1975 was a year of landmark movies — “Jaws” transformed Hollywood, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” won the top five Oscars and “Dog Day Afternoon” is just really good and you should all watch it. But 1975 Hollywood is also known for spurning the most widely known cult classic of all time, Jim Sharman’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a campy musical tribute to B-movies from the late ‘30s to the early ‘70s and is based on the British stage production, “The Rocky Horror Show.”
Despite its limited budget (only $1.4 million, a small amount even in 1970s dollars), the legacy of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has transcended generations and continues to do so, as the longest-running film in the history of cinema. It stars Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter (“Sweet Transvestite”), Susan Sarandon as Janet and Barry Bostwick as Brad (“Slut” and “Asshole” respectively, according to fans), with a special appearance by Meatloaf.
Beginning in 1976 with the rerelease of the film as a midnight movie, Saturday evenings with “Rocky” became a worldwide tradition. Typically, fans dress up as characters from or inspired by the film — generally some form of lingerie with excessive makeup and/or glitter — with props in tow (toilet paper, water guns for rain scenes, candy, etc.). The tried and true tradition usually consists of “Shadow Casts” — fans who act out the entire film, word for word, just below the screen — and audience participation including, but not limited to, the use of the aforementioned props.
The last Saturday of every month, Cinema Saver — a discounted second-run theater in Endicott – holds a midnight screening of “Rocky Horror,” with the Vestal Violators serving as the shadow cast.
Last Saturday evening’s performance began with an impromptu dance party, courtesy of Psy and a 2000s boy band that sounded suspiciously like NSYNC. There was then a pre-show, titled “Cunnilingus Class” where the vagina was equated to a snowflake — each one is unique — and provided detailed instructions on pleasuring women. The show began just after 1 a.m. because of the abundance of “virgins” in the audience. About 30 people, all marked with a scarlet “V” on his or her forehead, marched upon order to the front of the theater to show off their best fake orgasm. Following this tradition was a reading, by one of the virgins, of an erotica passage and the popping of real cherries on a white sheet. And then it was time to begin.
Rotating between actors, the cast continually engaged with the audience by running around and through the aisles, simulating Dr. Frank N. Furter’s numerous trysts through a sheet and helping the audience to dance “The Time Warp.” There was a brochure provided by the Violators, with a list of rules and “A Virgin’s Guide to Looking Less Like a Noob.” Here are a few key tips: “1. While you’re up there [for the virgin sacrifice], be bold — be daring. And above all, be memorable (And remember, orgasms and constipation don’t sound the same). 2. Whenever Brad is introduced by name, yell “Asshole!” 3. Whenever Janet is introduced by name, yell “Slut!” “There’s a light” means shine your cell phones. 4. “ … in the darkness” means turn off your cell phone.”
The Cinema Saver will be hosting a special Halloween screening of the film this Friday at midnight. For just seven dollars, you too can experience the wonder that is a singing Nigel Thornberry clad in a corset and higher stilettos that even the most skilled Weekend Warriors would deign to wear.