Let’s do the Time Warp again!!! I bet you’ve heard that before, although, some might not be familiar with the source. That infectious song comes from the cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A lot of people really love this film and will attend midnight screenings of it. This film actually became a classic through these interactive midnight screenings. All across the country for years, fans have dressed up as characters from the movie and attended. Without those, this most likely would’ve been some nothing film that everyone forgot about. Saying that sounds really weird since it’s become such a classic, but it actually bombed in theaters. I have a history with films that were box office bombs; I tend to enjoy them. Will that be the case with Rocky Horror?
I honestly think this film is given way too much credit, probably because people enjoy the songs so much. But, if you actually sit down and watch it all the way through, you see it’s true quality. I’m not talking about attending one of the interactive screenings, which I’m sure are very high energy and fun, I mean just sitting and watching the film. I’ve seen it several different times, and my view of it hasn’t changed since my first time. Actually I take that back, I first saw this back when I was too young to understand it. It came on when I was flipping channels as a kid and I was so intrigued that I kept watching but had no clue what I was seeing. Then, when I got older, I rewatched it and was finally able to understand everything.
Anyway, back to my personal view. I think that a lot of this film’s shortcomings are forgiven by die hard fans because they just love it so much. I’m not one of those huge fans, so for me the low areas are more noticeable. But before I get into the positives and negatives let’s find out what this strange tale is all about.
Brad and Janet a very conservative squeaky clean couple. They are attending two friends wedding, when Brad has a very important question to ask. He asks Janet to marry him, which leads into the first musical number, “Damnit Janet,” one of the film’s best scenes. This song/opening scene is one of my biggest positives, it’s a great song that’s both performed and choreographed well. Soon after this, when the two experience car trouble along their way to see someone, they discover Frank N Furter’s castle.
Who’s Frank N Furter you ask? He is the “sweet transvestite” that lives at this creepy looking castle. Oh, but he doesn’t live there alone; all his very strange friends live there with him. We’re introduced to all of these characters during “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite”, probably the two most popular songs in the entire film. After we are introduced to all of the characters, then that’s when things really get weird.
The thing about this film, is that it just deflates when someone isn’t singing. No matter how talented the actor- and there are several here- they can’t overcome the poor script. I think so much energy was put into the musical numbers, that when it came to everything else, they just ran out of steam. One of the biggest ways in which the script lets the actors down is the awkward, weak attempts at comedy. There is one joke in particular that wasn’t funny to begin with, and then they dragged it on for way too long and it just became cringey.I really wish the writing was better, because everyone involved has a great vibe about them and are talented performers. Tim Curry nails it as Dr. Frank N Furter. I mean he just flat out brings it. This character requires a lot of energy and sexual charisma and Curry has what it takes. Susan Sarandon is also great here! She’s charming and delightful as Janet, which is kind of a no brainer. I mean who expected Sarandon to disappoint? Speaking of Sarandon, she must be given credit where credit is due, her singing is by far the best of the cast. (It may be a tie between her and Curry.) Whenever Janet’s character is singing, I was entertained, especially in numbers like “Toucha Toucha Me”, where she really gets to shine.
Basically, my recommendation with The Rocky Horror Picture Show is to skip it unless you’re a big fan of musicals. Better yet, just listen to the soundtrack or watch the clips of the musical numbers, because unfortunately everything else in between is boring and uninteresting.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!