Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Challenge #28

Shock Treatment was the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and also penned by Richard O'Brien. Bad news first; it is not Rocky Horror. Now, the good news.

While the songs may not be as catchy, and sing-along as "Timewarp" and "Hot Patootie" it is a rather visionary movie. It came out in 1981 and prefigures what most of us would consider to be 1980s style. Now, granted, I did not have MTV until 1983, but the clothes and set design in this film were already things you would see until the hair-metal takeover of '80s style.

The story follows Brad and Janet after their encounter with Frankenfurter to the town of Denton, USA, a place that is perpetually televised, or at least the studio audience seems to live there. The town is obsessed with normalcy and old-fashioned values, as well as mental health. Of course, everyone, particularly those who are crusaders for mental health, are complete wack-a-doodles. Brad, traumatized by the encounter with Frankenfurter and the aliens has had a nervous breakdown and falls into the clutches of Drs Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn, respectively).

This is a slick film with good music that reminds you a bit of Quarterflash and other early '80s bands that had not yet given up on rock music, but had a pop flair to them. Brad and Janet are played by different actors, and many of you will recognize character actor Cliff De Young (Brad) from his numerous television appearances, as well as Jessica Harper (Janet) who is also a bit of a television staple, and appeared in Dario Argento's Suspiria. The story is unfortunately quite enduring; in that much of what the villains' plot involves is very much relevant today.

Verdict: If you are looking for Rocky Horror II, this is not your film, but if you enjoy the weird and wild you could do far worse with your 92 minutes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the video box as a kid at Turtle's video stores thinking it was a very scary horror movie.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I remember it from the video store as a young adult and was unsure if it looked incredibly creepy, or incredibly stupid. I had no idea of the Rocky Horror connection.

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