Blu-ray Review: Shock Treatment (1973)

October 31, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Hélène Masson (Annie Girardot) is a rich-ass middle-aged woman who feels like she’s aging like a plop of dog shit on a hot August sidewalk at the ripe, jolly ol’ age of 38! This gives her a case of the frowns, so she heads off to the Devilers Clinic (nothing ominous in that name… why not just call it Satan’s Hospital), a posh New Age style clinic located on the beautiful French coast (vividly captured by cinematography courtesy of Jacques Robin) recommended to her by her pal Gérôme Savignat (Robert Hirsch).

Before long, our heroine is doin’ the ol sexual fucking with the clinic’s namesake, Dr. Devilers himself (Alain Delon)… but a spate of disappearing servants, and the questionable suicide of Gérôme has her second guessing the dashing doc, even if his treatments are making her feel like fried gold! Copious amounts of nudity ensue.

Directed by Alain Jessua, Shock Treatment is a slow-burn peak behind the curtain of the wacky, and ultimately deadly world of the ultra-rich, morally bankrupt, members of France’s jet-set in the early 70’s. Devilers has nothing but contempt for his clientele, but has no qualms about screwing any one of the female member’s of said group on the regular… and honestly, with few exceptions they are a rather vapid bunch indeed. At least Girardot (who is excellent in this pic by the by) as our heroine is likable and spunky (and vulnerable to boot)…

As for extra features to accompany Shock Treatment’s Blu-ray release from Severin; we get interviews with Bernard Payen (the Curator at The Cinémathèque Française, who discusses Jessua’s career), composer René Koering (who’s offbeat score adds immeasurably to the bizarre aesthetic of the film), and Jessua himself.

Also included are a brief scene specific commentary from Koering discussing his score, and the film’s trailer.

Bottom line; Shock Treatment is a great slow burn thriller that can be viewed as a vampire tale at it’s core (with it’s depraved aristocracy seeking eternal youth and all)… plus it’s got some great acting and scenery to sweeten the putrid pot!



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