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. 🙂