Tag Archives: Richard O’Brien

Beauty in the Movies: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

At age 10 a became obsessed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I was a strange kid what can I say?), I didn’t understand most of the dirty parts in the film even though I knew they were dirty somehow, but I loved the music, the costumes, and the craziness of the whole thing. So, Rocky Horror holds a special place in my heart forever, and a special place in my DVD player every Halloween.

If I had understood this movie better I might have had reservations about sharing it with the sweet, normal sisters who lived next-door to me, but I think they ended up loving it too (though I’m sure their parents wouldn’t have been too happy about them watching it). When I heard that Glee was doing a Rocky Horror episode I was darn excited and I thought it would be a perfect time to feature it. So what if it just squeaks by the Bedchdel test? A pass is a pass in my book!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the story of Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon), a wholesome, newly engaged couple on their way to visit their old teacher, Dr. Scott (Jonathan Adams), but they get caught with a flat on a dark and stormy night and end up having to knock on the nearest door (which happens to be a giant gothic castle) for assistance. They are invited into the castle by the butler Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien, who is also the author and creator of the show) and his sister/lover Magenta (Patricia Quinn). They soon learn they are in the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) and find themselves caught up in a celebration for the unveiling of his new monster (and boy toy)—Rocky (Peter Hinwood). This all leads the unknowing pair into a night of debauchery, insanity, and murder, culminating in a swimming pool orgy.

Obviously Tim Curry plays the role of Frank-N-Furter with astonishing ease, it seems he was born to play this role. Between this movie and Legend, he was pretty much my favorite actor. Both Sarandon and Bostwick are perfectly corruptible and enjoyable, plus you will be amazed by Bostwick’s high kicks in heels. There are a lot of other great performances in there too, like Meatloaf as the literally “half-brained” ex-delivery boy Eddie, and Nell Campbell as the adorable tap-dancing groupie Columbia.

Rocky Horror is a send-up of classic B horror and Sci-fi movies, the opening song references the films it parodies; The Day The Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Doctor X, and others. It pokes fun at the seriousness and the campiness of those films and in doing so became one of the biggest cult movies of all time. It has the longest release of any film, it has never been pulled from theaters by Fox, and after 35 years there are still tons of midnight showings. Funny story—in college I convinced my friend to go to a midnight show at the Waverly in Manhattan because I had never been, we got all dressed up in our Rocky Horror costumes and then it started raining, and then we took the wrong train and people were shouting things at us, and we were scared and wearing uncomfortable shoes, and ended up going back home—we were such crazy wild college kids! Unfortunately I’ve still never been to a midnight showing.

Recently, knowing my love of Rocky Horror my fiancé got me the sequel, Shock Treatment, which I had never seen. It was an odd film to say the least, and not in a good way. It’s also far less coherent than Rocky Horror, but if you’re a fan it’s worth watching just to see some of the same actors in new roles, but the leads just aren’t as interesting and there is no Tim Curry to carry it for them, such a shame.

If you haven’t seen Rocky Horror this is the perfect time to check it out, it’s almost Halloween, and you only have a couple of weeks before the Glee episode, and you’ll want to understand why your favorite teens are running around in fishnets and bustiers (thought somehow I have a feeling this episode is going to be extra sanitized compared to the original). Not a Glee fan? Give it a try anyways. If you are a fan you might want to know that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the film, so they’re putting out a fancy blu-ray edition with all sorts of extras on October 19th—and let me know if you want to check out a midnight showing!

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