In what has become an annual tradition, I have decided to embark in a third round of the 50 Movies Project. The premise is simple — I have put together a list of 50 movies that I feel I absolutely must see in order to continue my progression as a film lover. With so many films to see, it’s easy to get off track and forget about some of the essentials. This is my way of making sure I watch those that have been on my “must see” list for too long.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show 
Director: Jim Sharman
Writer: Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien
Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Peter Hinwood
Running Time: 100 minutes
Reason for inclusion: This is one of the most popular cult movies ever made.
Accolades: National Film Registry, one of the longest running midnight movies of all time
I wasn’t quite sure how to approach The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I knew that it needed to be seen live in order to get the full experience, but that would make writing a proper review impossible. In the end, I said screw it, and attended one of the midnight screenings held every month at my favorite movie theater, the Music Box.
Now, I am no stranger to cult flicks and midnight movies. I have seen The Room more times than I probably should, and have been to two different screenings with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero in attendance. I even got dragged on stage to shake their hands once. Yet nothing compares to seeing Rocky Horror.
Since this plays every month, I wasn’t exactly expecting a large crowd. Surprisingly enough, there was a line out the door. Some of the actors from the live theater group set to perform during the film were waiting at the entrance, helpfully marking the cheeks of my girlfriend and I with the letter “V” — making it clear to everyone that we were Rocky Horror virgins.
I experienced a movie-going first while entering the theater: everyone was forced to be patted down for booze, weapons or anything else not allowed within. I don’t know if there have been problems with past screenings or what, but this shocked the hell out of me. A few poor souls lost a pint or two — I envy whoever gets to keep these pieces of contraband afterward.
Now, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with the theatrical experience. I knew there would be lots of shouting and throwing stuff in the air, but what I didn’t expect was a big dance party with an actual DJ beforehand. This wasn’t just a movie screening or a live play — this was a goddamn party.
Once the music ended, the “virgins” were brought to the front and made fun of. Thankfully I wasn’t selected to participate in their opening game — four unlucky patrons were given the option of either faking an orgasm using a celebrity voice or to change an adult baby’s diaper. Yeahhhhh… It only got weirder from there.
Roughly 45 minutes after midnight, the film actually began. I tried my best to pay attention to the dialogue and listen to the song lyrics, but eventually I realized that was a lost cause. With the ongoing theatrics from the local performers, many of whom were running through the aisles, it was far easier to just sit back and enjoy the festivities.
Between the shouting and live performances, I was still able to piece together the gist of the largely nonsensical plot. A newly engaged couple, Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (a sizzling Susan Sarandon), find themselves lost and get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. They eventually stumble upon a nearby castle, where they meet Dr. Frank N Furter (Tim Curry), a self-titled “sweet transvestite” from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania. He is accompanied by a number of bizarre servants, and all hell breaks loose when his creation, Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood), is brought to life.
Much singing and cross-dressing commences, with characters constantly being stripped down and dancing in their underwear. The only musical number that I was familiar with was “The Time Warp”, and that turned the theater into an even bigger dance party.
I still don’t know what to make of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a film. I enjoyed the theatrical experience, but I have to admit that I have no desire to watch it again. I can certainly understand the cult appeal, and I’m glad I was able to kick this off my movie “bucket list”, but I’m not sure the scene is really for me. Consider this an interesting and memorable experience, but not a favorite of mine.