Sunday, February 13

Movies You Should Totally See: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

When you went to the movies in the 1970's, your chances where higher then any time in history that you'd end up at a movie which was completely batshit insane. It was a decade in which both the public and the filmmakers radically changed: the baby-boomer public was enjoying their new freedom and yearned for more intellectual fodder which they found in the works of Ingmar Bergmans and the French New Wave. The directors, on the other hand, scooped up every single movie they could find, and made some of the most innovative movies ever to come out of Hollywood. Many of these, like Easy Rider, The Godfather and Taxi Driver, are now regarded as some of the finest films of all time.

The new curiosity for things unseen (and more then a little weed) also led to the rise of the midnight movies. When the regular blockbusters had played and the patrons had left, some of the more cult-oriented movie theatres would play these movies. It was one of the least coherent movements in film history, if you can even call it that. Some of the most famous midnight movies include a Public Service Announcement turned unintentional comedy (Reefer Madness), a philosophical western (El Topo) and Earserhead, which I honestly can't describe as anything else then just that. But they all fade into nothing when compared to the most famous midnight movie of all time: The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror came out in 1975, and it flopped. The makers tried to re-release it as a double bill, and it flopped again. It wasn't until it hit the midnight circuit that something strange happened: the people who had seen it kept coming back. Week after week. And they started talking back at the movie. And dressing up like the characters. And dancing in front of the screen. A bona fide cult was born, and through the influence of these weirdos the movie hasn't been out of running since it was released. In fact, with more then 35 years of unbroken theatrical exhibition it's the longest running movie in cinema history.

So what is it exactly about this movie that makes it's fans so loyal? Well, not "quality" by any conventional standards, that's for sure. It has lousy special effects, generally mediocre acting and the production values aren't exactly staggering either. But that might just be why it works. Movies that we consider to be great usually loose their emotional impact after you've seen them 4 or 5 times, but Rocky Horror sidesteps that by being utterly devoid of things like "restraint" or "taste". It's surprising how much staying power Tim Curry in a corset has.

As seen here.

Another thing that makes this one of the most rewatchable films ever is that it's completely fuckballs insane. The plot doesn't make a sliver of sense: people come crashing out of freezers on motorcycles, even the straightest characters go bi and halfway through it's revealed that most of the cast are aliens. The main character is a transsexual mad scientist from Transsexual Transylvania (the planet Transsexual from the galaxy Transylvania, that is) who creates his own boyfriend, a sort of Aryan superman in a golden thong whose first reaction to being born is singing a song. Oh, did I mention it's a musical? Because it totally is.

It should be obvious by now that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not a film for everyone. If the things I've told you about it appeal to you, this is one that you honestly can't miss. But if it's all a little too strange for your tastes, there's always the new Justin Bieber movie.


Don't stop me! Don't stop me!

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