At the Late Night Double Feature Picture Show: Screening of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ reminds of its original appeal

Scene from ‘RHPS’ in which Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien), Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), and Magenta (Patricia Quinn) prepare for their meal of ‘roast Eddie.’ Photo courtesy

By Valerie Dunn

Elm Staff Writer

Madness took its toll as the “Time Warp” began in Decker Theatre late last Halloween night.   Students gathered in costumes and various levels of enthusiasm for the highly interactive showing of the 1975 cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“I’ve always loved this movie…so I wanted to bring it to this campus,” explained sophomore Kristen Hammond, who coordinated the event through the SEB.

Hammond assembled a team of friends to dress as characters from the movie and interact with the audience throughout the showing.  Before the event began, Hammond provided the audience with party hats, noisemakers, and newspapers–props used at various moments throughout the movie.  She even typed up a script so that the audience could shout insults to the screen at appropriate–and inappropriate–times.  To prepare an audience comprised mostly of “Rocky Horror” virgins, Hammond hosted games such as ones that determined The Best Fakers and Gutter Minds of the audience.

Like most cult classics, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a movie that loves to leave a stamp of controversy–or a lipstick red “virgin v”–on its audience.

“You either don’t like it or fall in love immediately,” Hammond said.  “It’s about being who you are and not letting anyone tell you otherwise.”

The movie revels in its rebellion, making


“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” a Halloween icon.  When the newly engaged Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) drive through a dark and stormy night, their tire blows and they walk to an ominous castle in search of a phone.  Even though “castles don’t have phones,” Brad knocks on the door and hopes for the best.  Whether or not he finds the best within the castle is a question determined by personal preferences of perversity.  The castle, as it turns out, is the home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a sweet transvestite from the planet Transsexual located in the galaxy of Transylvania.

Though no characters quite match the level of quirks achieved by Curry’s iconic performance, the other residents of the castle have nothing less than memorable demeanors.  Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and his incestuous sister Magenta (Patricia Quinn) act as “servants” to Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Also dazzling are the vivacious Columbia (Nell Campbell) and Frank-N-Furter’s creation, Rocky (Peter Hinwood).

The crimes committed inside Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle are as strange as the flamboyant genius himself.  The tagline promises “Action-packed… lotsa larfs & sex… gorgeous gals… thrills and chills… Transylvanian parties… romance” and the movie never falls short of this claim.  Thus, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is not for the faint of heart or the faint of elsewhere. The movie, especially when viewed with an audience as eager to participate as the Washington College crowd, is an experience of passion unbridled and temptations indulged.

Freshman Todd Cooley was one such participant.  Cooley joined a small group that braved walking onstage to compete in the pre-movie games.

Cooley liked the awkward games and noted that they helped the audience “become more comfortable with the whole aspect of what the movie is really all about and what the experience is all about.  It made people more comfortable with themselves.”

In addition to the pre-games, Cooley enjoyed the movie itself.

“You just watch it and think, ‘Wow this is really crazy.’ But it’s a lot of fun, too,” Cooley reflected.

That the film never takes itself too seriously is most of the fun.  Though the songs are catchy, the singing is mostly subpar.  The dances performed by both audience members and characters contain campy move upon campy move.  Inhibitions must be left at the door to fully enjoy this ridiculous journey of “absolute pleasure.”

Watching the movie is more than just a ridiculously fun time for Halloween.  Audience members participate in what has become a legend amongst social taboos.  But the movie succeeds as an icon of the strange not by merely presenting a vast landscape of sexual expression, but by making the quirks charming.  Thus, even after 36 years, the pelvic thrusts still drive us insane, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show endures as a counterculture favorite.

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