Review No. 488
Even smiling will make your face ache.
DIRECTED BY JIM SHARMAN. PRODUCED BY MICHAEL WHITE. WRITTEN BY SHARMAN AND RICHARD O’BRIEN. BASED ON “THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW” BY O’BRIEN. STARRING TIM CURRY (DR. FRANK N. FURTER), SUSAN SARANDON (JANET WEISS), BARRY BOSTWICK (BRAD MAJORS), O’BRIEN (RIFF RIFF), PATRICIA QUINN (MAGENTA), LITTLE NELL (COLUMBIA), JONATHAN ADAMS (DR. EVERETT V. SCOTT), PETER HINWOOD (ROCKY HORROR), MEATLOAF (EDDIE), AND CHARLES GRAY (THE CRIMINOLOGIST). DISTRIBUTED BY 20TH CENTURY FOX ON SEPTEMBER 26, 1975. PRODUCED IN ENGLISH BY THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE UNITED STATES. RUNS 1 HOUR, 40 MINUTES. NOT FOR CHILDREN, DUE TO BRIEF NUDITY AND MILD VIOLENCE.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW WAS WATCHED ON MAY 26, 2013.
“If only we were amongst friends…or sane persons!” –Janet (Susan Sarandon)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a word-for-word, shot-for-shot, note-for-note definition of “bizarre.” There’s nothing here that represents a modicum of sanity. Okay, there’s two people that are just like us, but their facial expressions are those that yearn for lobotomies. When a normal person watches this, though, it’s difficult not to rock along with everything, no matter how unpredictably outlandish this absurd musical riot gets. It’s a horror-ish movie that gives a brand-new meaning to “scary.”
Rocky Horror concerns an engaged couple, Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick). Their car breaks down late at night, and the only residence in sight is a castle. Assuming whoever is in the castle has a telephone they can use, Janet and Brad take their chances. But as a result, they’ve now found themselves trapped inside one of the most sick-and-twisted domiciles imaginable. Here in the castle resides Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a freak of nature who flaunts himself as the “Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.” And that’s not all: he’s created a man-like creature named Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood), who he plans to keep for his own sensual pleasures. In fact, just about everyone who crosses him is bound to become an object for his hedonism.
As Rocky Horror is a loving homage to the Golden Age of B-movies, it presents a plot we’d likely see in an Ed Wood flick, but to the very extremes. There’s a very small difference between this and Glen or Glenda though. If Mr. Wood were to direct Rocky Horror, he’d have flaws all over the place. Poor acting, mindless special effects, a hokey plot line. We could laugh at the unintentionally funny outcome, until the poor pacing kicked in and it all grew boring. He’d take everything to heart with utter solemnity.
If you look at Rocky Horror as an honest-to-god science fiction flick, you’ll find mistakes flying left and right. I do have one, small complaint over an unintended flaw: we almost completely lose our hero and heroine during the scene in which Rocky himself is born. But even that musical number was just as much fun as the rest of the movie. What makes this the energized masterpiece that it is is that no one here takes the production seriously. Not director Jim Sharman. He has a hayride commanding scenes where nothing makes sense. Sometimes films need a bit of gravity to even out with the incessant levity. Not here. There’s a wild, out-of-control, chaotic thrill that spreads contagiously to the audience, and doesn’t offer up a cure until the credits have closed.