The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the first film I ever saw with Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss. Same goes for Barry Boswick, as Brad Majors, but then the most high-profile movie he’s been in since was 1993’s Weekend at Bernie’s II. Or 1996’s Spy Hard. It’s a tough call.
I first saw this film on video during the early 80s, and around the mid-to-late 80s on stage at the long-since demolished Davenport Theatre. Since my friend, Jason, and I were mid-teenagers and not ones for getting dressed up, we were one of the few NOT made-up like one of the characters from the show.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show also spawned a wonderful videogame back in 1985, which I played on the ZX Spectrum, and seemed none the worse for its lack of colour variety, since each screen was a single colour, such were the problems with colour clash back in the day. It was also released on the Commodore 64, Commodore 128 and Amstrad CPC.
You would play as either Brad or Janet and (spoiler alert) had to collect pieces of the Medusa machine from around the castle, to free your partner from stone and escape the castle before it shoots off into the sky. All of the other characters would try to stop you by stealing and hiding your clothes, as well as any items you’d picked up. In addition, Riff-Raff could kill the player with his laser gun, while Eddie could run the player over with his motorcycle if he thawed out and escaped from his freezer.
If I was to say that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was bizarre, that would be a major understatement. Beginning innocently enough with the wedding of the best friends to Brad and Janet, on the way home their car breaks down close to the house owned by the clearly-mad transvestite Doctor Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry, in easily his best-ever performance).
Sadly they’ve chosen the wrong night to drop in since Frank’s just about to unleash his brand new muscle-bound male creation onto an unsuspecting world. Couple this with handyman Riff Raff (The Crystal Maze‘s Richard O’Brien, who also wrote the music for the original stage play and co-wrote the screenplay – and seeing him interviewed on TV a few times in recent years, he’s still as lithe today as he was back then), the domestic Magenta (Patricia Quinn) and groupie Columbia (Little Nell) and they leave Brad and Janet about as out-of-sorts as you can possibly imagine.
Narrated by “The Criminologist” Charles Gray and featuring cameos from Meat Loaf as ex-delivery boy Eddie, Christopher Biggins as one of the Transylvians and an uncredited Koo Stark as a bridesmaid, not to mention the range of accompanying tunes, I’m Just a Sweet Transvestite, Hot Patootie Bless My Soul, Dammit Janet and, of course, the classic Time Warp and you have a film in a league of its own. There’s never been anything quite like it and I doubt there will ever be again.
Of course, I’m scarred for life that the scatter-brained Columbia briefly had her nipples out at one point (I’m sure I didn’t imagine that)… or was that Tim Curry? That said, in hearing Columbia, I can only hear Janice from Friends (Oh, I know!!)
And I can’t ever hear or use the word “anticipation” without saying it a la Dr Frank N Furter. Watching this again even took my mind off the horrendous hassle I’m having with my remortgage, so it’s a very feel-good movie… even if Frank N Furter has his own mind on what he’d like to be feeling… And you’d let him!
Go to page 2 for the presentation and extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.