Since its debut in 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has remained a cultural phenomenon. This cult classic contains forward sexual content, as it’s a film about exploring sexualities, both intentionally and unintentionally. Although no direct nudity is present, everything from the song lyrics to the costumes are charged with sexual innuendos.
The film begins with bright red lips, mouthing the words to “Science Fiction, Double Feature”, the first of many songs in this film. These red lips become the symbol of this glam-rock, Bowie-esque classic.
The first scene opens with a wedding. Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and her partner Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) attend. Janet catches the bride’s bouquet and barely minutes later, Brad proposes. After the theatrical number between Janet and Brad, “Dammit, Janet”, this all-American couple is more than happy to be engaged.
On the way back from the wedding, their car gets a flat tire. Janet and Brad wander through the heavy rain towards a castle in the area, in hopes of borrowing a phone. Their simple request turns into a night not soon forgotten.
The owner of the castle is Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter (Tim Curry), an eccentric transgender scientist who houses a cast of original and peculiar characters. Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien), an Igor-esque character, greets Janet and Brad at the door. He leads the couple to a room where people in colourful costumes and tap shoes perform a dance number to “Time Warp”—the Rocky Horror anthem.
After the song, Janet and Brad are introduced to Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter. Frank ‘N’ Furter first appears in the antique elevator in nothing but a black robe, corset, thigh-high stockings, and sparkly platform pumps. This is one of Curry’s most iconic roles, for obvious reasons.
After a slew of colourful theatrics and lots of levers, buttons, and switches, Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s creation, Rocky (Peter Hinwood), comes to life in the pink-tiled laboratory. Emerging from a tank of rainbow water, a muscular, blond-haired, blue-eyed man in shiny gold briefs unravels. Frank ‘N’ Furter gets his wish: the perfect playmate.
Things become complicated after this. The guests in the house begin to systematically sleep with each other, marking the beginning of sexual openness and the end of chastity for Janet and Brad.
No character goes unnoticed in this film. Although the plot can become lost in the throes of sexual play, costume changes, and catchy songs, all unanswered questions become clear as the film progresses.
And what’s a mid-1970s film without murder? Ice picks, sci-fi laser beams, and water initiate death throughout the movie. Non-fatal violence comes forth in the film, as whips and crotch-kicking cause harm to certain characters.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a parody of the old-fashioned, haunted-house horror genre. Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s castle shelters the strange, the unwanted, and the pure. This glam-rock cult classic was the first of its kind to explore androgyny, sexuality, and relationships, making it one of the most memorable films of its time.
So, give yourself over to absolute pleasure. Grab a costume and some black eyeliner as you openly explore your individuality alongside Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter and his odd cast of friends.