Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Watching an 80s horror film makes me feel bored, laughing (instead of screaming), and most of the times, dissatisfied with the production. However, watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a 1975 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rocky Horror Show, the experience is different. With the excellently written songs, bizarre characters and simple plot but has a unpredictable twists, the Show truly did not let me down. 

"THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" is an outrageous assemblage of the most stereotyped science fiction movies, Marvel comics, Frankie Avalon / Annette Funicello outings and rock 'n' roll of every vintage. Running through the story is the sexual confusion of two middle American "Ike Age" kids confronted by the complications of the decadent morality of the 70's, represented in the person of the mad "doctor" Frank N Furter, a transvestite from the planet Transexual in the galaxy of Transylvania.

Created by Richard O'Brien, who wrote the book, music and lyrics and calls it "something any ten-year old could enjoy," this homage to the horror film opened in London at the Royal Court's experimental Theatre Upstairs as a six-week workshop project in June, 1973. The show received such acclaim at this 60-seat theatre that it was quickly moved to larger quarters in a converted cinema in Chelsea. Following the movie theatre's demolition, the show found a permanent home at the 500-seat King's Road Theatre, where it is still playing to packed houses nightly. The play was named "Best Musical of 1973" in the London Evening Standard's annual poll of drama critics. 

In my reading of Perks of Being A Wallflower, and watching of the Rocky Horror Glee Show (a season 2 episode of Glee) and Fame (1980), I knew and became curious of this film. There, they watch this film in community theaters and the audience participate by shouting in a chorus manner their answers to the questions of the characters.

According to an article by  Sal Piro in the official fan site of RHPS, this audience participation started when the film had a regular screening in Waverly Theater every midnight in 1976. They would play the soundtrack of the film before the show begins, making a party atmosphere in the theater. The audiences naturally began to respond, booing the villain and cheering the heroes.

"These pioneers of audience participation from the balcony included two young ladies named Amy and Theresa; Bill O'Brien, the first person to dress as Dr. Frank-N-Furter; Lori Davis, who wrote the Ten Commandments of ROCKY HORROR; and Louis Farese, a kindergarten teacher from Staten Island."

"On Labor Day weekend of 1976, Louis felt compelled to speak to the screen. He is credited as the first person to yell lines at the movie. His earliest lines were: "Buy an umbrella, you cheap bitch!" - to Janet walking in the rain, and "How strange was it?" - to the criminologist's initial speech. (Louis called this "counterpoint dialogue.") Then, in late September, as they sought a preview of Halloween, a few people came dressed as characters from the movie. Later, on Halloween, there was a costume party with many people dressing as the characters."
I haven't watched anything like it. But I think for a group of fans to a particular film, it would be a great and regular experience (you'd be watching the same movie thousands of times just like them, managing to memorize the lines and respond to the characters).

Criticizing the film, well, I find them good. Actually their singing was great. However the acting was quite weird. Also, it is not actually  horrifying film, making it enjoyable. But because of the elements of sex, lust, and homosexuality, the movie I think would only gain audiences that are liberal, homos, in the influence  of drugs, and definitely not young and conservative.

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