The Rocky Horror Picture Show… a little history

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“I see you shiver with anticip………..PATION!”

Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, don’t miss:

If you haven’t seen the original Rocky Horror Picture Show or any version of the stage production, Rocky Horror Show, you’re missing out. With hit songs like: “Science Fiction”, “There’s a light”, “Sweet Transvestite”, “Hot Patooti”, and a sci-fi horror B movie feel – what’s not to like?

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Plot:

The story centers on a young engaged couple – Brad and Janet – who experience car trouble in the rain. They find a Gothic castle, where they seek to telephone for help. The castle is occupied by eccentric strangers in elaborate costumes, celebrating an annual convention. Brad and Janet discover the master of the house is a mad scientist (Dr Frank-N-Furter), an alien transvestite who creates a living muscle man in his laboratory. The couple is seduced separately by the mad scientist and eventually released by the servants, who take control.

The cast

Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter, a scientist

Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, a heroine

Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors, a hero

Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff, a handyman

Patricia Quinn as Magenta, a domestic

Nell Campbell as Columbia, a groupie

Jonathan Adams as Dr. Everett V. Scott, a rival scientist

Meat Loaf as Eddie, an ex-delivery boy

Charles Gray as The Criminologist, an expert

Jeremy Newson as Ralph Hapschatt

Hilary Farr as Betty Munroe Hapschatt (as Hilary Labow)

Background

Jim Sharman directed the 1975 British-American musical comedy horror film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The screenplay was written by Sharman and Richard O’Brien based on the 1973 musical stage production, The Rocky Horror Show. Music, book, and lyrics were by O’Brien. Production is a satirical tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1930s through early 1970s. The film stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon , and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Royal Court Theatre, Roxy Theatre , and Belasco Theatre productions.

Rocky_Horror_throne_screencap

Up to date, the stage show has been in almost continuous production and the cinematic version has a cult following. Richard O’Brien also stars as Riff Raff in the movie.

Here is an excerpt of an interview with Richard O’Brien on what inspired him to write the Rocky Horror Show and Rocky Horror Picture Show. See the full interview here.

I’d been in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Hair”, and was starting to think I wouldn’t mind seeing a musical that appealed to me, an eternal adolescent. I loved B-movies, rock’n’roll and glam, so thought I’d do a parody – or homage – to all those things. Then Jim Sharman, the director of Jesus Christ Superstar, asked me to audition for a play at London’s Royal Court.

There I met Richard Hartley, who was writing its incidental music. One night, Jim brought Richard round to my place, and I sang them some of my songs, including Science Fiction/Double Feature and Hot Patootie. Jim thought they’d make a great show and called me afterwards saying: “They’ve asked me to do another play at the Royal Court and I’ve agreed – as long as they let me have three weeks’ fun upstairs afterwards.”

So I wrote some more songs and 20 pages of dialogue. I didn’t think it would be a hit. I thought we’d have our three weeks of fun on the Royal Court’s upstairs stage then move on.

It grew a lot in rehearsals. I’d written Science Fiction/Double Feature without a musical in mind, but it has the line: “See androids fighting Brad and Janet.” Those names seemed to exemplify a clean-cut, boy-girl relationship.

Brad and Janet needed their own song, so Dammit Janet went in. I think their sexual awakening is something we can all relate to: when their car breaks down and they arrive at the castle, they’re leaving the American dream and walking into an uncertain future.

It’s astonishing that the US movie industry bought into it: there we were with a fringe theatre event that hadn’t even gone to the West End, and not only were we allowed to make it into a film, we also all got to star in it – with Jim directing. The only imperative from 20th Century Fox was that we include some American actors.

That’s why Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon play Brad and Janet – they were actually an item during filming, too. And then the whole thing nearly got canned when there was a change of head at Fox. Yet, later, this one movie would keep that studio afloat for three years. It’s gone into cinema history. I think you could say it’s the No 1 cult classic movie of all time.

I like to think I’m more of a lyricist than a dramatist. My favourite Rocky Horror line is: “It’s not easy having a good time.” It still makes me laugh. It’s pathetic but it does. And the narrator’s last verse in Superheroes – “Crawling on the planet’s face, some insects called the human race, lost in time, and lost in space, and meaning” – has a quasi-gravitas I find appealing.

I’m staggered it’s such a phenomenon. The film’s a bit long, and it’s so slow. It wilts after an hour then picks up again. That might explain why audience participation started to play a big part at screenings – they probably got bored so they started answering back.

Interview with Richard O Brian

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