The Rocky Horror Picture Show Revisited, and my Top 5 Horror Movies

Who hasn’t heard of or seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Probably those of you who are under 25, and that’s a shame.

I vividly remember seeing this movie the first time in the late ’80’s with a bunch of friends in an old theatre on the Danforth, which is a Greek area in one of the many ethnic parts of Toronto. I was amazed at the antics of the regular theatregoers as they threw rice during the wedding scene as well as toast at the screen, shot water guns during a storm, and sang the lyrics of all the songs and no one told them to shut up. Apparently audience participation was expected and encouraged! 🙂

It was an experience going to see this movie every Friday night and especially on Halloween, as  Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), Janet (Susan Sarandon) Brad (Barry Bostwick), Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and a host of other memorable characters such as Magenta, Columbia, Rocky (Peter Hinwood), Charles Grey as the Criminologist, and Eddie (Meat Loaf) did their best to scare the audience in a fun way. But there was one scene with Meat Loaf which still makes me want to puke and if you’ve seen the movie you know which one. 🙁

Rocky is a classic and I recently bought the 25th anniversary edition DVD to see if it was as entertaining as I remembered. It was! The only thing missing was the audience as there were no fans (other than me) to shout the lines along with the actors. Watched alone or with a few friends The Rocky Horror Picture Show loses a lot of its charm since there’s no fun in throwing rice and toast or a water balloon at the television screen , but you can still lipsync or sing aloud the lyrics of the songs.

I understand that when Rocky was released in1975 it flopped, but a few loyal fans kept going to see it and a movie theatre in New York started showing it at midnight because fans just wouldn’t stay away. This was the genesis of one of the ultimate cult films of all time, and this movie is still showing in small theatres all across North America on Friday nights and Halloween. Part of the attraction and charm is the soundtrack as the songs are addictive – Science fiction Double Feature, The Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite, Over at the Frankenstein Place, Toucha Toucha Touch Me, Hot Patootie, Make me a Man and I’m Going Home. I have worn out this CD.

The plot is really ridiculous but Rocky transcends the plot limitations and has remained a cult favourite and garners new fans every decade. It’s a great date movie too, a bit scary in parts, but wonderful fun and very different from any other film. This movie has spawned numerous stage productions.

The story is simple and is typical of the B movie genre. Two young Americans, uptight Brad Majors and his fiancee Janet Weiss (Bostwick and Sarandon) are stranded when their car breaks down on a dark, deserted road in the middle of a storm, and they try to find a telephone to call for help at the only place they can find – a castle located conveniently nearby. Does this remind you of anything so far? Hundreds of campy horror movies have this classic beginning. Instead of a telephone they find cross-dressing mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry),  two very strange looking servants, Riff-Raff (Richard O’Brien, who wrote the musical), Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and various other weirdos, including lovers Columbia (Little Nell) and biker Eddie (Meat Loaf). Brad and Janet walk in on a party in honour of the creation of Frank-N-Furter’s boy-toy Rocky. Bed-hopping becomes the name of the game until the servants take control. This may be the first movie with gay sex as Timmy Curry has sex with both Brad and Janet. 🙂 I don’t think there has ever been a transsexual like Frank-N-Furter, and maybe Transylvania would have been a better place with him in it. The end still makes me tear up. 🙁

Why am I taking a walk along memory lane with Rocky? It’s Halloween, that’s why, and I always went to my favourite theatre on this night to party with the characters. I also wanted to list my top 5 horror movies as promised, and I hope you will list yours too.

1. Alfred Hitchhock’s Psycho which in my opinion has the most memorable movie scene of all time – that shower scene. I couldn’t go into the shower for years without locking the door after seeing this movie. I think that Norman Bates’ character was one of the most twisted in any movie I have seen before or since.

2. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Another memorable horror from the master. This is one of the most suspenseful movies of all time. If you haven’t seen The Birds and love horror you must watch this classic which was filmed in 1963 and starred Tippi Hedren (who was attacked by a seagull and then all hell broke loose) and Rod Taylor.

3. The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment (who stole this movie right from under Willis), still scares the crap out of me. I think The Sixth Sense is the sleeper psychological horror movie of this or any decade.

4. The Exorcist (with Mia Farrow) & Rosemary’s Baby (Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn and Max Von Sydow) – I couldn’t decide which was worse – spinning heads and buckets of vomit or birthing the devil

5. The Silence of the Lambs starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. What a psychological thriller this was. Once was enough for me.

Of course there are many other movies that scared the bejesus out of me such as Dawn of the Dead, Seven, The Mist, War of the Worlds, Pet Cemetary, Poltergeist, the Shining and on and on but I have to leave room for your top 5. 🙂

32 comments

  • Add me as another who doesn’t watch horror – ever – but watched Rocky more times than I can begin to count. And I still have to close my eyes at that Meatloaf scene.

    In Berkeley it was shown on Saturday nights, at the late, lamented UC Theater. Throughout my teens, being there was the only way I could see any of my friends on Saturday night (many of whom were in the cast and crew of Indecent Exposure). Because of the friend connection, I usually got in free and rarely sat straight through the whole movie; I’d be bopping in and out to hang out with friends.

    One particularly memorable night involved taking a couple of “virgin” friends who were in the Navy. One’s best friend was gay, but the other was mildly homophobic and sat between us. I suppose it’s wrong, how much fun we had terrorizing him that night. But he didn’t stay homophobic for long.

    The “theme” that Halloween in my crowd was for all the guys to go in drag. While he was one of the few who didn’t, I have photos of him pretending to grope one of his Navy buddies who was in drag. (The buddy in drag? He’d been homophobic when he first met us. That Halloween he asked me to take him shopping for lingerie, as he wanted to “do it right” if he was going to do it at all.)

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica

      Add me as another who doesn’t watch horror – ever – but watched Rocky more times than I can begin to count. And I still have to close my eyes at that Meatloaf scene.

      That scene still creeps me out and I have watched this movie at least a hundred times.

      But he didn’t stay homophobic for long.

      The “theme” that Halloween in my crowd was for all the guys to go in drag. While he was one of the few who didn’t, I have photos of him pretending to grope one of his Navy buddies who was in drag

      They must have at least been bi curious because most straight men don’t want to even touch other men, because they are afraid it would “make them gay,” as if it were something you can catch.

      Reply
  • Wave, if you have trouble with gore, see the Resident Evil movies before you see Planet Terror or From Dusk Til Dawn. They’re much less gruesome. (Quinten Tarantino’s zombifying balls spattering all over the floor kinda traumatized me) The Hills have Eyes and Blood Diner probably aren’t for you. (Our hero ends up drenched in blood in HHE.)

    The Hammer movies are famous for their buckets of bright red blood, but it’s so clearly fake. And Christopher Lee is at his hottest.

    Gothic has very very little blood, (Mary gets a cut on her forehead) it’s all creepy and atmospheric. And same-sex kisses. The Wicker Man is all atmosphere. Silent Hill might work for you. There are a couple of really awful scenes, but it’s more about peril.

    I keep a running list of what I watch and read. I try to read 50 books and see 50 movies, no repeats or rewatches, every year. Some years I do better than others.

    Reply
    • Angel
      You are so organized. I could never keep a running total of the movies I watched in any one year, and I end up watching some movies over and over again because they are keepers. (Field of Dreams which is not a horror but a feel good movie about baseball is one of my keepers). LOL

      Some of your movies probably would only be watched the one time. 🙁 I really have a thing about blood.) However I love suspenseful horror movies so those keep me entertained.
      I’ll try Resident Evil based on your rec.

      Reply
  • Wave, I met my husband at a double feature of Rocky Horror and Shock treatment exactly 28 years ago today on October 31, 1982…

    ~ZAM~

    Reply
    • WOW ZAM
      How wonderful. An anniversary on Halloween. 🙂

      I just loved going to The Roxy every Friday night at midnight for the show – it was a ritual. No matter what I was doing (unless I was out of the country) I had to go to the show.

      Tonight must bring back great memories for you. Happy anniversary.

      Reply
  • I’m not much into horror, but was swept up in The Others.

    I’m another Rocky Horror fan, with dreams of attending a midnight showing dressed as Columbia. And I raised my kids right. My son has let it be known that he could never be involved with someone who wouldn’t watch Rocky Horror with him. I recently visited him, and we rode through town with the windows down, singing to the remade soundtrack. If singing Time Warp with your mother doesn’t scare off potential dates, nothing will.

    And I’m right there with you on the “Eddie, make you wanna hurl” scene.

    Reply
    • Hi Eden

      And I’m right there with you on the “Eddie, make you wanna hurl” scene.

      I’ve seen it hundreds of times and it still makes me sick. 🙁 But the movie was wonderful.

      The Others was very suspenseful. If you haven’t seen the Sixth Sense you should try watching it – just don’t do it alone. LOL

      Reply

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I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports - especially baseball
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