Movie: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Release Date: August 15, 1975
Director: Jim Sharman
Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick.
Tag Lines: “Action-packed… lotsa laughs & sex… gorgeous gals… thrills & chills… Transylvanian parties… romance.”
“A Different Set Of Jaws.”
“Another Kind Of Rocky.”
“He’s the hero — that’s right, the hero!!”
“Give yourself over to absolute pleasure.”
“Don’t Dream it, Be It!”
Relevance: Saying that I was a weird child would be an understatement. I was shy, quiet, a momma’s boy and spent most of my time alone in my room (and my head). My favorite thing to do was play “make believe,” especially with my Star Wars figures. I had quite the imagination, but always made sure I stifled any creativity outside of my bedroom. I was always afraid I would be bullied or made fun of, not necessarily by my family, as they were mostly supportive, but by everyone else. So I kept most of my thoughts, ideas and “play time fun” to myself. I also loved watching television, movies and listening to music, so I did normal things too. I just never felt normal.
I don’t recall when I first saw ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ but I know that I was a kid and that I had no idea what I was watching. It was probably late 1970’s or early 1980’s when I first heard “The Time Warp” for the very first time. I also remember that it was on a regular channel as it was both edited and filled with commercials. I was definitely intrigued by the music, but the message, gay themes, transvestism and sexual innuendos went way over my young head. I’m pretty sure I gave the movie very little thought, but “The Time Warp” became a favorite song of mine.
As I got older and my family got MTV and VH-1, “The Time Warp” was played as a music video every now and again, especially around Halloween. I was really into the song and dance by then and was determined to revisit the film. So one day I rented ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ from our local Blockbuster and watched it, this time unedited and without commercials. I was wide-eyed the entire length of the movie. I was old enough now to get the messages and themes and was in complete awe. I watched the film a few times and eventually went out and bought the cassette of the soundtrack. Turns out, there were more songs other than “The Time Warp” that I loved. I listened to those songs over and over again, memorizing the words and remembering the visuals from the film that went along with them. I was officially a fan, but technically I was still a “Rocky Horror” virgin.
When I went away to college, I became very active in the theater department and joined the “University Players” organization. We did a lot of things around campus to promote the theater as well as its productions. We also did social things, including small trips. One of those trips was to go see ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ in a theater. This would be my first midnight showing of the film with live performers and live audience, armed with water guns, newspapers and toast. I was finally going to lose my “Rocky Horror” virginity. I was thrilled.
Watching the movie in this way was a completely different and fantastic experience. I really didn’t know what to expect. My only real reference was the scene from the movie ‘Fame,’ a movie that will be popping up on this blog later this year. I also didn’t know every line to yell back at the screen, but I held up my newspaper over my head and danced “The Time Warp” in the aisles. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. It brought a movie I knew like the back of my hand to life again. I loved the live theater experience aspect of it as well. Seeing it with friends surrounded by fans dressed up as Riff Raff, Magenta, Colombia and Frank-N-Furter was something I would never forget.
I have owned many copies of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ in many different versions and have watched the film a countless number of times. I always loved the music, the wit, the camp and the humor. I also loved its main theme of “Don’t dream it, be it.” Its message of inclusiveness has always resonated with me before and after coming out. With ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ I always felt like I was part of a group and less alone and it allowed me to finally show my creativity out in the open, unafraid and proud. Thanks Rocky!
Today’s Thoughts: “So come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab. I see you shiver with antici……..pation.”
‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is a movie I have watched so many times, in so many different capacities, I almost know it by heart. It is a campy, LGBTQ infused musical that never gets old. Its cultural impact on me and society is endless and I can’t imagine a world without it. I was thrilled to be doing “The Time Warp” again today.
Even in 2020, the outlandishness, crass sexuality and flamboyancy is really striking. I can’t imagine how audiences must have reacted to it in 1975. It’s so much fun though. The music is memorable, the characters are ridiculous (in all the right ways) and the plot completely absurd. In other word, it’s perfect. There really is nothing else quite like it.
‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is a one of a kind experience. As much as I loved watching it today, I long for the time I will be able to see it again in a theater, with live performers…and toast.
Awards: National Film Registry (2005).
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.