"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"Give yourself over to absolute pleasure" is the tagline for the 1975 cult classic, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and I think that is the perfect phrase to sum up this movie. From Transylvania Transvestites to a sexualized version of Frankenstein's monster, this movie takes all of the classic horror tropes that have been present for many years, and add their own sexual and outrageous spin on it. It may have done horrible when it was first released in '75, but this film is a hilarious and fascinating party from beginning to end, with fun performances by the ensemble cast and toe-tapping musical numbers.
Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) are two clean cut kids who fell in love in high school. Now newly engaged and ready to start their life together, they don't think anything can tear them apart. However, when they get a flat tire on a dark and rainy night, the only refugee around is a light on in the old Frankenstein castle.
When the couple arrives there, they find that the odd residents are in the middle of a party, hosted by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), who is basically a transvestite version of Victor Frankenstein. He has created a monster named Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood), who will be there for his every sexual want and need. However, the birth of this jacked monster brings a lot of trouble and mischief to it, which will change Brad and Janet forever. Are they able to escape the clutches of the weird scientist and his goons, or will they be trapped under his spell forever?
This movie basically serves as a modern-day reimagining of the classic Frankenstein movie, with the film featuring multiple references to classic films and RKO Pictures. However, the twist they put on this movie, which includes many sexual attributes and over-the-top plot lines, works very well. It may have been ahead of its time in the early 1970's, but it is perfect for today's climate and society.
This was adapted from a play in London that went on for three years before getting the film treatment. It was written by Richard O'Brien, who also plays Riff Raff in this movie adaptation of it. Throughout the runtime, you can definitely tell this used to be a play and would probably work best as a staged production. Don't get me wrong, the movie is great and seeing it live in a theater is tons of fun and really improves on the watching experience, but there is definitely a misconnect between film and live productions.
With that being said, the musical numbers and dance scenes were stellar. If anything, the songs were probably the best thing the filmmakers got right from the staged production in London, and will stay in the viewer's head for days after watching this picture. Consider the scene where the song "Time Warp" is performed. It is such a classic song and so much fun, and will have the audience tapping their foot throughout the entire performance in the movie. It is definitely a classic song for Halloween-time, and just shows how much of a musical genius O'Brien is.
Curry really steals the show on multiple different aspects. With this being his film debut, it seems like he is a seasoned actor when he received the script for this film. He totally embodies the character of Frank N. Furter, and gives off that horrifying and sexual aspect to him. You honestly forget after a while that this is Curry, and all you see is the classic transvestite character. In addition to him, all of the other actors give good performances. Sarandon and Bostwick are hilarious throughout the movie, delivering cheesy one-liners that will always get a chuckle out of the viewer. I would say that Curry heavily overshadows the other actors in this film, but that's honestly quite alright for me.
Over the years, this film has continued to grow in popularity, with conventions and fan screenings taking place all throughout October to celebrate the Halloween holiday. I honestly don't see this film going anywhere anytime soon, and it will stand as a legendary film and a trademark for the Halloween season for the end of time.