Here at the end of Cult Classic “Month” (with month in bleeding sarcasm quotes because I got lazy on my deadlines), we come to the ultimate of all under-viewed weirdness. The cult-iest of the cult films in this cult-ivated land of ours. The undisputed queen of camp who reigns on high from her throne made of undiluted weird. Prepare to bask in her glory as she descends from on high to dwell amongst us commoners for what time she has deemed worthy of spending. She is The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
A young couple, Brad and Janet, find themselves in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire. Desperate to locate some means of calling for help, accept an invitation into a nearby castle. However, this castle is full of strange occupants and an even stranger host, the flamboyant transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). The following is a plotless, quickly paced fantasy trip through hunky corpses, high heels, UFO conspiracies and incredibly catchy song numbers.
The final note is the highest praise this movie gets; the songs are catchy and fun, evoking the best of what British Rock had to offer in the 70s. The creative mad genius behind the film, Richard O’Brien, claims that the music was heavily inspired by 50s rock-n-roll. While I can see that, it more heavily reminds me of David Bowie’s work on Ziggy Stardust. Especially in regards to lyrical content, which is all about weird anomalies, UFOs, and unconventionality.
The film very clearly presents itself as an imitation of old sci-fi B-movies and it pulls that off with remarkable success. From the jarring transition edits to the insane costumes and sets this film oozes authenticity and familiarity with the genre it lovingly pokes fun at. It even nails the sexual exploitation element often found in those movies. I’m unsure if I should classify as intentional. Are we seeing a recreation loyally adhered to for the sake of authenticity? Or are we watching something the O’Brien wrote while he was feeling particularly lonely?
The characters are fine, a bit bland, but are portrayed adequately by the actors. The exception, to nobody’s surprise, is Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. He throws himself into a performance that most actors would’ve passed up entirely. He is captivating, boisterous and completely sells the effeminate scientist angle. This angle makes him feel elegant, silly and legitimately dangerous all at the same time.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Overall:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t really about anything, but it’s not trying to be. It’s just trying to give the viewer a good time full of catchy songs and strangeness that will stick with you long after you’ve turned the film off. How much you enjoy this film will undeniably depend on your tolerance for the weird and risqué. There’s a lot weirder stuff here than men dressing as women. However, if you can get past that, you’ll find an experience here that you’ll never find anywhere else.
Next week, we start getting in some kind of rhythm. You’ll figure it out.