Shock Treatment (1981)

Jim Sharman directs Jessica Harper, Cliff De Young and Richard O’Brien in this sequel to Rocky Horror (Yes, it is!) where Brad and Janet’s marriage is threatened by a never-ending TV channel.

A valiant but unsuccessful attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle twice. Rocky Horror shouldn’t really work but deliciously does. This only intermittently comes close to the chaotic magic. The four main issues are easy to identify; no Tim Curry, no Susan Sarandon, no classic showstopper tunes, no room to breathe. It almost feels gaspingly engineered not to give the cult-ish fanbase of its progenitor a chance to heckle the screen. Not that they cared for it anyway in the end. A couple of the songs are toe tappers but you won’t be ‘jumping to the left’ to them. Harper is cute as the Janet replacement but Cliff De Young makes little impression as new Brad. Curry wisely bailed when he realised he might have to play dual roles or sing in an accent… O’Brien, Barry Humphries and young Rik Mayall do bring it, keep the energy going. The deranged physicality is there, just none of the soul. Whereas Rocky Horror was transgressively inclusive, this feel cynical and abrasive. The labyrinthine set design is impressive but visually Shock Treatment has to be the reddest movie ever made. Like staring into a warning light for two hours. It lasts 94 minutes.

5

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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