Please take a minute to compose yourself for what you are about to experience is like no other. Now that you are settled, if this is your first time indulging in the midnight cult sensation that is Rocky Horror Picture Show, there are a few things you must know, and antici (“say it!”) pate. This movie has no real point, except be yourself, express your sexuality and just have fun.
First, you will need your props : red lipstick (keep this out, as we will use it in a moment) – rice (to be thrown at the wedding) – water pistols (back row squirts the front rows during rain scene) – newspapers (for front and middle rows to shield themselves from rain) – flashlights, cell phone or cigarette lighters (“There’s a Light” verse of “Over at Frankenstein Place”) – rubber gloves (during and after the creation speech, Frank snaps his gloves three times) – noisemakers (the Transylvanians applaud Frank’s creation – so should you) – toilet paper (preferably “Scott’s” brand [when Brad yells “Great Scott!”, throw a roll] ) – confetti (at the end of the “Charles Atlas” reprise, the Transylvanians throw confetti) – toast (when Frank proposes a toast at dinner) – party hat (when Frank puts on his hat to wish Rocky happy birthday, so does the audience) – bell (“When we made it/did you hear a bell ring?”) –a deck of cards (“Cards for sorrow/cards for pain”). Some props we will not discuss; however, they are important to know if you are a participant. Now, we are ready to dive into what Rocky is, but first things first. Since you have not experienced Rocky before, please grab your tube of red lipstick and mark a ‘V’ on your forehead, so we can tell who the Virgins are.
Now that we have our props, we need to learn the history of the movie before we get to the fun part. Rocky Horror Picture Show was not always as popular as it became when it hit the midnight showings. First written as a play in London, some of the original cast stayed intact for the movie. Tim Curry played Dr. Frank N Futer in the play, movie and then later, for a short time, on Broadway as well. The producer, Lou Adler, best known for his Cheech & Chong series, stayed with RHPS from play to feature film as well. The film, shot from 10/27/1974-12/19/1974, took less than two months to tape, which is a rarity in the present. Rocky’s birth scene was filmed on the 82nd anniversary of Charles Atlas’ birthday, which was 10/30/1974.
In 1975, RHPS was released in eight cities and failed in seven. In 1977, it was decided to re-release RHPS as a midnight movie, which was becoming popular at that time. The popularity of the midnight movie and RHPS exploded. These midnight movies were a way to escape the realities of life. Most patrons were the outcasts of society, and this was a way to come together without the beautiful people harassing them.
Still in limited showing, 35 years after its premiere, it is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. At Noon on October 31st, 2009, 1570 RHPS fans pelvic-thrusted their way into The Guinness Book of World Records by performing The Time Warp, smashing the unofficial record of 1050. The Drew Carey Show and Glee have made their own versions of this classic to introduce this culture to new generations, along with recreating the dance The Time Warp and the song Sweet Transvestite.
Although my father would like to think that audience partitci (“say it”) pation started because he was attending this horror flick parody, that is incorrect; however, this is now something we come to now know RHPS for; it is unknown when or how it started. Part of this midnight rite of passage is when viewing this film on screen it is encouraged that you become any character you want to be, from the most risqué Dr. Frank N Futer, to the most conservative Janet Weiss.
Janet Weiss (“slut”) is played by Susan Sarandon, which most thought would murder her career in Hollywood. Janet is a conservative dressing, dreamy romantic who just witnessed her friends marriage and becomes engaged herself. Janet comes off early in the film as an airhead and needy; the perception is easily changed to the conservative virgin when she is misled into sleeping with the mansion owner Dr. Frank N Futer, to her becoming hungry for sex, which poses the question: has she always been a good girl, or a whore? There are several conflicts that emerge with her new fiancé as the movie moves along.
Brad Majors (“Asshole”) is played by Barry Bostwick, and is Janet’s fiancé. Brad is the ideal all-American man. He is a very preppy dressing, strong spoken, man’s man. Brad is seduced quite easily by Dr. Frank N Futer, which is important as you will question Brad’s sexuality throughout the rest of the movie. Could this be why Brad is up-tight about everything all the time. Is he really gay?
Dr. Frank N Futer is played by Tim Curry. He is a transsexual-transvestite-mad scientist from the planet Transylvania, in the galaxy Transsexual. He wears thick pearls, a black corset top, black satin Speedo-like underwear, black fishnet stockings, and black glittery platform high heels, and his makeup and hair are the most dark and mysterious. He is the leader of the Transylvanian inhabitants of his mansion. As his costume suggests, he is open with his sexuality. He cares only about himself and his pleasure, thus creating destructive habits in the two naive young guests, murdering the ex-delivery boy, Eddie, who lives in the freezer and subjecting his guests to cannibalism without a second thought.
The town is Denton, Ohio and for “these being normal kids on a night out” what could go wrong? While driving along in the pouring rain Brad and Janet’s tire pops; they do not have an adequate spare. Brad and Janet choose to walk to the castle they saw on their drive (grab newspaper, place on your head, and start firing squirt guns; as in all musicals, cue song “Over at Frankenstein Place” and sway Bic lighter in the air.) Brad and Janet ask to use the phone (“Castles don’t have phones, Asshole”) and are offered hospitality and a place to stay instead.
While they are escorted to the celebration at hand, Brad and Janet are stripped of their clothing and made part of the party. Frank creates his creature (cue rubber gloves, and noisemakers); Rocky makes a scene and is scolded. Janet starts showing her flirty side, as she sees the creature. All hell breaks loose as Eddie, the ex-delivery boy, played by the singer Meatloaf, bursts from the freezer where he was locked. Frank kills Eddie and you see Frank starting to unravel into the downward spiral, which is ultimately his demise.
As the night moves along, they feast on Eddie’s remains and celebrate Rocky’s birthday (cue party hats). The backward couple is shown to two separate rooms where both are easily deflowered by Frank. Janet, distraught, leaves her room and finds Brad is with Frank, by way of the futuristic surveillance television. She finds Rocky who, being tormented by Frank’s house help, needs bandaging and they engage in an erotic musical number. They are later discovered by Brad and Frank when Dr. Scott arrives at the mansion. Dr. Scott has come to find his nephew Eddie, the ex-delivery boy, but at dinner it becomes apparent that Eddie is dead… and the main course.
Frank becomes furious, first with Janet and Rocky, then at Brad, Janet and Dr. Scott, thinking they are conspiring against him to prove he is an alien and have come to his house not with a flat tire but used that as a ruse (“Assholes never lie”) to be offered hospitality. Frank freezes Dr. Scott, Rocky, Brad, Janet and another house helper into naked stone statues, instead of listening to their explanation. While they are stone, he sets up a theatrical stage and unfreezes them to become puppets in his own Broadway musical.
All are wearing fishnet stocking, satin underwear, corsets and feather boas. When each member of the cast is unfrozen they are at their lustiest; yet, is it the costume, the atmosphere or are they on some type of drug? As Frank wills his drugged puppets from the stage into an in-ground pool, the cast and Frank start swimming and crawling onto each other. As the orgy ends, the thrilled cast goes back on stage and continues their performance with Frank as a participant. This song and dance is cut short, however.
The house help, Riffraff and Magenta, are disgusted with how they have been treated, and want to return home to their planet. Frank chooses to explain himself and he breaks into a melodramatic song (cue “ I’m Coming Home”), which has no effect on Riffraff and Magenta. They use a ‘ray gun’ to kill Frank. Rocky, furious, becomes ‘the creature’ again and carries Frank, like King Kong carries Fay Wray up one of the props and is continually shot with the ray gun until he is dead and they fall into the water. The guests are advised to leave the house before it is transported back to Transylvania. Watching as the house flies away, Brad and Janet are once again in an embrace and have come full circle.
Words to the wise, if you are ever in Denton, Ohio on a “normal night out” make sure you have a spare tire that is fully inflated, because “Castles don’t have phones, Asshole.”
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