With the 40th Anniversary coming up, let’s take a moment to hail the cult classic. It defined a generation and should define a new one.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show has had a hard road to success. It began as a play in London, and received good reviews thanks to the portrayal of Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter, and the unique themes and plot. But when the movie was released in theaters, it was a box office bomb. No one originally ran out to see it, and it seemed like the film would end up being forgotten. Thankfully a 20th Century Fox executive suggested showing it at midnight screenings, and the rest is history. In New York, people began dressing up as the characters, singing the songs, and acting the movie out on stage. The audience started to add their own callbacks to the lines in the film, and this helped the film grow in popularity. People would line up for hours to see the movie, and helped cement it as a cult classic. On Halloween in many cities they still show the film. If you have a chance to see it, do it right now! It is a amazing film to see on Halloween, but it is definitely not for kids.
The basic plot is that a criminologist tells the story of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, two newlyweds who decide to go for a country drive one night. On the way, they get flat tire in a storm, in the middle of nowhere. They remember seeing a house a few miles back, and decide to walk over there so they can use the telephone. When they enter, they find out it is not what it seems. They run into a number of odd characters, and even an Brad’s former teacher. As the criminologist says “It was a night out that they would remember for a long time.” They meet Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who takes them on a wild ride full of sex, debauchery and murder. When the night is over, they will never be the same. He is working on a creation, and it is something he is very proud of. What is this creation? Why did he make it? And where did he really come from?
When I first heard of this film, I was curious about it. But as a boy and teenager my parents refused to tell me anything. They had seen it a few times. I learned about it later, and actually had the chance to see it in theaters a few times. When I finally saw it, it was thanks to Comedy Central. I was not sure what I had just seen, but I fell in love with the songs right away. With songs like Wild and Untamed Thing, Don’t Dream it Be It, Dammit Janet, Hot Patootie Bless My Soul, Over at the Frankenstein Place, and The Time Warp, it is no wonder people love it.
One day I discovered it was playing in a theater on Saturday night at midnight in Sacramento, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see it as that original executive intended. This was one of the best nights of my life. Seeing the film with a shadow cast, with these people who loved the film as much as I did, was a joy and a revelation to me. I wasn’t alone, and it was wonderful to know there was a place I could go to see the movie as it was meant to be seen. I only saw it three times, and found out years later that the theater it played in was torn down. I even had the chance to see a Halloween show once, which was a real treat. Other people were in costume besides just the shadow cast, and more people knew the call lines and what props to use and when. The cast had props, were in spot on costumes for the showing, and it was apparent they had a blast acting it out. The only unusual thing was that a woman played Frank-N-Furter and Rocky, but it turns out this is pretty common.
A few years later I got to see The Rocky Horror Show on stage, which was an honor and a privilege for me. There were amazing sets, a wonderful cast and a chorus who made sure to do their best to psyche people up before the show and prepare them for what they were about to see. It took me back to the days when I saw this movie in a theater with a shadow cast, and the call backs were there as well as a few new ones. The narrator was a different person each showing, and the cast excelled in their performance. It was a bit different from the film, but it is still one of the best plays I have ever seen.
The messages behind the songs is what I really enjoy. Don’t Dream it, Be It is something any man can relate to. If you want to achieve your dream job, or live some amazing life, this song tells you just do it. It says a lot, but without many words. Don’t let anything get in the way of being the man you have always wanted to be. This can relate to anybody, and is a song that always warms my heart and helps push me on when life gets tough.
This is not only my favorite film, but it is a movie that has reached millions of fans. It was a movie that spoke to all the “odd people,”the social outcasts who don’t fit with society’s picture. In this world, no one was better than anyone else and everyone fit in. This is why the film is a cult classic, and why the film continues to be watched by new generations of moviegoers.
Sadly, over the years this film has started to lose some steam. This happened for a number of reasons. The movie was released on VHS, so people didn’t have to see it in a theater anymore. This was a real shame, because it meant a lot of people stopped going to the midnight showings. A few years later other films came out like Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which started to grow its own cult following. Theaters got removed Rocky Horror and started playing this instead, which is a terrible shame. Many people also just started to get too old to act out the characters anymore, and the new generation was not being introduced to this film the way their parents were. That meant the tradition was not living on. Nowadays, less and less cities and towns have this playing every week, although sometimes it will play on Halloween.
There are a number of films now that follow in the footsteps of this movie, like Repo: The Genetic Opera and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. They have people dressed in costume and acting out the scenes, but not as often as Rocky Horror did. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has grossed over $139 million in its long run, and that is in North America alone. Nowadays you have the chance to stay in London where the film was shot, the castle is now a hotel. This is a must for all Rocky Horror fans, for how often do fans get such an opportunity?
If you are looking for a film to watch on Halloween, this is something you have to check out. If you are looking for something to do on Halloween, go online and find a place to see this movie in a theater. If you want to have a real memorable experience, dress up for the occasion and be sure to be prepared with all the props and call lines. Go see this movie, and revive the tradition with your friends.
Now let’s do the time warp again!!!!!!