By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton
The original cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is a sight to behold with kickass music, costumes, set design, and more. This film really rocked (pun intended) the film industry by becoming one of the first films to develop a cult following. For today’s literal Time Warp Tuesday it’s time to look at how this film became the cult classic it is today.
Just in case you haven’t seen Rocky Horror (which if that is the case, what have you been doing with your life up until now?) I will recap it for you. A young, newly engaged couple, Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick), approach a castle on a dark stormy night in search of a telephone after one of the tires on their car blows out. They are welcomed inside by handyman Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) where they meet mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry, who later played Pennywise in the original It). From this point forward all kinds of strange happenings occur.
This film started out as a stage play under the title The Rocky Horror Show. The “picture” portion of the title was added for the film adaption. It was written by Richard O’Brien in London in the 1970s where he was inspired by science fiction and B horror movies. After its large success on stage, it was turned into a film.
When the film first opened it did not draw large audiences. In fact, many early showings got cancelled. But once it was relaunched as a midnight film starting at the Waverly Theater in New York City that all began to change.
Not only did the film become a big hit, but a very large, committed fan base began to form. People started coming to the theater dressed as the characters, performing callbacks to what’s happening on the screen, and throwing objects such as toast and toilet paper. Another staple of Rocky Horror showings are shadow casts who act out the film.
Now, midnight showings of Rocky Horror are a regular occurrence in countless theaters across the country. There are even Rocky Horror conventions as the fan base has grown only larger and more committed as the years have gone by. Fans seem to really connect with this film in a way that you don’t see with many other films.
The massive cult following that this film has gained made way for other cult films such as The Room and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show really did change the film industry by creating this new participatory way to enjoy your favorite film. In a sense, it created its own genre of cult films with its signature showings and dedicated fan base that have become synonymous with the words The Rocky Horror Picture Show.