Shock Treatment (1981)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Fantasy Comedy, Media Satire, Musical Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Jason Buchanan

Immediately savaged by critics and hesitantly embraced by Rocky Horror Picture Show devotees who struggled to respond to this film in a similar manner as they did the original, this anemic sequel suffered problems from its inception. Though the script was written as a direct sequel, early budget cuts forced director Jim Sharman to scale down the production, and Tim Curry's refusal to participate left the filmmakers scratching their heads for a way to innovate with regards to the film's plot. Add to that the fact that all of the songs had already been written and new actors were brought in to replace Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon, and it's a slight miracle that the film ever saw the light of day in the first place. Featuring much of the same cast other than the three leads, the infectious energy of the original seems to be in place, but the problem is that there is no focus. The result is a confusing mess that, despite moments of inspired insanity, sadly fails to live up to the standard set by the original. A film like The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a once-in-a-lifetime chance occurrence, and the way audiences responded to that film was even more rare. To place those expectations on this sequel would be unfair, though ultimately that's exactly what audiences and critics did. That expectation combined with the fact that this is simply a weak film are the elements which ultimately formed a recipe for disaster. Despite the film's numerous failures, the one place where it does shine is the soundtrack. Even if the elements to form a good film could not be adequately utilized, Richard O' Brien's songwriting talents remained as formidable as ever. Featuring a variety if infectiously inspired tunes peppered with witty lyrics and irresistible hooks, fans of the music in The Rocky Horror Picture Show are strongly advised to seek out this soundtrack. It may not make you forget the film, but it'll sure ease the pain of disappointment after watching it.