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Smiling Faces
johnrossbowie
 Glee's episode last night has me thinking a lot about Rocky Horror, natch. Much has been written about the episode already (suffice it to say, I'm glad my kids were in bed. But GODDAM YOU NAYA RIVERA DRESSED AS MAGENTA. GODDAM YOU TO HELL) and obviously much has been written about the source material -- how it was the first midnight movie (not really true), how it was 20th Century Fox's last big risk before Star Wars (probably pretty true) and how it's given a home to misfits, nerds and GLBTQ kids all over the world (totally true, jesus, drive by the Nuart some saturday night). So that's all fine.

What I want to talk about, briefly, is Shock Treatment. The vastly underrated sequel to RHPS' that went almost straight to midnight showings (as opposed to RHPS initial wide release) and never shows up on VH1, and hardly ever gets screened anywhere. I saw it on a double bill with Phantom of the Paradise at the Hollywood Twin Cinema on 8th Avenue sometime in, let's say, 1983. After plans to make an honest to goodness continuation of Rocky Horror were scrapped (budgetary concerns, a SAG strike, Tim Curry's hesi...







tation to don the corset again), Richard O'Brien took pre-written songs and strung them along a plot that could be very easily shot on one soundstage. Following Brad and Janet a few years into the future, the film posits a world where people work out their marital strife on TV shows like Marriage Maze, and seek therapy the same way they seek fast food. And it pictured this whole world way back  in NINETEEN EIGHTY ONE. It's a pretty bleak satire of consumer culture and media saturation, which is probably why it never quite caught on. Rocky Horror is about sex and horror movies. Infinitely more fun than an indictment of who we are as a culture.

But what Shock Treatment has going for it is a fucking EERILY prescient view of what TV would look like in the very near future. It looked stupid and over the top when it came out, and now it looks ... not tame, but right on the money. People hash their personal shit out on TV. The American Public Votes On People's Careers. 

And -- oh -- it has really fun songs. The opening number, Denton, Denton is about to get stuck in your head for the next week, provided you click on the below link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOEUpYcSwOM

Shock Treatment came out on DVD in 2006, finally, and your better video stores will carry it. As long as you don't expect Rocky Horror 2, I think you're in for a treat.
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...that is certainly going to be in my head. Damn it.

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