Thursday, October 3, 2013

31 Days of Halloween 2013: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (October 5th, 26th, and 31st at the Cedar Lee Theatre, October 11th and 12th at the Apollo Theatre)

[THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW screens Saturday October 5th at midnight, Saturday October 26th at midnight, and Thursday October 31st at 9:30 pm at the Cedar Lee Theater (and the first Saturday of every month, too). It also screens Friday October 11th and Saturday October 12th at the Apollo Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

So how does one review THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW? If we're dealing strictly with the movie itself, what we have is a rock n roll musical that pays homage to the horror and science fiction films of the thirties, forties, and fifties while simultaneously indulging in a celebration of unbridled sex of all persuasions, only to end on a somewhat ambivalent note as what passes for the forces of order and morality come out on top. The conventional wisdom is that it's not a very good movie, but the songs and the experience of seeing it in a theater make up for that. I'm not sure I agree.

I would make the case that THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is genuinely funny, clever, and subversive, even if it does come across as conflicted about its message of unbridled hedonism and “don't dream it, be it” philosophy. The costumes and set design are first rate, and thanks to an excellent cast of then mostly unknowns, the characters are unforgettable. Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick all went on to enjoy successful careers, but screenwriter/composer/supporting player Richard O'Brien is every bit as good as any of them as the hunchbacked assistant to Curry's “sweet transvestite” Dr. Frank N. Furter, as is Patricia Quinn as Riff's sister/lover Magenta. Yes, the songs are a big part of what makes THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW work, but isn't that the case with any musical?

That said, you haven't really seen ROCKY HORROR until you've seen it in a theater with a live cast acting out the movie in front of the screen while an audience full of regulars shout smart-ass commentary and hurl rice, toast, and toilet paper. I saw it this way for the first time at the now closed Falls Theater in Cuyahoga Falls as a high school sophomore in the conservative Reagan-era eighties, and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it was a life changing experience. For starters, once I realized that some of my classmates who were regulars were – gasp, horror – gay, any lingering homophobia I might have had in my system vanished. I also met a lot of other fine outsiders and oddballs of all stripes, many of whom are still good friends to this day. And even if it doesn't change your life, it's still a fun and unique film-going experience that every movie lover ought to have at least once in their life. 3 out of 4 stars for the movie, add another star if seeing it in a theater.

1 comment:

  1. For a great behind-the-scenes sidebar on the genesis and ascent of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW as a cult classic (with excellent Richard O'Brien insights), I recommend the 2007 documentary MIDNIGHT MOVIES: FROM THE MARGIN TO THE MAINSTREAM.


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