The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (R)

The biggest cult movie of all time, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" stands as a complicated and beloved mess of a film that has baffled and enlightened thousands of viewers over the years since its release. The fervor surrounding this film is so incredible that it's almost a little nerve-wracking trying to place ideas on paper about the movie. First of all, it's a lot to take in. For those uncomfortable with any sort of "absolute pleasure", you probably won't like the flick. For the rest of us, the movie is high-octane, mercilessly funny, sexually provocative, evocative, and perhaps the most perfect of all entertainment movies. It grips you by your throat, throttles you into submission and by the time it's all over, you may find yourself wearing fish-net stockings and black stilettos.
The movie begins as two love birds get engaged. Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) are traveling out in the country and they lose their way. With a flat tire and no where to spend the night, they try their luck at an old castle that appears to be hosting a motorcycle rally. Greeted by an Igor-type character, Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien, the man behind the penning of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"), the two seem vastly uncomfortable in this setting, and it only gets worse as they are introduced to the guests who start dancing "The Time Warp".
All of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is told to us in a flashback form with The Criminologist (Charles Gray) giving us information about the castle and letting us know what means what. One would assume that in a perfect setting, O'Brien would have chosen to omit this character completely; but since this is a very controversial movie, we are given a little more conservative implications from this character. Though he probably isn't necessary to the film, he is one of the more enjoyable aspects of it.
As Brad and Janet try to find a telephone to call for help, Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry all gussied up in this iconic role) drops in on them. With rapid singing, quick dance moves, and a screw-you attitude, Dr. Furter doesn't give the couple that much time to think before he gets his servants to remove their clothing. Now in their underwear, the good doctor escorts them to his laboratory where he shows them his creation. A super sexual, well-built, blonde muscle boy emerges from a mummy-like wrapping, clearly only there to provide the doctor.
But nothing ever goes according to plan and so the situations devolves into utter, sexual madness. We have thrown at us with no hesitancy or shame pansexuality, bisexuality, orgies, transvestism, and the thought that the sexually "loose" are often happier.
You can imagine how improper this might be to viewers, even to critics (who most always try to keep an open mind). The film was not a great success upon its first release but has won the hearts of many a waster-pistol-squirting theater everywhere.
This movie is to the film world what The Mousetrap is to theater.
So how can it be likable? It just is. Tim Curry gives a star performance as the manic doctor and his supporting cast seem just as involved in this odd little picture as he does. What makes it so unique and so...itself, is the trust all the actors place in the hands of director Jim Sharman and he doesn't fumble. The brash, colorful, vulgar way that the film jumps from scene to scene is nothing short of electrifyingly entertaining. I can't recall a single boring moment in the film.
Mocking old B-movies, references are made to "King Kong" and "The Forbidden Planet", "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is a musical slice of madness.
If you like that sort of thing, you'll love this...I did.

Score: ★★★★

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