Based upon the 1973 play, it was released in 1975, and failed.

Then on April 1st, 1976, it was played at the Waverly theatre at midnight. It was a success, and rapidly developed a large following. The regulars started dressing up as characters from the movie and even started yelling things back at the screen. This escalated to the audience participation we have today.

Many now-famous people were in the cast.

Shock Treatment, the non-sequel came out in 1983.

What exactly is the message of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You would think that it supports living the craziest lifestyle you can by swimming "the warm waters of sins of the flesh". Here are some random thoughts:

Ok, the case against conservatism is easy. Brad and Janet, the perfect goody two shoes couple, get seduced and fall from grace at the hands of Frank. They survive the ordeal but it's obvious they've been changed forever ("I've tasted blood and I want more").

Now, what about Frank? He's obviously on the other end of the scale. But isn't this his tragic flaw? Besides getting killed, he's not all there. His true feelings are shown when he sings I'm Going Home. The crowd that he wants acceptance and adoration from is not made up of Transylvanians, but conservative old people! Another interesting thing is that Frank admits the goal of all this excess is to "Rose tint my world, keep me safe from my trouble and pain." It's hard to believe that the point of the movie is that we should follow Frank's advice to not "dream it, be it".

And then there's Riff Raff and Magenta. By far these two are triumphant at the end. But Riff Raff has just murdered several people (why Columbia??), and seems just as decadent as Frank when we hear of his plans with Magenta. We can't consider these two to be the middle ground between the two extremes, can we?

Alas, at the end, I'm still confused as to what to believe. Is there anyone out there who can clear this up?

Campy musical-comedy-horror cult classic, released in 1975. Directed by Jim Sharman, based on the play written by Richard O'Brien, with lots of cool songs, also by O'Brien. Starred Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter, Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors, Little Nell Campbell as Columbia, Patricia Quinn as Magenta, O'Brien as Riff Raff, Meat Loaf as Eddie, Peter Hinwood as Rocky, Jonathan Adams as Dr. Scott, and Charles Gray as the Criminologist.

The plot involves Brad and Janet who are unexpectedly stranded at -- oh, fuck the plot. It's not that bad, but nobody gives a damn about the plot. The entire point of this movie is to go to a decent midnight show, dress up like the characters, auction off the Rocky Horror Virgins, squirt water guns, throw toast, wear newspaper over your head, dance the "Time Warp" in the aisle, sing "Sweet Transvestite", and shiver with antici


pation. The film itself is not the point. The point is getting out of the house, enjoying the spectacle, dressing up in fishnets, and hanging with a bunch of similarly whacked-out loons who don't really care if you're gay, straight, or a Salvadoran donkey-fancier. You can watch the movie, if you really want to, but you'll miss out on the show if you do.

I don't believe the movie sucked at all. It's supposed to be a - all together now, people - a parody. The whole idea of the film is that it's taking the piss out of the genre of 1950s B-movies... as is made perfectly clear in the opening song, Science Fiction.

Casting Charles Gray as the Criminologist, or Narrator, or whatever you want to call him, was an absolute masterstroke. Especially the bit where they give him an off-the-cuff line in the Time Warp... "(pulls down flipchart showing dance steps and recites in matter-of-fact tone)... it's just a jump to the left". I love it.

I've seen Rocky performed live many more times than I've seen the film. I've seen it done by close personal friends and complete strangers, on stages large and small, performed incredibly well or abysmally badly. Each new performance, though, has brought something new to the Rocky Horror legend.

And I'm sorry, people: it is a legend. I proudly claim to be one of the people who know every word to The Rocky Horror Show. Go on, quiz me. Just don't tell my boss.

An interesting point of speculation for those who cherish the story, as opposed to the spectacle: Dr. Scott (VON Scott), is a near facematch for none other than the mad scientist Josef Mengele, as well as a near-match for G. Gordon Liddy. (See also the numerical tattoo on Frank's leg, and the red/pink triangle on his surgical gown.) Mengele was, at the time (mid-70's), the subject of an extensive manhunt, since he was rumored to be alive and perhaps, thriving. G. Gordon Liddy, of course, is an interesting allusion since he was involved on the raid at Millbrook School, where Timothy Leary was reputedly doing things almost as outrageous as Dr. Furter, and whose specialty was the kind of personality change that you see occurring in the course of the film.

One of the more interesting gestures is that to signify intimacy, Riff and Magenta touch fingertips all the way to wrists. This, since it's been determined that heroin is part of the picture, that they share blood.

Post-AIDS, this is very interesting...

Another speculation is that this whole evening was intended to be in some ways, a show or artifice staged for Brad and Janet: traveling from their engagement as innocents (in various ways) they must be shown the truth about each other and about the world to marry as adults. I particularly like this idea, since it suggests that somewhere else, Dr. Furter and his crew are out there on their mysterious errands, enlightening someone else...

I don't claim any "official" status for any of this, merely post-hippie speculations from the New Haven Crew of 1978....

In 1975, the Rocky Horror Picture Show burst out onto the silver screen. A musical that flopped, but went to cult status.

The plot is sorta simple. Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, two regular American young kids from Denton on a night out, get engaged. They drive over to tell their good friend and teacher, but on the way their car breaks down. They walk through the rain to a nearby castle a few miles up the road, where they are invited into a creepy mansion. Inside is a mysterious doctor transvestite with wacky helpers. This poor ordinary couple gets drawn into a tale of jealousy and sex. Meanwhile, all this is narrated by a narrator, a dull man who looks like he has no neck. There's singing, dancing, and insanity. Just an awesome flick.

I don't want to give away the plot, but...ah, screw it. Skip this paragraph if you have no intention of seeing the movie. They come upon a Dr. Frank-n-Furter, a transvestite alien who came to this planet for unknown reasons. We guess it's for the sex, and the fact that he's making a frankenstein-like creature so he can have sex with it. He has two servants, Riff-Raff and Magenta, as well as his old girlfriend Columbia. Frozen in his lab is his old lover Eddie, whose missing half a brain, used to make the monster. After wooing both Brad and Janet and the monster, Frank-n-furter forces them all to take part in a floor show. In the end, his servants take control of the mission, kill the doctor, and beam the whole castle back to their planet in the galaxy of Transylvania.

The entire musical was written by Richard O'Brien, who also played Riff-Raff in the movie, as well as sang the opening song Science Fiction Double Feature. What makes it so great is that it parodies all the old Black and White sci-fi movies. It's campy but funny. The music is funny and catchy. Meatloaf is in it, how can it be bad?

When it was released, it was a box office flop. Ticket sales were dismal. There was a minority who thought it amazing, and just a great story, but the rest of the world just wasn't ready for it. It was given an R rating, which could easily get PG-13 by today's standards. Aside from the exotic outfits, men wearing heels and fishnet stockings, there is only one curse word. Any aficionado will be able to quote the movie, and where it appears.

Anyway, one day a kindergarden teacher from Staten Island did the unthinkable, he started yelling stuff at the characters on the screen. While in most other movies it's frowned upon, this movie sorta deserved it. Plus it was funny. He started showing up every week, and eventually other people in the audience joined in. Before long, there was an entire room with audience participation. As the cult started, people dressed as the characters and began performing it as the film rolled. Rice would be thrown during the weddding scene, water pistols would be squirted over people with newspapers over their head (during the scene where Brad and Janet walk through the rain), toast during the Dinnertime toast. Everyone, and I mean Everyone dances the Time Warp in the aisles. The rest is history.

Sal Piro, president of the RHPS Fan club, has set the Guinness World Record for most times seeing the same film in theaters.

For the past 25 years, it's been going strong. Usually a theater would have it as a midnight show on Friday or Saturday night. Today, it's still playing in over 100 theaters. Through the years, it's been really good for business, many theaters would have closed down when the times got hard, but the midnight show sold out in many places and kept theaters going.

Here's a list of the songs in the movie:
Science Fiction Double Feature
Dammit Janet
Over at the Frankenstein Place
Time Warp
Sweet Transvestite
Sword of Damocles
I Can Make you a Man
Hot Patootie
I Can Make you a Man (Reprise)
Planet Schmanet
Rose Tint My World
I'm Going Home
Super Heroes (only in the UK and DVD version)
Science Fiction Double Feature (Reprise)

The Broadway musical version has Super Heroes as well as Once in a While, which never made it into the film.

Years later, the makers tried to release a sorta-sequel called Shock Treatment that never really caught on with the RHPS fans. Also, it came out as a Broadway play Rocky Horror Live! in Times Square that ran for over 2 years. It eventually closed, as tickets were pricey, and the same people kept going over and over. Very good, the songs were made with a little more rock. You can get the newer sounds on CD by the New Broadway cast, or look around Audiogalaxy for one or two tracks. There are also mp3s of the Time Warp in Spanish, which sound very cool.

Here's the DVD Review:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
In theaters 1975, released on DVD by Fox in 2000 for the 25th Anniversary. Directed by Jim Sharman "Don't Squeeze the Charmin!"
100 minutes (I think). Rated R (but PG-13 by today's standards. See above)
Special Features: It's a 2-disc set.

Disc 1 has the movie(Widescreen), Commentary by Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn, aka Riff-Raff and Magenta, Participation prompter subtitle track (like "Throw the rice!"), a special Audience Participation sound track (rocks! you can hear every line shouted), Special "lips" where at certain parts of the movie you can see clips of people in a theater re-enacting the scene during the special 25th anniversary. A cool Easter Egg where you can see the beginning in black and white, like The Wizard of Oz (The closest thing to a director's cut). US and UK versions of the movie.

Disc 2 has interviews with the cast, karaoke versions of Sweet Transvestite and Toucha-toucha-touch-me. VH1 interviews of the cast, and a tour of the renovated castle today. A documentary of the whole cult/movie. Trailers, and a VH! Pop-up Video of Hot Patootie.

DVD-ROM on Disc 1. A Trivia game and some lame Mad Libs, with a Cast bio.

Worth the money? YES YES YES. For many reasons. First, the movie itself is great. Besides that, the special features rock. Excellent picture quality and Dolby 5.1 sound. The extra features are great, and you can really get a sense of why the theater experience must be so great. The Audience participation track is too funny to be missed with all the call-outs, though I don't know if it compares to the real thing.

The first time I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show was sometime in early 1977, in Palo Alto, California. See, at that time I was this green, sort of innocent 19-year-old kid from Kentucky. I’d only been living in the Bay Area for some two years, and there were still a lot of things I didn’t know much about. Hell, there were a lot of things about me that I didn’t know much about. I’d only been out of the Commonwealth a few times, and my worldview was admittedly quite limited.

So, some of my friends decided it was time my horizons should be expanded just a bit, and maybe knock a little of the hick off me. They said I’d like this Rocky Horror movie. One even said it’d be good for me and I’d no longer be a virgin, but that comment went sailing right by me, as did many things at the time.

We arrived at the theatre early in the evening – a smallish, art-house type theatre, bought the tickets, and settled into our seats. I don’t know what I was expecting. I was probably hoping the picture would be interesting or funny or scary, and not make me wish I’d spent the evening staring at the wall instead. The lights dimmed, the movie started, and the first thing I saw was a big pair of lips on the screen. Then I heard the song "Science Fiction Double Feature" for the first time. Now, mind you, this was in the far-off days before the whole RH subculture existed. There was no throwing of toast or toilet paper, responses from the audience, or oddly dressed people cavorting on the stage.

I began to get interested in the film, trying to figure out what the hell was going on in it. Perhaps, I thought, this movie is like Fellini’s Satyricon; one of those movies where you shouldn’t try to figure out the plot, you just unhinge your mind and enjoy the experience. So far so good, it sort of reminds me of those old 50s space melodramas. Maybe it’s a musical, people keep breaking into song at the oddest moments.

Then the movie gets to the scene in the laboratory where something’s coming down an elevator. The elevator door swings open ... and out of it comes what appears to be a guy dressed like I’ve never seen a guy dress. "How’d ya do I ... see you’ve met my ... faithful handy-mannnn." Dr. Frank-N-Furter in all his gender-bending glory.

Well. We didn’t have anything like that back where I came from. No sirree, bob. The friends said later my eyes bugged out, my jaw dropped, and that I spent most of the rest of the movie with a look on my face that was somewhere between shock and fascination . Rocky Horror seems to have that effect on some first-timers, especially ones that grew up in the South and hadn’t even had sex yet.

Maybe it’s a bit much to say it was a life-changing experience, but the movie did make quite an impression on me. I went back to that theatre 22 more times. I bought the soundtrack, the posters, the lobby cards, anything Rocky Horror-related I could find. I even went to a party dressed as Frank-N-Furter in full regalia (and that’s a photo that will forever remain buried!).

But I do remember thinking, shortly after Frank began strutting about on the screen, oooo ... where do I find a guy like that?

Well, I was young at the time ...

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