Madness takes its toll….

When I first stepped foot into the madness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show I have to admit I was far too young to even understand what the hell was going on. Whenever my parents went out or away for the weekend my Auntie Lynn used to babysit me. Now a lot of my movie obsession comes from my Auntie, she introduced me to a rich variety of films and the one I remember most was when she decided to show me how to jump to the left and take a step to the right. I was at an innocent age when I didn't even notice that the film was pretty much an orgy of promiscuity and depravity. To my young brain it was just a film that was a bit strange but had really catchy songs! I still love those songs and can listen to them without getting bored. You can Imagine my Mam wasn't too pleased when an 8 year old me was walking to school singing "I'm just a sweet transvestite", no wonder I turned out a little bit strange! The thing I look back at now, and it always strikes me as a bit odd, is every kids party I went to growing up played the Time Warp and everyone used to love it!

As I got older I watched the movie many times. I've seen it at a midnight showing in the city centre of Manchester, and a couple of times on stage live at the Empire Theatre in Sunderland. It's an experience every time! The 1975 film was adapted from Richard O'Brien's stage play, called 'The Rocky Horror Show' from 1973. I think this film really is the definition of cult classic as it had to find its audience over time; unfortunately when it was originally released it was a huge flop. This was hardly surprising as the subject matter is really quite racy and shocking for the time it was released. Not many films would have dared to show a man dressed as a woman, nevermind the characters showcasing an array of sexuality that has only started to become accepted in society! Even now, same sex couples on adverts and TV shows still receive complaints from the public, which in all honesty is pathetic. I have noticed over the years the stage show has become a lot more tame! Theatres have stopped us from bringing our squirty guns, toast, rice, and flash lights, which I think makes it lose a little bit of the magic. We were every bit a part of the performance as the cast on stage and, in my opinion, the best part of the stage show was the audience interaction; but, the time it takes to clean up the theatre must be drastically reduced! I used to love it when the cast got caught out and they couldn't hold in a laugh or they joined in with an over excited member of the audience. To me, that's what made it fun. Now I have to admit I have bottled doing the other parts of the audience participation, I could never get dressed up like most of the people I went with (I didn't have the legs to pull off stockings). Maybe one day I'll get the guts and go for it.

The original film is a strange one, the story doesn't make any sense at all and it's hard to really understand what's going on. The acting throughout the film is cringe-worthy and hammy at best from most of the cast, other than Tim Curry who is spectacular in the role of Frank N Furter. I could never work out if Frank was the villain or hero in this story! His iconic performance stands the test of time as you can tell he is having the time of his life and he was so confident in his own skin; not many people could have pulled off that kind of performance. For me, the film was always about the music, from the start of Science Fiction/Double Feature it's addictive and you can't stop being taken along for the ride. With a surprise cameo from Meatloaf as the bad boy Eddie who blows the house down in his normal fashion with Hot Patootie (bless my soul) I really fell in love with this odd ball of a flick. Not all the songs were winners though, I could have done without Susan Saradon's singing as it was a little hard on the ears (and that's being kind). As we progress through the film it never quite settles on a solid theme. It goes from Horror, to Mystery and then some strange Sci/Fi B-movie, but it never takes itself too seriously. Everything is very tongue in cheek, even in the delivery, and that's part of its charm. I can't talk about Rocky Horror without mentioning my teenage crush and the reason I have always had a soft spot for redheads. The character that I couldn't take my eyes off was Magenta, she wasn't the typical type of woman you would see on screen; she was pale, a little gothic and curvy. Before seeing the film I had only seen the normal Hollywood types of women. However, Magenta was unusual and that made her interesting! She is definitely one of the reasons why I keep going back to visit Frank N Furter's castle.

Over the years, the film has used in elements of shows like Glee, plus a made-for-TV remake that I found dull. It lacked heart and any real emotion, it didn't have any of the fun of the original and I thought the new cast was all wrong for the show. Some things shouldn't really be messed with or remade. Films like Back to the Future, Goonies and Rocky Horror shouldn't be considered to be remade, as they were special. You can't replace the charm that those films had and, in my opinion, you just can't improve on them.

Would I class The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a great movie? No, absolutely not. I wouldn't even class it as a good movie. But, it's fun to watch and you do have a good time while watching (I think it's even better if you are in a group). It definitely has its own charm. I think the shock factor has worn off now as the subject matter is a lot less taboo. Shows like Queer as Folk and even Ru Paul's Drag Race have pushed the boundaries of what is risqué now, and I feel they've moved the world in the right direction. It has taken a long time and a lot of effort, and we definitely still have a long way to go; but I feel Rocky Horror started us on the path of acceptance and open-mindedness.

Thanks for reading :)