). Janet moves into Dentonvale with the McKinleys and Bert Shnick, with the promise that her new life as an exciting model will make her desirable to Brad again ("Lullaby"). Meanwhile, Judge Wright and Betty Hapschatt (Charles Gray and Ruby Wax), two DTV hosts sympathetic to Brad, look into the histories of Farley and the McKinleys, suspecting that there is a sinister motive behind "Faith Factory".
Cosmo strokes Janet's ego and designs a sexy new outfit for her, transforming her into "Miss Mental Health" ("Little Black Dress"). DTV manufactures Janet into an overnight sensation, and the newfound fame goes to Janet's head ("Me of Me"). Janet, her parents, and Bert go to visit Brad at Dentonvale, where the Weisses question whether the McKinleys can really help him. The Dentonvale Staff assure everyone of their competency, "curing" Bert's blindness to demonstrate their abilities ("Shock Treatment"). Janet's ego becomes difficult for the McKinleys to control. To keep her manageable, they drug her, resulting in a dream sequence in which she patrols Denton looking for sex while Brad begs her for love ("Looking for Trade").
As the premiere of "Faith Factory" nears, Bert, the Dentonvale Staff, and the Weisses prepare for their new TV roles; meanwhile, Betty hacks into DTV's computer and learns that the McKinleys are in fact character actors and that "Dentonvale" isn't a real hospital ("Look What I Did to My Id"). "Faith Factory" goes on the air, opening with a live musical performance by Janet's groupies, a punk band called Oscar Drill and the Bits ("Breaking Out"). Using the performance as a cover, Judge Wright and Betty break Brad out of Dentonvale, telling him that they've learned Farley is his biological brother, who was split from him during the adoption process and grew up poor; now Farley wants to destroy Brad's life out of jealousy, and is planning to seduce Janet on national TV as the last part of his plan.
Brad, Wright, and Betty break through the wall of the "Faith Factory" set, and Brad confronts Farley about his plan ("Duel Duet"). Farley demands Brad be remanded to the hospital, but Janet, snapped out of her ego-trip, informs him that she never signed the consent forms. Angry, Farley has Brad, Janet, Wright, and Betty arrested, and hastily names DTV host Macy Struthers (Wendy Raeback) as the new "Miss Mental Health". Farley invites the studio audience to join in, to which they readily agree—they are all summarily handed straight jackets, which they happily don. Brad, Janet and the Judge escape the holding cell they were placed in for disturbing the live show, and the foursome resolves to leave Denton behind. With the help of Oscar Drill and the Bits, they hotwire a car that was meant to be a prize on "Faith Factory" and drive away, as Farley and the Dentonvale staff celebrate having just committed the entire town of Denton to the terminal ward ("Anyhow Anyhow"/"Denton, U.S.A. (Reprise)").
- Jessica Harper as Janet Majors (née Weiss)
- Cliff De Young as Brad Majors / Farley Flavors
- Richard O'Brien as Dr. Cosmo McKinley
- Patricia Quinn as Dr. Nation McKinley
- Barry Humphries as Bert Schnick
- Ruby Wax as Betty Munroe/Hapschatt
- Charles Gray as Judge Oliver Wright
- Jeremy Newson as Ralph Hapschatt
- Wendy Raeback as Macy Struthers
- Nell Campbell as Nurse Ansalong
- Rik Mayall as "Rest Home" Ricky
- Darlene Johnson as Emily Weiss
- Manning Redwood as Harry Weiss
- Barry Dennen as Irwin Lapsey
- Betsy Brantley as Neely Pritt
- Chris Malcolm as Vance Parker
- Sal Piro (uncredited) as Guy on pay phone
|Song||Chiefly Sung By||Other Singers|
|Denton U.S.A.||Neely, Harry, Emily, Vance,
Brenda and Frankie, Ralph, Macy
|Bitchin' in the Kitchen||Brad, Janet||N/A|
|In My Own Way||Janet||N/A|
|Thank God I'm a Man||Harry||Audience|
|Farley's Song||Farley||Cosmo, Nation, Ansalong, Ricky|
|Lullaby||Nation, Cosmo, Janet, Ansalong, Ricky||N/A|
|Little Black Dress||Cosmo, Janet, Bert, Nation||N/A|
|Me of Me||Janet||Frankie and Brenda|
|Shock Treatment||Cosmo, Nation, Ansalong||Janet, Ricky, Bert, Harry, Emily|
|Looking for Trade||Janet||Brad|
|Look What I Did to My Id||Emily, Harry, Cosmo, Nation,
Macy, Ralph, Ansalong, Ricky
|Breaking Out||Oscar Drill||The Bits|
|Duel Duet||Farley, Brad||N/A|
|Anyhow, Anyhow||Brad, Janet, Oliver, Betty||All characters (including chorus and other minor characters)|
The film was shot entirely in a sound studio. The original intent had been to shoot the film in realistic locations in the USA, but a 1979 Screen Actors Guild strike froze the production funds. Director Jim Sharman suggested possibly doing the production as a London stage show and filming it in a theater, which gave Richard O'Brien the idea to rework the locations as a giant TV studio using a film studio in England, trimming the budget and reviving the project. Although several Rocky Horror cast members returned for this film, only Jeremy Newson reprised his role as Ralph Hapschatt (though it is possible Judge Oliver Wright is the Criminologist from Rocky Horror). Tim Curry was offered the roles of Brad and Farley, but declined because he didn't think his American accent would be convincing. Barry Bostwick was unable to reprise his role as Brad due to other filming commitments, and Susan Sarandon's asking price could not be met, due to budget constraints. 
Cliff De Young had been Sharman's original choice for Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as Sharman had worked with De Young off-Broadway in the play "Trials of Oz" in 1972. De Young had been unavailable then, as he was appearing on the television show Sunshine in California. Cast now as Brad and Farley, De Young modeled his performance of Brad Majors after David Eisenhower, and modeled Farley Flavors after Jack Nicholson.Shock Treatment's original working title was The Brad and Janet Show. Founder and long-time president of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fan club, Sal Piro, has a cameo appearance as the man using the payphone during the opening sequence. Some of the costumes and props from Rocky Horror, such as Frank's throne (painted red and reupholstered for Faith Factory) Frank's leather jacket, and a portrait seen in the beginning of the "Time Warp" can be seen in Shock Treatment.
In spite of pre-release hype (including a promotional TV special called The Rocky Horror Treatment), the film was both a critical and commercial failure when it was released only as a midnight movie on Halloween 1981. It never had a full general first-run release in theaters. It turned out, with its increased budget and box office failure, to be an even bigger flop than Rocky Horror's original general release in 1975. Over the years, however, the film has gained a somewhat significant and loyal cult following. The film currently holds a 40% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on five reviews.
A special edition DVD was released in the United States on September 5, 2006, its first US DVD release. Included is a 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0, and Spanish Mono audio tracks, with Spanish, French and English subtitles. Bonus materials include an audio commentary with fan club presidents Mad Man Mike & Bill Brennan, a making-of featurette, a music retrospective featurette, and domestic and international trailers. Rumors from Rocky Horror Picture Show fans have been communicating about a possibility of a blu-ray release but it has not yet been confirmed as of 2013.
- Conroy, Mike (1981). "Richard O'Brien and Shock Treatment." Fangoria, No. 15. New York; O'Quinn Studios. 66.
- Conroy, Mike, "Richard O'Brien and Shock Treatment," op cit., 66.
- 20th Century-Fox (1981). Shock Treatment Press Kit. 5.
- Shock Treatment at Rotten Tomatoes Over the years however the film has gained a small, but loyal cult-following.
- Shock Treatment at RockyHorror.com
- Shock Treatment at the Internet Movie Database
- Shock Treatment at AllRovi
- Shock Treatment at Rotten Tomatoes
- Shock Treatment fansite