Title: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Dir.: Jim Sharman
Producer(s): Lou Adler, Michael White
Writer(s): Richard O’Brien (based on original theatre production with lyrics, etc), Jim Sharman
Company: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Little Nell/Nell Campbell, Meatloaf, Charles Gray.
“I would like to… if I may… take you on a very strange journey.”
What is there to say about a film that is in the National Film Registry/Library of Congress in 2005?
It’s a cult film.
It’s a cult classic.
It’s pop culture.
It definitely pushed a lot of buttons for subject matter weaved into scifi, comedy and horror. And oh yeah, it’s a musical.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been parodied many times, referenced many times, it even got its own episode of Glee. But besides the film’s influence into the LGBTQ(+) community, musical genre and mixing its own wackiness, there’s some very cool and interesting directional work as well as cinematography throughout.
If you know me and this blog by now, you know that what I absolutely love is color and the use of color and lighting. And this movie does not disappoint. If you don’t believe me, please watch the opening credits sequence where there’s nothing but red lips and pearly whites (Patricia Quinn) lip syncing (to O’Brien’s voice) and it’s amazing, it’s iconic, it sets a definite tone.
Throughout the film, everything about it goes from light hearted, playful, romantic environment in the beginning to darkness, dirty, intensity and the lighting, use of colors and patterns come into play. I think the settings and the cinematography is almost like an Alice in Wonderland or fairy tale situation where the main protagonist(s) are thrust into a world that is not their own.
I want to briefly talk about one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Granted I love the entire movie but the moment when “Time Warp” ends and we are immediately introduced to Dr. Frank-n-Furter (Curry), and the back and forth shots of the elevator behind Brad (Bostwick) and Janet (Sarandon) coming down with Furter’s heel tapping is… there’s something about that scene. It’s little things like that which makes me appreciate this movie from a filmmaking/artistic standpoint.
There’s some wonderful color use of bright whites, reds and pinks. It’s as if the background work is also another character. The sets as in the laboratory, the stage towards the end of the film, the small bedroom that Columbia (Nell) and Magenta (Quinn) has its own character and life on the movie.
I would also like to give a shout out to the costume work as well. Costume design is another form of creativity and art and creating a look for a character which, just like the background and sets, is very important.
If you like musicals or rock operas and you’ve never seen this movie, take the chance and check it out. There’s a reason why this movie (with the help of audiences supporting it and also the audience dressing up (cosplay before cosplay was a thing) and participating throughout the movie) has been referenced so many times. The impact of this movie hasn’t been lost since its debut in 1975.
Also, check out the many references thrown into the opening song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” of B Movies from Doctor X, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Tarantula, King Kong (1933), It Came from Outer Space, The Invisible Man, Curse of the Demon, When Worlds Collide and many more sci-fi/horror films of classic Hollywood. These films are pretty cool and weird on their own accord.
I own this movie on dvd and as well as vhs (a part of my large horror vhs collection) and this movie doesn’t bore me, hasn’t lost its “flavor”.
I don’t think it can to be honest.