From as far back as I can remember I have been attracted to the strange and unusual, not unlike Lydia from Beetlejuice.
When I was in the fourth grade I was taken to a world I never knew existed, the world of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. From that moment on, it was my dream to be a part of it. So much so, that until I was actually old enough to go to the midnight showings, because let’s face it, no one would let a 9 year old go see it; I watched it almost religiously. Had the soundtrack down by heart, learned the dances, the audience participation, everything. I was in love, infatuated, enraptured. Everything about it called to me, but mostly it was Magenta. I thought she was the bees knees!
The moment those lips came up in the opening credits I knew I was in for the ride of my life. And then came my first meeting with Frank, as the elevator slowly descends and those wonderful platform boots are stomping, the antici…. pation was killing me!
Now, for those of you that have lived under a rock their whole lives and don’t know what Rocky Horror is, let me give you a bit of a history lesson. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975, as a tribute to science fiction and B Movies. Written by Jim Sharman (who also directed) and Richard O’Brien, who also stars as Riff Raff, the film was not intended to be the cult classic that it is now. In fact, when it was first released it bombed, horribly. It wasn’t until the Waverly Theater in New York started playing
it at Midnight in 1976 that it really started to get attention. People would go and kind of make fun of it, and that’s how the audience participation got started.
Throughout the years it has become what I believe to be the biggest cult classic in history. Yes, there are a lot of them, but Rocky Horror takes the cake. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I don’t think I ever will.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, along with Peter Hinwood as Rocky, Patricia Quinn as Magenta, Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff and Nell Campbell as Columbia. Meatloaf also has a small roll as Eddie, and he’s fabulous in it! Brad and Janet (Bostwick and Sarandon) are newly engaged, and their car breaks down right by Frank’s castle. They go to use the phone (CASTLES DON’T HAVE PHONES ASSHOLE!) when the creepy butler Riff Raff lets them into the house. From then on its one thing after the other. Frank, Magenta and Riff Raff are aliens from the planet Transylvania and just want to get back home.
Brad and Janet encounter a group of Transvestites doing the Time Warp. Rocky, who is Franks pet man slave that he made, have a ton of sexual advances and all of it is making Brad and Janet question themselves and bringing out their inner freaks. Yes, probably not the best movie for a 9 year old to watch, but who cares, I LOVED IT!
When I was about 14 my parents figured I was old enough to start going to the midnight shows. The mall by my house played it every Friday at midnight. I had an exact replica of Magenta’s maid uniform made, made my hair all big and frizzy, put my crazy makeup on, got all of my paraphernalia together, hopped in the car with my sister and off we went. Every Friday after that, we were there and we had a blast every time.
To me, it felt like I had found somewhere I had belonged. A place where the freaks could go and be happy. You never knew who or what you were going to see there.
The experience with going to see the live show, or the midnight show at the movies, is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Everyone is dancing in the aisles, screaming back at the screen, throwing various objects at the screen or stage, which I will list in just a
moment. You always came home wet and you would be picking rice out of your hair for the whole week. The shoes I would
wear always had rice in the bottom, no matter how I tried to get it all out there was always a few grains stuck in there that liked to dig their way into my feet. I didn’t mind though, it was all part of the game.
So, if you are thinking about hitting up a midnight show any time soon, and now’s the time to do it since they really only show it around Halloween, here is your list of items to pack:
*Rice or Bubbles for the wedding scene. Though I don’t believe that theaters let you bring rice anymore, it was a major bitch to clean up.
Wear whatever you want, but my advice is to go crazy with it. The flashier the better. Seriously, go all out!
If you want you can always go online, there are plenty of Audience Participation guides out there. Study up, learn your lines and when to use your props. I’m not joking when I say that it is one of the funnest things you will ever do. I think everyone should experience it at least once in their life.
So there you go Towelites, my Far Back Friday for Halloween. Remember, in the words of Dr. Frank-N-Furter,
“Don’t Dream It, Be It.” And in the words of the audience, “Don’t Drink It, Frankie Peed In It.”