Shock Treatment Reviews
I'd definitely suggest giving it a rental, just to see what's up, maybe you'll surprise yourself (like I did) and get into it in spite of yourself.
Here's something you ain't NEVER seen before, a SEQUEL, (or if you will, "equal" to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975))!! This time, it's set in a TV studio, and has Brad and Janet (this time played by Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper), being tra...(read more) pped in a nightmarish game-show-come-reality-TV show, run by doctors Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn), and blind Austrian game show host Bert Schnick (Barry Humphries!!) Visually, it looks brilliant, the songs are top notch too. But, it's ABSOLUTELY BONKERS!! Half the time, you don't even know what on earth's going on, it's a satire on American culture, punctuated by 80's pop numbers with an American country-western flavour. God knows what Ritz O'Brien was on when he thought this one up, but don't let it put you off!! Oh, and there's a young Rik Mayall in it!! ;)
The themes presented in ST are truly ahead of their time. In this film we see prophetic vision of reality tv and the public's almost disturbing desire to hang onto every little action even though it's blatantly being manipulated by the higher-ups for the sake of good ratings and lurid overindulgence.
The film takes place in an almost dreamlike world where the mass populace eat up our every action and allow themselves to be consumed by the glamour of TV personalities and in the end they willingly commit themselves to the madness.
All of this heavy satire is conveyed with broad caricatures and macabre performances by RHPS veterans and some new faces as well. Their performances are over the top but hint at the idea that they are putting it on for the audience. All of which is punctuated by a new array of songs by Richard O'Brien that truly require no comparison to RHPS as they are definitive in their own respect. The songs do a wonderful job conveying a story of discontent, vulnerability, seduction, deception, and ultimately reconciliation.
So to call Shock Treatment the TRON of musicals I mean that like TRON here was a film that was decades ahead of its time, which tackled things which would not be truly relevant until now and I hope that like TRON, one day the public will embrace it on its own terms.
PLOT:Brad Majors (Cliff De Young) and his wife, Janet (Jessica Harper), return to their home town of Denton for help with their failing marriage. However, they find out that their whole hometown has been turned into a giant TV station, ran by a fast food founder, Farley Flavors (Cliff De Young). After having Brad committed to a phony mental hospital for his "condition", Janet meets up with her parents and the doctors for help. In a little while, Janet notices she's being pushed to be Flavors' new star on this station's prime time programs and the new show Fantasy Factory. However, the whole existence of the TV station seems to be out of a lust for power and love for a certain person, with dark pasts leading up to the result. It's a great plot executed very well.
ACTING:The performances in this movie are pretty well done overall. I enjoyed most of them for their balances of humor and seriousness. Jessica Harper and Cliff De Young both did a great job as the leads Brad and Janet Majors, also Farley Flavors. Some parts seemed over-acted, but it all went with the movie. The best performances aside from Harper would have to actually be from Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Charles Gray, and Barry Humphries as Dr. Cosmo McKinley, Dr. Nation McKinley, Judge Oliver Wright, and Bert Schnick. These few really captured the movie's essence and performed their parts extremely well overall.
SCORE:The musical score in this movie is rockin' and high-energy at most parts, with the ballads being beautifully done. The score in this movie as compared to its predecessor is a bit different a toned down with some pitchy voices and cheesier songs, but overall, the score is well-written and well-performed, from "Bitchin' in the Kitchen" to the title track and even to "Anyhow, Anyhow."
OTHER CONTENT:This movie is a completely different change from its predecessor, Rocky Horror, but the wild-and-wacky tone of insanity stays just as it originally was. The movie itself is a deep, rockin' ride into the insanity of stereotypes of television and the world itself, with metaphor after wacky metaphor. However, the plot twists near the end seem preposterous and unnecessary, with the movie making less and less sense in the end. It may be a cult classic, but lightning never strikes in the same place twice. This movie doesn't reach the same satirical heights as Rocky Horror, but it does attempt to put on an entertaining show, and entertain it does.
OVERALL,a great musical cult classic with a great plot, well done acting, rockin' score, deep study of stereotypes, and wacky fun, however, the plot twists just seem preposterous near the end, and the heights of its predecessor aren't possibly scaled.
The seed of reality TV? Maybe, just maybe.