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Categories: Movie Reviews

Samantha Ward has a look back at one of her favorite musicals, the popular horror-comedy-musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

“To the late night, double feature, picture show!”

A homage to horror, sci-fi and B-movies with laughter and an amazing soundtrack and a fantastic formula for a musical, Jim Sharman brought us The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975 based on the original musical play The Rocky Horror Show created by Richard O’Brian. O’Brian brought his influences from B-movies through the ages to create a unique science fiction musical performance. Both Sharman and O’Brian joined to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation. They had the smarts to bring a lot of the original cast members from the stage to the screen. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is very reminiscent of the stage show with similar sets, choreography and costumes. Both contain iconic choreography and music including the famous and well loved “Time Warp”. 

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A newly engaged couple Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) are driving out in the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down. Fortunately, they see a light coming from a large mansion, home of Dr Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a cross-dressing scientist. The doctor introduces his latest creation Rocky Horror, a hansom young muscle man. The film is very open about its sexuality and gender-crossing, making a stand for the equality of transgender, gay and lesbian communities. The film also stars creator Richard O’Brian as Riff Raff the Handyman and even Meatloaf makes an appearance with (of course) his own lyrical yet slightly gory scene.

The movie was filmed mostly at Bray Studios and Oakley Court where many of the late Hammer Horror films were shot. They were fortunate to reuse a lot of the props and set pieces used in the old Hammer Horrors, giving the film a brilliantly gothic backdrop. Influenced by the sci-fi and gothic genre, the burlesque, disco rock design of the costumes also became an iconic feature and its originality made an impact on the punk rock fashion of the time. 

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Although the film didn’t take off straight away, it is now the longest-running theatrical release and well and truly a cult classic, also becoming a well-known ‘midnight movie’. All over the world there are cinematic events where audiences participate, dressing up to sing and dance along. “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s uninhibited and not your typical musical, but if you’ve enjoyed a B-movie in the past then this horror musical is for you. It’s wild fun with lyrics and tunes so catchy you’re going to want to sing along like everyone else.

So let the party and the sounds rock on!

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As a film fanatic, I love to write/talk about them as well as making short form films. I aspire to host my own screening events and one day make a feature film.

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Posted on Jan 1, 2015

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