Alain Jessua’s Shock Treatment (1973)

February 17, 2021 | By

As the pandemic continues to delay major Hollywood theatrical releases and their normal progression to home video, indie labels have the edge in offering film fans deep catalogue and premiere releases of eclectic titles, not to mention sexy boxed sets devoted to genres, franchises, and eccentric filmmakers.

Featured this week is Severin’s necessary special edition of Shock Treatment – no, not the 1964 Roddy McDowall shocker (featuring an excellent early horror score by Jerry Goldsmith), nor the 1981 follow-up to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but the 1973 Alain Delon-Annie Girardot thriller where a chi-chi health clinic offers patients more than sunshine, seawater, and seaweed.



It’s also one of many films I know of due to the soundtrack album rather than its notoriety, cast, or any teasing clips. Decades ago, Italy’s CAM label released a slew of subscription-based CDs in a massive encyclopedia-themed series, and René Koering’s eccentric score was one of them.

The series remastered several classic albums in Dolby surround, but rarely offered any new cues, and the liner notes were sometimes a little murky for unfamiliars like myself. Moreover, Shock Treatment / Traitement de choc (1973) was also a peppy Bossa Nova score which made it tough to match up with a thriller scenario.

Severin’s Blu-ray sports a lovely transfer and a great interview with the composer, whose own filmography is very compact, and in the review I also make note of the superb editing in Shock Treatment, which features one of the most seamless application of jump cuts I’ve ever seen. Jessua’s background lies in the French New Wave, and if this film is a sampling of his narrative style, I hope Severin’s already working on some of his other works, most of which were edited by the brilliant Hélène Plemiannikov.

Coming next: the nutty Laserblast (1978), available on DVD and Blu from Full Moon Features.

Thanks for reading,



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Comments are closed.