Some of the big questions back in the late 1970's, as ROCKY HORROR mania was spreading all over the world, were: "What would happen next?" "Will there be a sequel?" "Will Frank-N-Furter rise from the dead?" "Will Brad and Janet find their clothes?" "Will Dr. Scott walk again... in high heels?"
There was a lot of talk about a sequel. It was clear that Tim Curry would not reprise his role as Frank-N-Furter, so Richard O'Brien wrote a new adventure for Brad and Janet. This film was called SHOCK TREATMENT. In SHOCK TREATMENT, Brad and Janet enter a fast-paced world of quiz shows and media manipulation, surrounded by a new set of bizarre characters. The film takes place inside the "Denton Television Studios" (DTV), which is a society in itself. Plot complications develop when Brad and Janet are chosen as contestants on the "Marriage Maze," DTV's most popular game show. Bert Schnick, the blind host of "Marriage Maze" delights in having contestants committed to Dentonvale for treatment. Brad is committed and attended to by the Dentonvale staff of Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn) and Nurse Ansalong (Little Nell). Besides these three, the only other returning ROCKY stars were Charles Gray as Judge Oliver Wright and Ralph Hapschatt played by Jeremy Newson. The RHPS creative team of Director Jim Sharman, Set Designer Brian Thomson and Costume Designer Sue Blane also returned for SHOCK TREATMENT. This time around, Brad and Janet were played by Cliff DeYoung and Jessica Harper. Jessica Harper had a cult following of her own with her appearance in Phantom of the Paradise.
When this movie was being filmed, Twentieth Century Fox wanted to promote it by making use of me and the fan club. I was hired to host a documentary entitled "The ROCKY HORROR Treatment." This two-part film traced the development of the ROCKY HORROR cult in anticipation of the sequel, and the actual making of SHOCK TREATMENT. The biggest thrill for me was flying to London to shoot footage on the set of SHOCK TREATMENT. I interviewed the stars of the film and even made a cameo appearance. My "big" role was to stand talking on a telephone behind the staircase in the opening sequence. It was truly an "if you blink, you miss me" role, or "no, that wasn't a speck of dust in your eye, it was me." But I didn't care. That week was the time of my life.
As with ROCKY, this film was tested in a few markets. This was not a movie that could run weekday afternoon shows in a suburban mall and so it was not widely released. It did, however, get spot midnight bookings around the country, and on a few occasions, ran on a double bill with ROCKY HORROR.
In New York City, while we were firmly implanted at the 8th Street Playhouse, SHOCK TREATMENT was booked Friday and Saturday nights at our old home, the Waverly, just a few blocks away. SHOCK TREATMENT did develop its own floor show and audience participation by a group of fringe people from the Eighth Street Playhouse. They were not very successful and came under much criticism (especially in an article in the Village Voice), by those who said that their participation was forced and not like ROCKY HORROR.
Many ROCKY fans, as myself, loved SHOCK TREATMENT, the music, the characters, the satire. Even though I have seen it only twenty times ("only" becomes a relative word here), I have never felt compelled to yell a single line back at it.