Thursday, October 1, 2009

HORROR EPICS: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

I suppose if I’m going to blow all my credibility, I may as well get it over with now by writing about the movie that defines “cult classic” for so many. Chances are you’ve seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show at least once in the midnight movie setting, complete with live actors and audience participation. Your opinion has more than likely been formed from that experience. But if you’re a member of the anti-Rocky Horror crowd, maybe you should consider forgetting about the “favorite of obese goth girls and the scrawny guys who love them” stigma and give it another chance. Because we’re going to defy the tradition and take the movie out of the theatre, away from the heckling and flying objects and into the comfort of your own home. Should you still feel inclined to be loud and messy, any complaints that you receive are entirely your responsibility. The plot, which so many claim is unimportant, is the kind degenerates like us can get behind, at least in spirit. During a rainstorm, the most whitebread couple in the world is forced to seek refuge in a dark and scary castle when their car breaks down in the middle of the woods. The residents of the castle are a strange bunch led by a mad scientist working on creating the alpha male to do his bidding. During the shenanigans that ensue from there, our cute but bland couple are progressively corrupted by the dark side and become unwitting allies to the mad scientist. Of course, it’s not as simple as all that. The mad scientist happens to be a most charismatic transvestite who can sing and dance his fanny off, and you can guess what purpose his newly created alpha male serves. If you can’t figure it out yet, the mad scientist spells it out for you in song. It is a lifestyle of pure and total decadence within these walls, and Brad and Janet find themselves sucked into it from the moment they enter. But at least they got to shed their sexual inhibitions, and sing about it too. Of course, Tim Curry’s over-the-top performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and musical numbers like “Sweet Transvestite” and “Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul”, overshadows most of this. In 1981, several of the cast members teamed up with director Jim Sharman one more time for the sequel Shock Treatment, which was apparently a lousy idea. We might see about that next year, or maybe I’ll have something else better to do, like fixing my hair. But in the meantime, let’s do the Time Warp again!

2 comments:

SEAN ÄABERG said...

It was hard for me to remove Rocky Horror from its drama student, nerdy gay, whatever the fuck late-night audience, but eventually i figured out that it is one of a few "Glam" movies, in the best definition of the term. The music is solid & it's a hilarious movie in general.

The Evil Eye said...

That's understandable. When I got into Rocky Horror, it was well before I knew anything about its target audience. It kind of saddens me whenever I hear punks bag on the movie, because I always saw it as something that played a role in inspiring the original punk movement. A pre-punk film, which I guess would mean glam ultimately.