The Rocky Horror Picture Show
|The Rocky Horror Picture Show|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jim Sharman|
|Produced by||Michael White|
|Based on||The Rocky Horror Show
by Richard O'Brien
|Editing by||Graeme Clifford|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Box office||>$365,000,000 (US)|
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 British-American musical comedy horror film based on The Rocky Horror Show, a musical stage play, book, music and lyrics by Richard O'Brien. Directed by Jim Sharman from a screenplay by Sharman and O'Brien, the production is a humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s. It introduces Tim Curry and features Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Kings Road production presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.
Still in limited release nearly four decades after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It gained notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theatres. Rocky Horror is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to be in the midnight movie market. The motion picture has a large international cult following and is one of the most well-known and financially successful midnight movies of all time. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
A criminologist narrates the tale of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, a newly engaged couple who find themselves lost and with a flat tire on a cold and rainy late November evening in 1974. Seeking a phone with which to call for help, Brad and Janet walk to a nearby castle, where they discover a group of strange and outlandish people who are holding an Annual Transylvanian Convention. Brad and Janet watch as the Transylvanians, servants and a tap-dancing groupie dance the film's signature song, "Time Warp".
They are soon swept into the world of Dr. Frank N. Furter, a self-proclaimed "Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania". The ensemble of convention attendees also includes servants Riff Raff, his sister Magenta, and a groupie named Columbia.
Frank claims to have discovered the "secret to life itself". His creation, Rocky, is brought to life. The ensuing celebration is soon interrupted by Eddie (Meat Loaf), an ex-delivery boy, partial brain donor to Rocky, and Columbia's lover, who rides out of a deep freeze on a motorcycle. In a jealous rage, Frank corners him and kills him with an ice axe. He then departs with Rocky to a bridal suite near the laboratory.
Brad and Janet are shown to separate bedrooms where each is visited and seduced by Frank, who poses as Brad (when visiting Janet) and then as Janet (when visiting Brad). Janet, upset and emotional, wanders off to look for Brad, who she discovers, via a television monitor, is having a post-coital chat with Frank. She then discovers Rocky, cowering in his birth tank, hiding from Riff Raff, who has been tormenting him. While tending to his wounds, Janet becomes intimate with Rocky, as Magenta and Columbia watch from their bedroom monitor.
After discovering that his creation is missing, Frank, Brad and Riff Raff return to the lab, where Frank learns that an intruder has entered the building. Dr. Everett Scott, Brad and Janet's old high school science teacher, has come looking for his nephew, Eddie, but Frank suspects that Dr. Scott investigates UFOs for the government. Upon learning of Brad and Janet's connection to Scott, Frank suspects them of working for him. Frank, Dr. Scott, Brad, and Riff Raff then discover Janet and Rocky together under the sheets in Rocky's birth tank, upsetting Frank and Brad. After much hemming and hawing, Magenta interrupts the hubbub by sounding a massive gong and stating that dinner is prepared.
Rocky and the guests are served dinner, which they soon realize has been prepared from Eddie's mutilated body. Janet runs screaming into Rocky's arms and is slapped and chased through the halls of the castle by a jealous Frank. Janet, Brad, Dr. Scott, Rocky and Columbia all meet in Frank's lab, where Frank captures them with the Medusa Transducer, transforming them into statues. They are then forced to perform a live cabaret floor show and have a semi-orgy in the pool (except Dr. Scott, who is stuck in his wheelchair), with Frank as the leader.
Riff Raff and Magenta interrupt the performance, revealing themselves and Frank to be aliens from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. They stage a coup and announce a plan to return to their home world. In the process, they kill Columbia, Rocky and Frank, who has "failed his mission". They release Brad, Janet and Dr. Scott, then depart by lifting off in the Castle itself.
The narrator concludes that the human race is equivalent to insects crawling on the planet's surface, interpreted by some as a hint to being from Transsexual.
- Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter: A scientist, (Baritone).
- Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss: A heroine, (Mezzo-soprano).
- Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors: A hero, (Tenor).
- Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff: A handyman, (Countertenor).
- Patricia Quinn as Magenta: A domestic, (Contralto).
- Nell Campbell (credited as Little Nell) as Columbia: A groupie, (Soprano).
- Jonathan Adams as Dr. Everett V. Scott: A rival scientist, (Bass).
- Peter Hinwood as Rocky Horror: A creation, (Tenor / Countertenor).
- Charles Gray as The Criminologist: An expert.
- Meat Loaf (credited as Meatloaf) as Eddie: An ex-delivery boy, (Tenor / Countertenor).
The film was shot at Bray Studios and Oakley Court, a country house in Berkshire, England, from 21 October-19 December 1974. Filming of the laboratory scene and the title character's creation occurred on 30 October 1974.
The film's plot, setting, and style echoes that of the Hammer Horror films, which had their own instantly recognizable style (just as Universal Studios' horror films did), and is reminiscent of the Hammer production of The Revenge of Frankenstein starring Peter Cushing.
The castle is known for a number of Hammer films. A great deal of location shooting took place there. At the time, the manor was not in good condition. Filming took place during autumn, which made conditions harsh. During filming, Susan Sarandon fell ill with pneumonia. In 1997 Oakley Court had its latest renovation and the building is now a luxury hotel.
In the stage productions, actors generally did their own makeup, but for the film the producers chose Pierre La Roche to redesign the makeup for each character (he had previously designed makeup for Mick Jagger). Production stills were taken by rock photographer, Mick Rock who has published a number of books from his work.
The film is considered to be the longest-running release in film history. It has never been pulled by 20th Century Fox from its original 1975 release, and it continues to play in cinemas. The film had its US broadcast premiere on the FOX Broadcasting Company, included audience participation edited into the film, on 13 October 1993.
A Super 8 version of selected scenes of the film was made available. On 2 August 2010, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Official Fan Club announced the release of the 35th Anniversary edition Blu-ray in the US for 19 October 2010. The disc includes a newly created 7.1 surround sound mix, a mono sound mix, and a 4K/2K image transfer from the original camera negative. In addition, new content featuring karaoke and fan performance are included.
The film opened in North America at the USA Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, on 14 August 1975. It did well at that location, but not elsewhere. The cult following did not begin until the film began its midnight run at the Waverly Theater in New York City on 1 April 1976.
Prior to the midnight screenings' success, the film was withdrawn from its eight opening cities due to very small audiences, and its planned New York opening (on Halloween night) was cancelled. Fox re-released it around college campuses on a double-bill with another rock music film parody, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, but again it drew small audiences. With Pink Flamingos (1972) and Reefer Madness (1936) making money in midnight showings nationwide, RHPS was eventually screened at midnight, starting in New York City on April Fools' Day of 1976. By that Halloween, people were attending in costume and talking back to the screen. By mid-1978, RHPS was playing in over fifty locations on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight, newsletters were published by local performance groups, and fans gathered for Rocky Horror conventions. By the end of 1979, there were twice-weekly showings at over 230 theatres.
The film received positive reviews from film critics mostly due to Curry's performance and singing. Based on 39 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of the critics positively reviewed The Rocky Horror Picture Show. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, it has a rating score of 55, indicating "mixed or average reviews" based on six reviews. The film has taken in US$365 million at the US box office,DVD sales, etc. since its release. The original budget for the film was US$1,400,000.
Other projects 
A few years later, O'Brien wrote another script intended as a direct sequel to the cult classic entitled Revenge of the Old Queen. Producer Michael White had hoped to begin work on the production and described the script as being "... in the same style as the other one. It has reflections of the past in it." Although the script has not been published, bootleg copies can be read on the Internet. The script is currently owned by 20th Century Fox which produced the two original films. Most individuals associated with the project, including O'Brien, agree that the film will probably never be made, owing to the failure of Shock Treatment and the aging of the cast.
The soundtrack was released in 1975 by Ode Records and was produced by Richard Hartley. The album peaked at #49 on the Billboard 200 in 1978. It reached No. 40 on the Australian albums chart and No. 11 on the New Zealand albums chart. William Ruhlmann of Allmusic gave the album a star rating of five stars out of five and described it as the "definitive version of the [Rocky Horror] score."
35 years following original release, Glee: The Music, The Rocky Horror Glee Show debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 the week of 27 October 2010, with 48,000 copies sold. The music came from an episode of the TV series Glee, which recreated several scenes from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including the opening credits, and featured Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf in cameo roles.
See also 
- "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (AA)". British Board of Film Classification. 1975-06-17. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p258
- Nixon's resignation speech can be heard on a radio in one scene.
- Henkin (1979), p. 16
- Harpole, Charles (5 November 1999). History of the American cinema. Charles Scribner's Sons; 1 edi. pp. 212–213. ISBN 978-0-684-80463-7.
- [David] (28 May 2008). Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avant-Garde. McFarland. p. 150. ISBN 978-0786434565.
- Hallenbeck, Bruce G. (13 May 2009). Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914–2008. McFarland. p. 110. ISBN 978-0786433322.
- [Raymond] (2 March 2009). The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity. Princeton University Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-0691141053.
- Porter, Prince, Darwin, Danforth (October 2003). Frommer's Great Britain. Frommer's. p. 200. ISBN 978-0764555664.
- Hadleigh, Boze (1 January 2001). The Lavender Screen – Updated. Citadel; Rev Upd edition. p. 132. ISBN 978-0806521992.
- "MICK ROCK". Official web site. 921 Associates, LLC. 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
- "Fox Celebrates 25 Years of Absolute Pleasure, Pop Culture Phenomenon and Midnight Classic" (Press release). RHPS Official Fan Site. 24 August 2000. Retrieved 13 June 2007.
- "RHPS regular showtimes". Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- Smith, Zach. "What keeps The Rocky Horror Picture Show flame burning for more than two decades in Raleigh?". Indy Week. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Official Website". The Rocky Horror Picture Show. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" © 1975 Houtsnede Maatschappij N.V. Renewed © 2003 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- Piro & Hess (1991), p. 77
- "RHPS Official Fan Site: News: Press Release". Retrieved 2 August 2010.
- Henkin (1979), p. 25
- Henkin (1979), p. 26
- Samuels (1983), p. 11
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Winters, Hughs, Jessica, Loyd. The Rough Guide to Film. Penguin publishing. p. 506. ISBN 978-1-4053-8498-8.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (13 September 1991). "'Rocky Horror' to 'Queen'". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show > Charts & Awards", Allmusic (Rovi Corporation), retrieved 3 October 2010
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show (album)", Australian charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 3 October 2010
- "The Rocky Horror Picture Show (album)", New Zealand charts portal (Hung Median), retrieved 3 October 2010
- Ruhlmann, William, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show > Review", Allmusic (Rovi Corporation), retrieved 3 October 2010
- Caulfield, Keith (27 October 2010). "Sugarland Tops Kings of Leon on Billboard 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
- Hallenbeck, Bruce (2009). Comedy-Horror Films. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3332-2.
- Harpole, Charles (1990). History of the American Cinema. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-80463-7.
- Henkin, Bill (1979). The Rocky Horror Picture Show Book. New York: Hawthorn Books. ISBN 978-0-8015-6436-9.
- Leitch, Thomas (2002). Crime Films. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64671-0.
- Piro, Sal; Hess, Michael (1991). The Official Rocky Horror Picture Show Audience Par-tic-i-pation Guide. London: Stabur Press. ISBN 0-941613-16-X.
- Samuels, Stuart (1983). Midnight Movies. New York: Collier Books. ISBN 0-02-081450-X.
- Sandys, Jon (2007). Movie Mistakes Take 5. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-7535-1113-8.
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- The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Internet Movie Database
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Box Office Mojo
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Metacritic