You know the feeling when you watch a movie and go “What the hell did I just watch?” Well that happened to me years ago when I saw the film Shock Treatment. No not the Rocky Horror follow up, that simply made me cringe. I am talking about the 1973 Alain Jessua classic. In fact I had to watch it three times. Its not that its hard to follow, its just a bit out there. It had been a long time since I saw it so when Severin sent it to me the other night I immediately popped it in to see how my “adult” self would enjoy it. What followed was a rollicking 90min for me, not so much my wife, but definitely me.
Shock Treatment is the story of Helene Masson. She is a high profile owner of an upscale fashion company but her personal life isn’t that great. 38 years old, not married, and recently dumped by her boyfriend. Not a great combination. So she does what anyone would do in that situation. She has a midlife crisis, followed with a mental breakdown. She is feeling old and worthless So her friend Gerome tells her she needs time away to relax and get better and suggests they visit a rejuvenation spa. He convinces her it is just what she needs as he has heard they have an amazing anti-aging therapy and they heads off to the place, which is basically tucked away in the middle of nowhere and ran by two doctors. Dr Devilers, and Dr Bebard.
She travels out and falls in love with the place. She befriends several of the guest as well as Joa, on of the employees who is there illegally from Portugal. She is so happy she begins spending time with him, even speaking with him in Portuguese. She begins using their new anti-age formula and notices spectacular results. Now tis place is expensive and one morning Gerome finds out he cannot cover the bill and they find him dead, apparently of a suicide. This leaves Helen distraught to say the least so she heads out to find Joa to help comfort her. Problem is he seems to have disappeared. In fact a lot of guests have disappeared over time.
Of course this leads to Helene trying to discover what is going on. Especially when the good Doctors tell her she is forbidden to leave. Turns out this magic fountain of youth serum is made from the people who have disappearing. You know body and plasma harvesting. I mean you of course need that to make an anti-age serum. Helen does discover this, so it’s not like I’m giving a major spoiler and she must not only try to stop them, but escape as well.
I still love this film. It does have blood, and nudity like all the exploitation fair of this era but this one relies more on psychological tension, combined of course with an insane plot. The acting is very good especially from Annie Girardot as Helene and Alain Delon as Dr Devilers. The Entire cast works well together and the tension is high throughout the entire film. Everything moves along at a brisk pace and you are never left with a dull moment.
Severin has once again done an outstanding job with the transfer. This is not a dark film so everything comes to life on your television. The score is very well done and really comes alive from your surround sound. Once again they have done an amazing job with the cover art and as I keep telling them they need to make posters of these films they put out. And yes it does have special features as well.
This is another long lost classic from Severin and if you’re a fan of these types of films you need to pre order this one today. Its got a limited edition 2 disc set, which I highly recommend getting before they are gone. Add this one to your collection and get ready for a crazy ride.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!