“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” really should be enjoyed with a bandwagon of friends, so I suggest a potluck dinner party. As a long-running cult classic, this movie is often enjoyed by midnight showings across the country with live performances, audience involvement and throwing popcorn.
If you are not able to attend one of these screenings, I advise doing one yourself. Get friends, dress up, print out the lyrics to the songs, and sing-a-long!
LGTBQ Film Series #15:
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) directed by Jim Sharman, is a musical comedy horror film that is based on the 1973 musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show, with music, book, and lyrics by Richard O’Brien (who also wrote the screenplay and acted in the film version). The piece was designed as a parody tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930’s through to the early 1960’s (like 1948’s “Raw Deal” or 1947’s “The Devil Thumbs a Ride”), which included plenty of unintentional humor, dramatic, apocalyptic dialogue, Steve Reeves muscle movies (see: 1959’s “The Last Days of Pompeii” & “Hercules Unchained”), and the rock n’ roll culture that were popularized in the 1950’s. It is incredibly fun, stunning and bizarre.
The story is narrated by professorial criminologist, played by Charles Gray, who adds a theatrical flare to the telling of the tale from his dim library and leather chair. He begins at a wedding, where we meet a young doe-eyed couple Janet “Dammit Janet!” Weiss and Brad Majors (Susan Sarandan & Barry Bostwick) who decide to get engaged themselves before getting a flat tire on the way home. Amidst the rain and the uproarious lightning, there sits an illustrious mansion where they decide to try to seek refuge. Little do they know that beyond the front door, they will be immersed in a black hole of glamorous mad scientist sexually liberated dancing outcasts who will disrupt their morality, their relationship and their lives forever.
It is the Annual Transylvanian Convention, led by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania,” who is played flawlessly by Tim Curry in his most beloved role (besides potentially the Hotel Manager in “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”…). The creator of the production, Richard O’Brien, plays Riff Raff, Patricia Quinn is Magenta, and Peter Hinwood is the creation, Rocky Horror. They are surrounded by other colorful characters and performers that pop in and out of scenes throughout the labyrinth abode.
One of the most underrated elements of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the polished and savvy shots that elevate every goofy scene into something memorable. You could garner snapshots of almost any second of the film and hang it on the wall as a piece of artwork, a mix of pastels with gothic pleather, ancient Grecian sculptures next to newfangled technology. Each image was curated skillfully to make the converging styles complement one another.
Directed by Jim Sharman with cinematography by Peter Suschitzky, production design by Brian Thomson and costume design by Sue Blane, there isn’t an element of this film that has not been immediately immortalized. Its’ legacy is that it will live on for decades to come as being one of the most fun, visually sharp, sexually energetic and boundary pushing films of its time that still feels relevant and exciting today. It also works as an ultimate Halloween classic.