Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Special Edition

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was, and to some extent remains, the ultimate cult film. After flopping in its first run in 1975, it was quickly revived as a midnight movie, attracting a dedicated group of followers who would attend, talk back to, and reenact the movie on weekends. It appealed at first to a primarily gay crowd, then punks and college kids, before ultimately settling into a sort of rite of passage for suburban teens. Like all midnight movies, Rocky Horror suffered with the rising popularity of home video in the '80s, and much of its mystique was effectively killed off with its own video release in the early '90s. Still, the phenomenon continues, although a bit less vigorously, and to commemorate and cash in on this fact, Fox has just released a special edition of the film. Also available in widescreen, it features two scenes deleted—although widely available on bootlegs—from the original American version. One of the nice things about watching Rocky Horror on video is that you can actually enjoy the movie as a movie; without the competition of crowd noise, RHPS can be seen as a pretty good film. (And, if you've never seen it before, you can do so without being harassed by a bunch of territorial community-theater rejects.) A fast-paced pastiche of camp, science fiction, rock music, horror, and more camp, RHPS concerns the misadventures of the soon-to-be-married Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon). Stranded in a rainstorm, Bostwick and Sarandon find their way to a castle presided over by the sexually ambiguous Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) who's on the verge of creating the idealized male in the form of the title character. Also, Curry and his followers are from space, or something. The plot is only semi-comprehensible, but the nearly non-stop musical numbers—brilliant conflations of glam-rock and showtunes—and transgressive sexual energy keep things moving. With its fairly extreme but somehow cuddly take on sexual fluidity, it's easy to see why the appeal of RHPS hasn't waned, even if watching it in the privacy of your own home does kind of defeat the purpose. As for the extra scenes tacked on at the end, they're not terribly enlightening, simply a couple of minor musical moments, one of which extends the finale by a couple of minutes. Rocky completists will appreciate them, of course.


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