Shock Treatment

20th Century Fox

Met with almost universal apathy (and derision from the scant few who actually saw it in the theater), this erstwhile sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show has languished in near obscurity since its release. Is it as bad as its reputation suggests? No, not really … unless you’re expecting the further adventures of Dr. Frankenfurter. Aside from the characters of Brad and Janet (here portrayed by Cliff de Young and Jessica Harper) and the return of a handful of RHPS cast members, Shock Treatment really isn’t a sequel except in marketing approach. Brad and Janet swing by the Denton television studio and get caught up in a prescient version of reality TV, as backstage melodramas spill out on the soundstage. Although the satirical elements seem a bit dated by now, the musical numbers and oddball humor still hold up fairly well. Writer Richard O’Brien gets a little more ambitious with his material this time out, but those expecting the audience participation-friendly aspect of RHPS will be sorely disappointed. Which is ironic, in that RHPS in itself was a harbinger of the whole Mystery Science Theatre 3000 phenomenon.