The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Dir. Jim Sharman (1975)
A newly betrothed couple's car breaks down beside a big castle run by aliens who are trying to get back to the planet Transsexual.
Cult films are really an interesting phenomenon. Most of the time, films that are underappreciated in the time in which they are made that end up becoming cult classics do so for their prescience or their appeal to a specific genre's followers that may have initially gone unnoticed. 1975's The Rocky Horror Picture Show has neither of those things in particular, and yet it's probably the most famous cult classic movie of all time. Why? There is absolutely nothing about this movie that should work. Read that synopsis up above again. It's a castle run by aliens. A castle. Run by aliens. Who are trying to get back to their planet Transsexual. IN 1975! And yet, the humor in the film was equal to or better than any musical ever made, and the unique plot and appeal to the underrepresented queer counterculture has made it stand the test of time. With shows still playing weekly in theaters across the country, filled with crossdressing patrons and ridiculous props, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest running theatrical film in history.
Normally I like to break down the film a little, give you folks a general rundown of what to expect if you're watching the film for the first time. If you're reading this, I have a hard time believing that you haven't seen it before, but if for some reason you haven't, here's what I want you to do: find the nearest theater that plays this movie, likely in the closest big city to you, and find your friend who is really into this movie. I promise you that you have one, even if you don't already know it. Make sure that whoever you pick has done this before. Now take them with you to a showing. They're going to have you bring a bag filled with toast, playing cards, and an assortment of other things that you've never taken into a movie theater before, and you're going to begin to question their sanity. Now go see the movie and you'll understand why every person you meet seems to have a weird sexual attraction to Tim Curry.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is wonderfully performed, uproariously funny, and weird as all hell. It's a movie that is impossible to believe actually got made just on the sheer insanity of its plot, but there is nothing about this movie that is not absolutely brilliant. The musicality is phenomenal, the acting performances truly legendary, and it's one of the funniest and most clever movies ever put on film. It's also an incredibly divisive movie in that you either get it or you don't. If you watch this movie and hate it, chances are pretty good that you're not going to like it after your thousandth viewing. But if you get it... Oh, man, if you get it, it's gonna click with you in a way that almost no other film will ever click.
Launching the careers of the aforementioned Curry, Barry Bostwick, and Susan Sarandon, Rocky Horror was smart enough to deliver some funny lyrics, some interesting set pieces, and then get the fuck out of the way and let them do what they do. It's a weird cross-section of horror, science fiction, and golden age Hollywood, and it somehow blends those genres together into this delicious, bizarre mishmash that works on all levels. By the time the end credits role in a reprise of the title theme, you're ready to start it all over again just so you can add all of the songs to your Spotify.
There are very few films that you can say singlehandedly changed society for the better, and Rocky Horror is one of them. The representation of gay and trans people in this film was revolutionary, and that's exactly what this film brought to the world in 1975. It was a social and cultural revolution, bringing young and old together to appreciate a movie that they wouldn't have even considered if it were presented in any other way. Every single time I watch this movie, and I've seen it at least a hundred times, I am still flabbergasted as to who let this happen and why don't they do it more often. It's a lightning-in-a-bottle film, one that has never and will never be duplicated. And it's a perfect way to send yourself into Halloween.
Who this movie is for: Musical fans, Horror/sci-fi lovers, Fay Wray
Bottom line: There has never been another film like this made anywhere in the world. Rocky Horror is brilliant satire, groundbreaking social commentary, and hilarious. Every performance is near perfect, the songs are delightful, and there's nothing on Earth (or Transsexual) that is quite like going to see Rocky Horror at a live midnight showing. If you haven't done it before and you like the movie, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you've never seen the movie, going to an theatrical show is exactly how you should do it. Check out this link for live showings in your area and have a fantastic Halloween!