Stuff I Watch in October: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rocky Horror Picture Show

DIRECTED BY: Jim Sharman, who had a better more extensive career managing the stage than he did as a filmmaker.

WHAT IS IT?: Based on Richard O’Brien’s stage musical of the same name, the film is a satire and celebration of unbridled, uninhibited, unashamed sexuality disguised as a parody of cheesy, exploitative sci-fi/grindhouse fare that was shown to audiences in midnight movie exhibitions.

THE PLOT: It stars Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors and Susan Surandon as Janet Weiss, an engaged couple who end up getting lost while on the road and finding themselves at a strange castle in the middle of a wooded area. Inside is a party, run by the enigmatic transvestite “Dr. Frank-n-furter” (Tim Curry) who shows the couple that their small world where only the two of them exist could be much bigger if they just open their minds.

Relaying any more of the plot for this film would be meaningless because a) there’s a LOT of musical numbers and 2) the overall “plot” is basically what I just described and nothing more.

WHAT CRITICS THOUGHT: It appears as though critical opinion was mixed. Roger Ebert got it but only gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, remarking that Tim Curry was the best part of the film and that the production worked better on a stage than it did in a film. Other critics ranged from calling it quirky and fun to dubbing it absolutely pointless and dull, which one would expect.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I first saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on VH1 late one night in October. I wasn’t completely in love with it. It was a strange film to me. A couple decades later, having experienced life and made friends of different stripes, it’s still not a TOTAL favorite of mine but I see the appeal in it.

For what it’s worth, the movie features some of the best musical numbers of any movie musical ever. Standouts include “Dammit, Janet”, “Hot Patootie” (performed by Meat Loaf, one of the stars of the film), “Time Warp” and the crown jewel, “Sweet Transvestite”, performed by the great Tim Curry.

The unfortunate thing about the film, however, is that it wears out its welcome after the initial charm wears off and gets weaker as it goes along. After a stellar first half, everything sort of calms down and the movie becomes somewhat boring and tedious before picking up again for a nice musical climax.

Overall, this isn’t MY favorite movie but I do love what it attempted to be.

GRADE: B-.

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