Shock Treatment

Shock Treatment

Shock Treatment is a 1981 comedy-musical 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.


Continuing from The Rocky Horror Picture Show are the characters of Brad and Janet Majors (portrayed by Cliff De Young and Jessica Harper, respectively), now married.

The film takes place in the fictional town of Denton USA, which has been taken over by fast food magnate Farley Flavors (also played by De Young). The town of Denton is entirely encased within a television studio for network DTV (Denton Television). Residents are either stars and regulars on a show, cast and crew, or audience members. Brad and Janet, while seated in the audience are chosen to participate in the game show Marriage Maze, by the blind and kooky host Bert Schnick (Barry Humphries). As a "prize", Brad is imprisoned on Dentonvale, a soap opera that centers around the local mental hospital run by brother and sister Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn).

Janet is given a taste of show-biz as Farley Flavors molds her into a singing diva superstar in an attempt to take her away from Brad. Her compliance is assured through the use of drugs supplied by the McKinleys.

Betty Hapschatt (Ruby Wax) and Judge Oliver Wright (Charles Gray) investigate Farley and other people involved in DTV, eventually discovering that Cosmo and Nation are not doctors, but merely character actors, and Farley Flavors is Brad's jealous, long-lost twin brother, seeking to destroy Brad and take Janet for himself.

The pair rescue Brad from Dentonvale and have Brad confront his twin on his show Faith Factory. Farley imprisons the three and Janet but they manage to escape in a car along with a local band.

During the movie, it is also revealed that Bert Schnick can really see.



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. Jim Sharman suggested possibly doing the production as a London stage show and filming it in a theatre, 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 movie, only Jeremy Newson reprised his role as Ralph Hapschatt. Tim Curry was offered the roles of Brad Majors and Farley Flavors, 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 wanted half a million dollars to play Janet again. Cliff De Young had been director Jim 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 role as the man using the payphone during the opening sequence. Several of the costumes and props from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including Frank's throne (painted red), 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 a failure when it was released only as a midnight movie in late 1981. It had a short 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 first-run release in 1975. The movie, at face value, was very difficult for mainstream audiences to understand, and was of a different structure of plot than Rocky Horror. Some were put off by the absence of Tim Curry's character Dr. Frank N. Furter, who died in the original film. The idea of a town as one large TV studio was far more unusual in 1981, when reality TV had not yet hit the ascendancy it found in later years. However, Shock Treatment eventually got showings at Rocky Horror conventions, and has ended up having occasional performance casts every now and then.

DVD releases

A special edition DVD was released in the United States, on September 5, 2006. 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 audio commentary with fan club presidents Mad Man Mike & Bill Brennan, a making-of featurette, a music retrospective featurette, and domestic and international trailers.

Musical numbers

Song Chiefly Sung By Other Singers
Overture Instrumental N/A
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
Carte Blanche Janet N/A
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)

See also

References in other media

  • Something Positive - Comic strip, characters attempt to create a stage production of Shock Treatment.


External links

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