The Rocky Horror Picture Show

June 7, 2010

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The most warped, off the wall, absurd musical that you will ever see.  Not recognized for being a great musical, this jumps into the world of cult classic films unlike any other film out there.  It abounds with audience participation and there are weekly midnight showings all across the country for the fans of the film where they dress up, bring props, and can quote the film line for line.

The story surrounds Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, two star crossed lovers who after a friends wedding take off into the country side by car when it becomes and dark and stormy night their car, predictably, breaks down and they go to the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.  They quickly realize that everything is not quite right when Riff Raff, the hunch backed handyman opens up the door and Dr. Frank-N-Furter is having a party.  Things quickly become worse as Brad and Janet (damnette Janet) end up becoming two of the party guests.  The plot then twists even further into the realm of the absurd (and trust me, my synopsis might make it seem slightly normal, but it isn’t) as Dr. Frank-N-Furter takes his guests up to his laboratory to unveil his newest creation, Rocky.  Rocky comes to life and if at all possible, it becomes even more absurd.  You have to realize that if you see this with other people, everything I’ve written is littered with lines that take it two or three steps past awkward that the audience is shouting out at the screen.

This film has one absurdly iconic character and role that comes out of it.  Tim Curry, a solid actor in his own right, plays everyone’s favorite transsexual transvestite from Transylvania.   Curry will never be known for another role simply because of the swagger and absurdity that he puts into his performance while prancing around in a corset, fishnets, and high  heels.  Susan Sarandon, known for many other roles including her Oscar winning performance in Dead Man Walking, plays one of the other two leads as Janet Weiss.  Even though it is an absurd film and not something you’d generally think of Sarandon for, she does a good job playing a fairly innocent character in this film.  Barry Bostwick,  the mayor on Spin City, plays her finance Brad Majors, who is ridiculed, by the audience, for being more of a chicken and innocent than Janet is.  Richard O’Brien, the writer of the stage play, takes on the role of Riff Raff who is a lovably abused handyman at the hands of Doctor Frank-N-Furter (and when I say lovably, I mean as much as any character could be loved).  The final performance that I will mention (as there really isn’t a bad one in the whole film) is that of Meat Loaf, mainly because he is Meat Loaf and he is in this absurd film.  He only has a limited part (and only one song), but it leads to a wonderful chase around the laboratory with Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Jim Sharman, who adapted the stage play for the screen and directed the film, does a great job on this film.  It is very absurd and he creates the absurd and fake futuristic (at times) setting in the castle and at other times blends it with the style of an old cluttered house.  He gets good performances from the actors, and with a story as absurd as what it is, he squeezes everything out of it.

This film won’t ever be considered a great film, and rightfully so.  The story is too absurd, the acting, while good for the film, isn’t the greatest acting, and the direction, while again fitting the film, doesn’t take direction and film to another level.  This film is meant to be watched with a group of people (probably shouting at the screen) and the whole event that surrounds a showing of the film is what makes it so incredibly special.

Entertainment Grade: A

Critical Grade: B-

Overall Grade: B+


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