Theater Arts 7B
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
For many movies, a tagline can simply sum up what a movie is all about in a few words, along with leaving an impression on whoever is reading the tagline. Sometimes this impression could be distasteful, funny, or possibly thought-provoking. In the case of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the tagline is certainly one you have to read twice. “A different set of jaws” is the tag line found on the poster of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and from the first time I read it I was intrigued. If one were to take into account that the film was released the same year as the film Jaws, it makes sense that the tag line is poking fun at the commercial box office hit, but there is much more to it than meets the eye. The poster alone suggests that this is not a musical like any other, and the now iconic pair of lips symbolize the mystery behind the film. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975 as an adaptation of the British musical The Rocky Horror Show, which was written by Richard O’Brien. It was directed by Jim Sharman and co-written with O’Brien. The premiere of Rocky Horror was held at the Westwood Theater in Los Angeles, in late September of 1975. Despite being released in a handful of theaters, the film was deemed as a failure which in turn kept the film from receiving a wide release. It was not until April Fools' Day of 1976 that the film was picked up again for another chance at the box office by Tim Deegan, a young advertising executive at 20th Century Fox. Deegan’s plan was to persuade Bill Quigley of the Walter Reade Organization to reconsider the film and have it advertised at their midnight show at the Waverly Theater in New York. At the time, the Waverly had already built a reputation for being the heart of midnight movies, along with having great success from showing El Topo and Night of the Living Dead. From that day on, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was “born” and the immense cult following it was beginning to assemble. As time progressed, the popular idea of “audience participation” also arose and became one of the main attractions when viewing the film at a local midnight movie theater. This idea basically consists of the audience talking back to the movie and acting out pivotal scenes in the film. For example, in the very beginning there is a wedding scene, and at that moment in time the audience would throw rice at each other. To begin, The Rocky Horror Picture Show tells the story of a newly engaged couple, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss (played by Barry Bostwick and Susan Surandon) who stumble upon a mysterious castle on a cold and rainy November night after driving from a fellow classmate’s wedding. The story is narrated by the Criminologist (played by Charles Gray), and after entering the castle they meet Riff Raff (a handyman played by Richard O’Brien) and Magenta (a domestic played by Patricia Quinn), Columbia (a groupie played by Little Nell), Eddie (an ex-delivery boy played by Meatloaf), and last but not least Dr. Frank N. Furter, an eccentric and cross-dressing scientist (played by Tim Curry) who has found the secret to creating life. From that point on, Brad and Janet enter the ride of their lives as they try to survive the madness of Dr. Frank N. Furter. Along the way, they witness the creation of Rocky (played by Peter Hinwood) and find their old high school science teacher Dr. Everett Scott (a rival scientist played by Jonathan Adams) who is working for the government in search of alien life forms. 1)After viewing the film multiple times, it is evident that the theme presented is the innocence lost among teenagers when making the transition into adulthood, along with being exposed to the explicit reality of it all and the inherent repressed sexual nature in all of us. The film also sheds light on the idea of self discovery and taking to heart Dr. Frank N. Furter’s maxim “don’t dream it, be it” which he sings towards the...