Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Film Favourites: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

rocky horror picture show richard o'brien tim curry film 1975 poster

The Film

The Queen of cult movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an adaptation of Richard O'Brien's sensuous musical aliens I guess? I've known no-one who liked this film the first time they watched it, and yet most will always find themselves drawn back into this fabulously weird world. It must be Tim Curry's eyes.

rocky horror picture show richard o'brien tim curry film 1975 frank surgeon speech creation
There's nothing I wouldn't do to that man...

The Plot

Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon), from the sleepy town of Denton, have just got engaged, so they decide to go and visit their old high school teacher, Dr. Scott, to tell him the good news. One flat tyre later, however, and they find themselves at the mysterious castle of one Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) who, that very night, has just completed his greatest creation. Old B-movie tropes, the occasional Nazi reference ("He is a triumph of your will"), and much singing and dancing are abound.

rocky horror picture show richard o'brien tim curry film 1975 time warp transylvanians
Naturally, you should have all lyrics and dance moves memorised before seeing the film.

The Critique

No-one, not even the most vehement fan of the movie or stage show, can deny that Rocky Horror is ridiculous. It's a pop culture-riddled musical about an alien transvestite throwing a never-ending orgy and genetically engineering his own living sex toy using half of Meatloaf's brain; it's the most perfectly stupid concept ever. Actually, why are all films not summed up using that exact sentence? Why have you failed me yet again by only having one of these films in existence, cinema? I want more shiny gold speedos, damnit! 

rocky horror picture show richard o'brien tim curry film 1975 rocky and frank weights
Sigh. To be able to dress up like that and not make children cry.
Rocky Horror celebrates everything great and awful about old B-movie cinema while simultaneously being a brilliant contemporary cult movie. Sure, the plot is beautiful, beautiful garbage, but the utter glee with which every actor plays their role is infectious to watch. I wish I'd been a part of the filming, cause it looks like it would have been the most fun ever (even if the mansion they filmed it in was so cold Susan Sarandon caught pneumonia). Plus, the music is just...ugh. Here, your homework is to listen to the whole soundtrack:

Even the set design and costuming for a film with such a small budget is pretty good. It looks like a stage show, but that's kind of what it is so shitty plywood walls and patched-together dresses work. all in all yes, for all intents and purposes it should be awful, but give it a chance and the sheer uniqueness and the unrelenting vim and vigour of the cast will win over your heart eventually. Then the real fun can begin.

It's Special Because...

There are two things that introduced me as a youngster to the concept of transgenders: Rocky Horror and the Lumberjack Song from Monty Python's Flying Circus. Only one of them, however, gave me an excuse to dress up in high heels and a home-made costume.

rocky horror picture show party frank n furter costume
Yes, of course you get to see the result.
What takes the averagely enjoyable film that is Rocky Horror to the next level of awesome is the wonderful cult following it has. The enthusiasm fans have towards dressing up, drinking, and singing along to Frank and his debauched ways is second to none; and if you really do end up falling in love with this film, you'll always find others who feel the same way to go fishnet shopping with.

rocky horror picture show richard o'brien tim curry film 1975 dr scott leg
I wear them for...the...thriiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllllls!
Up here in Dundee we've ended up with a little community of geeky weirdos who are united by three mutual adorations: dancing, board games, and Rocky Horror. I wouldn't change any of these people for the world, and I wouldn't be as in love with some of them as I am now if we didn't have this film to bond over. So thank you, Frank, for being the best wingman ever.

Best Enjoyed With

A lot of alcohol, very little clothing, and good friends.

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