Friday, November 23, 2012

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Review

I can remember the exact moment that I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time.  I can vividly recall being overwhelmed with a new found laughter and excitement, loving what I was viewing in this never before seen [by me] classic.  I had at that point only heard of its following and of the huge cultural impact it had in the 1970’s.  It was unlike anything I had ever seen before and seemed to chime with something inside of me that I didn’t even fully understand at the time.  It was ridiculous!  It was fantastic!  It was ridiculously fantastic.  I was in the 9th grade; young, curious, fascinated, seeking.  I was compiling myself as a person, taking a piece from here and a piece from there as I went, as we all do.  In the years that would directly follow, The Rocky Horror Picture Show would become one of the movies most quoted and watched by my friends and me for a good chunk of my teenage life.  I guess your bucket list should include things you’ve wanted to do for a long time.  This past Saturday I was able to accomplish something I had wanted to do for over 17 years, so I think something should be scratched off that list!  On November 17 I finally attended a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a shadow cast at The State Theater in State College and I could not control my excitement!

Columbia and Frank-N-Furter's shadows  in full attire
The Rocky Horror Picture Show came out in 1975.  The film was directed by Jim Sharman, it was a horror/comedy/musical based on the musical stage play "The Rocky Horror Show" written by Richard O’Brien, who also stars in the film as Riff Raff.  The movie was based on B movies and science fiction films from the 1940’s/1950's.  After being released, the movie found fame as one of the biggest “midnight movies” of all time.  In early 1976, audiences started to participate in the film, shouting out responses and tossing props about.  There is an entire script of shout outs and replies that go along with the film that has been developed over the years.  People bring props to use during the film, arrive in full RHPS attire, and shadow act the film on stage in front of the screen for the audience.  A huge cult following has continued on with the film even after 37 years.  It’s really something to experience.  If you are excited about the RHPS at all, you will squee with glee as lines are shouted out at the screen, cards and rice are thrown about and used during scenes and people dance in the aisles and the like.  It was thrilling and nostalgic!  

The film is about Brad and Janet, who become stranded after getting a flat tire on a back road.  They make their way in the rain to a house that they see and are answered at the door by the butler, Riff Raff (O’Brien).  They are ushered in, and stripped of their wet clothes.  They are a little surprised to see the head of the house, Frank-N-Furter (played marvelously by Tim Curry in the movie) who is just a sweet transvestite from the planet Transylvania in the galaxy Transsexual.  They spend an interesting night at the house, filled with unexpected sexual trysts and shenanigans.  Their characters are transformed into different people by the end of the movie.  I don’t want to review the movie or give it away if you haven’t seen it (SHAME if you haven't).  If you haven’t, I suggest you view it.  It’s well worth it.    It introduces Tim Curry, boasts a young Susan Sarandon and even stars Meatloaf himself.  It’s a CULT CLASSIC!
Magenta and Riff Raff on stage and screen

The soundtrack to the movie is also quite excellent.  Some of the songs are so heartfelt, you could compare them to many popular songs of the same time.  Others are ridiculous, others are mysterious, others are sexy and sensational!  Songs like “I’m Going Home” are reminiscent, sad, yet hopeful.  The Time Warp has become a cult dance phenomenon that has stood the test of time.  The movie spouts the line “Don’t dream it; be it!”  Quite the proper motto for a movie such as this.  I may have a biased view of this soundtrack, but it really is surprising how good it is as an album.  

The RHPS Shadow Cast at The State Theater
The shadow cast that performed at the State Theater deserves a shout out.  They all did such a great job acting out the movie as it played on the screen, it was like seeing it on stage, only better.    They were all done up in the proper attire for their parts and really got into the scenes and their roles.  Frank-N-Furter’s shadow was remarkable, and really rocked the outfit he was wearing and totally got into the Frank-N-Furter spirit.  Rocky’s character was actually shadowed by a woman, which seemed odd at first, given the masculine nature of the character in the movie, but I loved that they had done it that way by the end.  It seemed so fitting for RHPS; she was great!  Riff Raff, Magenta, Columbia and the others were equally entertaining.  The characters even came out into the audience for different scenes.  It was a good show; it was entertaining, exciting, and about damn time! I was singing along and absolutely could not keep from bouncing in my seat.  Thank you all for helping me scratch a must do off of the ol' bucket list!  I will surely be attending again, with more friends who MUST experience this with we can do the Time Warp again, again!

- MS

Wikipedia:  The Rocky Horror Picture Show
TRHPS Official Fan Site:
Many, many viewings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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