Saturday, April 23, 2005

Movie Review: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

United States, 1975
Running Time: 1:38
Rated: R
Cast: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Jonathan Adams, Peter Hinwood, Meat Loaf, Charles Gray

Director: Jim Sharman
Producers: Lou Adler, John Goldstone, Michael White
Screenplay: Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien based on the play by Richard O’Brien
Music: Richard O’Brien
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Posted by Hello
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is more of an experience than a film. To this day, the 1975 cult musical inspires enthusiastic audience participation in countless midnight showings across America. This token annual event typically comes packaged with cross-dressing patrons who paint the town red by squirting water, throwing rice, and shouting obscenities at every opportunity. And, while these interactive components may be incomprehensible to some viewers, Rocky Horror is still a perversely original picture that juggles its sexuality and corniness quite well.

All-American Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and his prim-and-proper fiancée Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) venture off to visit a past professor. Along their journey, their car breaks down in the pouring rain. They seek shelter and find an old castle, where an apparent pack of bikers have congregated. Once inside, Brad and Janet ask to use the phone, but instead they are invited to join a party full of mad “Transylvanians.”

Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) steps onto the scene, and decides to show his two guests his latest creation. With a change of clothes and scenery, Brad and Janet are introduced to Rocky (Peter Hinwood), Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s finely-tuned boy-toy. At this point, the lovely couple is a bit apprehensive, but once they are asked to stay overnight, the pair’s inhibitions are lowered and they are strapped in for one wild ride.

Tim Curry is absolutely brilliant as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. His “Sweet Transvestite” is the surefire highlight of the film, and his performance alone is enough to both etch his character into your head forever and hike this film up to recommendable level. However, the question is: does Curry’s panache have the capability to rouse any moviegoer to slap on some make-up and a garter and mimic this B-horror endeavor from beginning to end? Well...almost any moviegoer—considering each year, hordes of both males and females flock to theaters dressed like rainbows ready for bondage.

With obvious references to films like Frankenstein, King Kong, and A Clockwork Orange, Rocky Horror makes itself high in pop-culture and camp. However, with an ending that craps out in the company of aliens and cheap-looking lasers, it makes you want to rewind the film back to its sweeter moments—when those big red androgynous lips sing the opening credits ("Science-Fiction Double Feature") or when the swarm of “Transylvanians” sings “Time Warp.”

Albeit Rocky Horror’s opening and closing scenes are perfunctory and stale, the meat in-between the bread is substantial. And, even though there is way too much cheese on this sandwich, Rocky Horror’s over-the-top and flamboyant approach is the leading factor that makes this film fun. Like it or hate it, you’re bound to have an entertaining time. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005