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SHOCK TREATMENT - 1 Slimes
Rated PG
Copyright 1981 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 14 April 2007

The Characters:  

  • Brad - Cliff De Young! He spends most of the movie in a cage, with a nice nurse who keeps him sedated and an orderly that changes the paper when he messes.
  • Janet - What is up with her eyes? You could stand right in front of her and she would not see you, because her eyes operate independently. They often wander across the landscape, one watching a rock while the other focuses on a random insect. Maybe she is part chameleon.
  • Cosmo McKinley - Why, it is good old Riff Raff, but with coke bottle glasses. I see that he is still fornicating with his sister.
  • Nation McKinley - She seems rather tame when compared to the other characters.
  • Judge Wright - Well, would you look at that: he does have a neck.
  • Betty - She lost her husband to television and is looking for someone new. Not necessarily young, mind you.
  • Bert Schnick - The blind may not be all that blind, but they are in charge.
  • Nurse Ansalong - Why is it that Little Nell could make anything sound naughty? (Even when she is not wearing a tiny nurse uniform.)
  • Macy and Ralph - A superficial blonde and her annoying boyfriend. It must be TV.
  • Farley Flavors - Cliff De Young (yes, again). Evil man with visions of grandeur and revenge, and not in that order.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When a movie's opening scene is that of a nearly-deserted television studio, you start to get worried. Then a screaming crowd rushes in through the doors. They take up residence in the audience seating, as everyone starts singing "Denton." This is not good. As songs go, it wallows, and my eyes cannot help but to be drawn to the one ponderous member of the studio audience. Some genius put him smack in the center of the crowd, where it is impossible to miss his sloth-like reflexes. As the crowd sings "Denton," they shift left and right or sometimes jump to their feet. "Mound O Man" always lags behind.

Brad and Janet are also present in the TV audience. The pair sings along with everyone else, allowing Brad to display reflexes (or rhythm) that cause the fat guy to look coordinated. To make matters worse, a pair of spunky and chunky cheerleaders bounces in front of the camera, shaking their pom-poms in the lens to make the cuts more interesting. Both cheerleaders must be using growth-inhibiting hormones. Surely, the girls must be twenty, but everything about them screams fifteen.

Folks, why am I watching this movie? It is after midnight and the bed sounds like a really good idea. Much better than continuing to subject myself to this thing; I am certain that it is going to hurt my feelings.

Safely shrouded in his private box, Mr. Flavors watches the drama unfold with interest. Especially when Brad and Janet are picked to appear on Bert Schnick's show. Pulled from the audience, both seem dazed and confused, but Schnick coaxes Janet into complaining on the air about her husband. What could possibly be wrong with Brad? Well, he is boring (a common problem with husbands, ladies - just ask your mother). How dreadfully awful! He must be committed to Dentonvale, a reality television show hosted by Cosmo and Nation. Get a wheelchair, right away!

Although many of the songs are forgettable, a couple of them are the film's saving grace. One such ballad crops up during Schnick's show. A television is wheeled in front of Brad and, like a good consumer, his eyes are immediately fixed on the tube. A montage of commercials plays while the unhappily married couple sing their frustration to the telly. It all starts with Brad crooning, "Dear blender..." (Yes, I know that the name of the song is "Bitchin' in the Kitchen.")

Laugh while you can, Monkey Boy. Enjoyable moments like that are few and far between.

The suffering couple is ushered into the office of one Doctor Cosmo McKinley, partnered in practice and the bedroom with his sister, Nation McKinley. Brad is given an injection and conks out, allowing the two quacks to gnaw away at the seed of doubt in Janet's mind. That her husband needs help is an undeniable truth. She agrees to have him admitted, but fails to sign the release papers. (Plot point, look at the plot point! It matters, but when they use it you had better not blink, else you will miss it entirely.) Once Brad is out of the picture, Janet is left alone - which was the plan all along. Farley wants her groomed by the doctors to become the first "Ms. Mental Health."

Off on a tangent...no, on second thought, it is not a tangent. It is most certainly a central aspect of the character, reinforced more than once during the movie. Anyway, what the hell is up with Richard O'Brien's fascination with creating a character for himself who engages in sexual relations with his sister? Extraterrestrial incest rears its fright wig head in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and emerges full-blown in this, the troubled sequel. If you want to dig even deeper, what about cross-dressing? During the manipulation of Janet to make her a suitable television personality, Cosmo sews her a little black dress. While he does this, he sings about the joys of dressing up in just that type of garment. There are other ways to be weird and creepy besides sleeping with your sister and wearing clothing intended for the opposite gender.

Janet's tumultuous rise to fame causes a lot of waves in the Denton studio. Matter of fact, the change spells doom for a show hosted by Judge Wright and Betty. They find themselves supplanted, dropped, cancelled, deprived of coffee mess privileges, and locked out of their office. Devoid of a purpose, they wander around the studio, looking for a trace of the conspiracy that doomed their boring commentary.

Goaded into further excesses of self-worth, Janet begins to turn into a completely different woman. She dances through the audience, singing about "Me, me, me!" Observing from his control room, Mr. Flavors laughs with obvious pleasure at Janet's deflowering. Feel sorry for Brad, because he remains confined to a cage at the center of the mental health clinic. We can turn the movie off (goodness, how I am resisting the urge), but the discarded husband has no such failsafe. Hey, here is a frightening idea: What if all the singing and dancing we see is only the tip of the iceberg? The camera can only be in one place at a time you know. Maybe, while I suffered through Janet's latest musical tirade, dozens of other painful tunes were being choked through on another part of the set.

I am not having a good time. It is after one in the morning and I want to go to bed. Please can I go to bed? Please? Please?

Concerned by the explosion of their female patient's ego, the doctors begin a gentle treatment regime of heavy sedatives. That works pretty well, other than causing Janet to lapse into a coma and sit, staring at a wall. Am I mistaken or do her eyes actually focus straight ahead of her when she is drugged? Hooray for modern pharmaceuticals! Give her some alcohol; let's see if we can make her go cross-eyed.

Everyone else might be distracted by the lights and cameras, but not Judge Wright and Betty. They dig up some interesting facts by accessing a computer, then free Brad from his cell. When the indignant young man confronts Farley, the shocking truth is revealed to the studio audience: Brad and Farley are twins, separated at birth! The two men have a sing off, vying for supremacy and possession of Janet's soul. Upright citizen that he is (swell guy, just boring), Brad defeats his evil sibling. Fat lot of good that does; Farley has the only police officer around on his payroll. The good guys are locked up in an office and everyone else streams into the sanatorium, singing yet another outrageous song.

That is it! It is now in the wee hours of the morning and I feel like someone has been flogging me with a bar of soap inside a sock. This movie totally kicked my butt.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Television studios are constructed from giant sheets of marshmallow wafer.
  • Marriage is like cooking with a blind man.
  • Dangerous mental ward patients are kept in a special canary cage.
  • Astroturf requires regular mowing.
  • The cast and audience of television shows sleep on the set.
  • Some drugs are administered via GS (which stands for "gargle and shake").
  • Used car salesmen are the largest consumers of tartan and argyle in the world, accounting for more than eight million yards per year. That is an average of forty-two yards per used car salesman.
  • The British invented a musical version of seppuku.
  • Referee shirts were inspired by the design of quality straight-jackets.
  • Bobby pins can be used to pick locks or to hotwire a car.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - Brad, do you remember where your manhood ended up the last time somebody said that? Yeah, him.
  • 8 mins - I have another "F" to add, but you can't say that on television.
  • 22 mins - Who wrote these awful songs?
  • 26 mins - For the movie hitting on the wrong notes anyway - a throwaway racist dig.
  • 39 mins - A song just used the word "treacle."
  • 45 mins - RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST GLASSWARE!
  • 48 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST PRIVACY SCREENS!
  • 61 mins - Not another one. No, no, no, arrgggghhhhh...
  • 72 mins - You know, I have some nose hairs that need plucking. I could be doing that right now, instead of watching this cursed movie!
  • 87 mins - Some people should have been stopped eighty minutes ago.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note shocktreat1.wav Brad sings to the blender.
Green Music Note shocktreat2.wav Janet's Mom: "Don't you want your daughter to look pretty?"
Janet's Dad: "Who's she got to look pretty for?"
Janet's Mom: "She's got a husband."
Janet's Dad: "She's got a weirdo!"
Green Music Note shocktreat3.wav Janet: "Hi, Brad. I've just come to tell you how fabulous I am."
Brad: "Mmmpggghhh!"
Green Music Note shocktreat4.wav Farely: "Take no notice of him. He's mad!"
Brad: "I'm as sane as you are - saner!"
Cosmo: "And he was only with us for one day."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipshocktreat1.mpg - 3.8m
The studio audience sings along with the cast as the broadcasting day begins for Denton TV. This goes on for about five minutes, so there are only ninety minutes remaining. Wait, where are you going?

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #1. Posted on April 14, 2007, 04:27:52 PM by quabrot
I love Shock Treatment.  Tonight, when I go to see Rocky Horror Picture Show, as a I frequently do Saturday nights, I will most likely get into yet another argument witht he Rocky fans who don't appreciate it.  It happens every week.

My favorite was when a guy compared changing the cast to Robin Williams' absence in Return of Jafar.
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #2. Posted on April 14, 2007, 08:18:14 PM by Andrew
I love Shock Treatment.  Tonight, when I go to see Rocky Horror Picture Show, as a I frequently do Saturday nights, I will most likely get into yet another argument witht he Rocky fans who don't appreciate it.  It happens every week.

My favorite was when a guy compared changing the cast to Robin Williams' absence in Return of Jafar.

I can easily understand how the movie could hit all the right points and be a classic to someone else, but it did not entertain me.  It did get better after repeat viewings, but never really clicked for me.

I have, gratefully, never seen "Return of Jafar."
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #3. Posted on April 15, 2007, 02:38:25 AM by Fausto
You Know, I was reading somewhere that the plot was supposed to be totally different, but since tim curry wasnt coming back, they took the songs they had written for it and made Shock Treatment. The article I read explained the orignal story (which featured the return of Frank-n-furter).  Check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Horror_Shows_His_Heels
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #4. Posted on April 15, 2007, 06:38:37 PM by DwightFry
I love The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Shock Treatment is insufferable. And I think I know the reasons: when RHPS was made, no one expected the audience participation cult that would arise. This one was made after that fact, and they tried to intentionally make a movie that would repeat that phenomenon. So, ST was designed to have audience participation, that is, leaving blank spaces for the public to insert their wisecracks, and keeping plot to a historical minimum. The resulting stinker only proves that you just can't manufacture a cult movie.
Shock Treatment
Reply #5. Posted on April 16, 2007, 11:32:53 AM by roadgoon
I like the opening of Shock treatment where evryone sings Denton and Brad is commited on T.V.
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #6. Posted on April 19, 2007, 03:31:46 AM by Joe the Destroyer
I've wondered about the film, but have never been interested enough to check it out.  I really enjoy Rocky Horror
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #7. Posted on April 20, 2007, 11:19:56 AM by onionhead
I love The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Shock Treatment is insufferable. And I think I know the reasons: when RHPS was made, no one expected the audience participation cult that would arise. This one was made after that fact, and they tried to intentionally make a movie that would repeat that phenomenon. So, ST was designed to have audience participation, that is, leaving blank spaces for the public to insert their wisecracks, and keeping plot to a historical minimum. The resulting stinker only proves that you just can't manufacture a cult movie.
My thoughts exactly.  Love or hate The Rocky Horror Picture Show you have to admit it has a genuine effort to entertain behind it, and the cult status it achieved and the audience participation was completely unexpected.  Shock Treatment comes across as having been concocted by a couple guys at  a card table saying, "and when this happens in the movie, the audience can do this, and then when this happens, they can do this."  ALthough it's been about 12 years since I last saw RHPS, certain scenes stand out, many tunes stay with me, and I still get the urge to throw a roll of toilet paper when somebody says "Great Scott!"  Nothing with Shock Treatment--just plain awful (sorry, quabrot).
Re: Shock Treatment
Reply #8. Posted on September 14, 2007, 12:42:06 PM by george
 Say what you will, I think this flick is pretty awesome. I first saw it in 1988 and hated it, but subsequent viewings made me appreciate the movie. It's interesting how Richard O'Brien prefigured the whole reality as entertainment movement of the new millenium. The songs, while not as memorable as the ones in RHPS, are still good.  "b***hin' In The Kitchen", "Me Of Me", "Look What I Did To My Id" and , of course, the title track, "Shock Treatment" are the best". Overall, ST is alot of fun if you give it a chance. The best way to view this flick is just to sit back and let it happen.
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