The mid-sized Midwestern town I live in has been hosting a Rocky Horror show at the downtown theater every year (except this year, obviously) for over a decade The cast has a few longtime regulars. date and a few people playing it if they have enough time in September and October for rehearsals and the show: new cast members are marked with a scarlet « V » to join the local freak (like my fiancée l did the year she took the stage) Last time I was there two little old ladies in the back row were among the most enthusiastic guests The audience heckles the line of characters for the whole line show
The musical – with a story that lives at the top where gay panic and high flirtation camp meet with sci-fi and horror B movies and mid-20th century music – seems to be It’s become a pretty sure thing It’s a « bad » movie that knows exactly what it’s doing It’s self-confessing and proudly ridiculous It’s one of the highest grossing movies of all time At 45, when the country seems stuck in the same grueling arguments about what sex is allowed, what gender is recognized, which families are desirable and which of them are unnatural, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the unfettered sensibility it celebrates are now basically considered common fun and a touchstone for Halloween in many communities
Two unbearable youngsters, Brad Majors – A Hero (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss – A Heroine (Susan Sarandon), decide to promise each other on the same day as another of their friends is married As they head out into the country to try and inform the old professor that they have in common, a rainstorm and a flat tire strand them in a twisted mansion inhabited by strange characters It’s clear right away that Brad and Janet fell into a bad crowd, but it’s worse than they thought: aliens (from the Transexual planet in the Transylvanian galaxy)!
Their lead is the evil, deranged and deviant Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry in the role his entire prolific and eclectic career has never managed to eclipse, and not for want of trying) Frank- N-Furter is a mad scientist whose sole purpose is, as he puts it, « absolute pleasure » To that end, he kidnapped the same professor Brad and Janet were trying to track down, Dr. Scott (Jonathan Adams), and tries to create the perfect companion: Rocky
Brad and Janet find themselves trapped in Frank-N-Furter’s debauchery, which only ends when his fellow Transylvanian comrades decide he’s gone too far and put a tragic end to the creator and the creation As for Brad, Janet, Dr Scott and their buttoned-up All-American lifestyle, they’ve changed forever
Of course, the plot of this film, adapted from a British stage show called The Rocky Horror Show, isn’t really the reason.It’s the madness, the transgression, the camp, that brings back the folks year after year at the midnight show after the midnight show Curry’s Frank-N-Furter is an absolute menace, flaunting his physicality and sexuality with contagious confidence The facial expressions Curry shoots out – the cheerful meanness that he clears – enough to make you chuckle at random when you remember it the next day Combine the manic weirdness of Curry and the other Transylvanians with the pounding performances of Bostwick, Sarandon and Adams and the exaggerated storytelling provided by Charles Gray’s criminologist, and there just isn’t an easy way to explain the kind of experience you get with this movie Even 45 years later, it looks like the quirky creation of an unconsciously serious author
Between the snap soundtrack and lines so old-fashioned that they cling to your cortex after just a few views, this is one of the most-cited and hummable musicals, coming out for about a decade. after the bubble burst for the movie musicals
It’s hard to imagine the cult that grew around him occurring at another time in history The tradition of heckling performers (whether you are attending a live theater or an indoor screening) ), and the whole script by heart, are their own sociological quirk The first ruckus goes to schoolteacher Louis Farese Jr and two friends who attended a show with him, when he shouted « Buy an umbrella, you cheap bitch! » to Janet – a line people shout decades later
Other midnight movies try to tap into that chaotic energy, and none of them ever really do. When you go to see Rocky Horror at a midnight screening, you don’t see a movie so much as to participate in the specific ritual of seeing Rocky Horror during a screening at midnight
For many, however, all of this – even the animated cult that follows – is secondary to the fact that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was some assurance that Nixon’s oppressive US righteousness wasn’t the only way to go. ‘To be Even before hypermasculine ridicule locked us inside at the mercy of an unfolding deadly plague, a lot of recent films I’ve seen seem to focus on how the genre has become a prison for young boys and unmoored men
As Brad and Janet drive in the rain, the scandal-ridden president of the day – the epitome of ruthless Conservative values that harangue, shame and disenfranchise non-cickets even today – s’ addressing the nation as he prepares to step down (The film aired just a year after he did) This is a terribly silly way of signaling that the film is going to grab the repression it represents, throw it away. window and laughing at his cock as it descended to the ground The Rocky Horror Picture Show lit up the night and drew in many people who felt like they had nowhere to go
And yet, as bizarrely specific as when it was first released, it’s hard to argue that it has become fully mainstream. Here is Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren making an appearance in Jack Black’s recent interpretation of » Time Warp ”, as recent data point:
A lot of our fall and vacation traditions in the US aren’t as old as we assume – the tips and tricks only date back to the 1930s, for example.But even in light of that, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its cult following is indeed very young (and muscular and blonde), and yet already its celebration of breaking away from stifling standards has become an inextricable part of the season.
Kenneth Lowe will find you a Satanic Mechanic You can follow him on Twitter and read more on his blog
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry
World News – CA – Autumn Classics: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
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