31 Days of Horror, Day 3. Shock Treatment.

Posted: October 3, 2016 in Cinema / Film, Horror, Reviews


Those who know me, know of my closet obsession for musicals, especially the black-humoured kind like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Little Shop of Horrors, and Poultrygeist. There is one in particular that will always remain miles above the rest, and that is the 1975, midnight-movie cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I adore the film so much I wear fishnets, and a leather corset for pajamas, while dreaming dreams of ambiguity.

We Rockies are a devoted bunch, which is why I always find it shocking when I meet those among our ilk who’ve never seen or heard of its sequel, Shock Treatment.

To be fair, Shock Treatment is more of a pseudo-sequel. Barry Bostwick, and Susanne Sarandon have been replaced by cult mainstay Cliff DeYoung, and Jessica Harper as Brad and Janet, and several members of the Rocky Horror alum play different roles.

The film follows Brad, and Janet, now married, and living in Denton USA, which has been taken over by fast-food mogul Farley Flavours, (DeYoung in a dual role), and encased within a television studio. The residents of Denton are either stars on a show, crew or members of the audience, and soon Brad, and Janet find themselves playing a part as well.

Richard O’brien, writer/ composer of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Riff-Raff himself, had originally penned a sequel entitled, Hell on Heels, which saw Frankenfurter, and Rocky being resurrected, Barry and Everett Scott coming out, and Janet pregnant with Frank’s child, however after Curry, director Jim Sharman, and many members of the original cast showed resistance to revisiting the material O’Brien rewrote the script, and Shock Treatment was born.

Fun fact, Tim Curry was originally committed to playing Farley Flavours, but after discovering Barry Bostwick was unavailable, and he’d have to play dual roles backed out for fear of not being able to pull off a believable American accent. Imagine how awesome that would have been. No discredit to DeYoung whose performance as the charismatic Flavours was fantastic, and I adore, but everything benefits from adding a little Curry.

Another nugget of wisdom for you trivia junies, as was the standard at the time the music, and vocals were recorded before filming, and in this instance done at the Famous Abbey Road Studios.

Shock Treatment release to a limited screening, and tanked hard. Critics loathed it, and fans of its predecessor were confused by the recasting of its leads, the presence of returning actors in different roles, and its less horror, and science-fiction inspired plot.

I’m on the fence. On one side, I would love to have seen O’Brien’s original vision for the film, but on the other I feel Shock Treatment stands on its own as an interesting curio, and a film that was far ahead of its time. Had O’Brien released it today to a society enamoured with reality television I feel it would have been much more appreciated.

That’s it for today Skiddies. Make some toast, and pop in The Rocky Horror Picture show, and Shock Treatment to entertain yourselves while you’re waiting for tomorrow’s entry!

A bit of a warning, the next one is going to be BAAHAAHAAD!

As always, stay scared!

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