Don’t Dream It, Be It: Behind the Scenes of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

At the theatre camp where I spent my summers, if you didn’t know all the words and choreography to The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “The Time Warp” you were automatically an outsider. Inversely, over in the real world, when I requested the DJ play the song at my eighth grade Halloween dance, I found myself alone on the dance floor in a sad attempt to get my clearly confused and scoffed peers to join in. No one cared.

But as one of the most fabulously wonderful films of the 1970s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was more than just a sexual science fiction B-movie musical, it was an experience—a cultural monument and iconic still to this day.


Originally created for the London stage my Richard O’Brien—who also takes on the role of the bizarrely sexy hunchback butler Riff Raff—when the musical’s Jim Sharman film adaptation opened in theaters in 1975 the audience was small and the reception dismal. Starring the ever-brilliant Tim Curry as the cross-dressing scientist wonder Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the film tells the story of conservative couple Brad and Janet (played by Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) who find themselves at the door of a isolated mansion after their car breaks down. Once inside the sinister and strange house, they’re forced to stay the night and the rest is all a tap-dancing and sequined psychosexual subversion from their social normalities and a masterpiece of lurid song and dance.

After the film’s initial flop, a 20th Century-Fox had the smart idea of releasing the film as a midnight movie—and as we all now know, it was a smash. Although a lesser scale than throughout the 1980s, audiences are still lining up around the block to catch a12 o’clock showing of the picture, dressed in their best garter belts and boas, water pistols and glitter in hand. In writing about the film, Roger Ebert noted that it was, “not so much a movie as more of a long-running social phenomenon.” And he’s right.


So now, as its almost Friday and the perfect time to indulge in a little Rocky Horror debauchery yourself, check out a behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Enjoy.


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