I always wanted to be Magenta. I once wore the French maid costume to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show back in Bowling Green, Ohio. (And no, you can’t see the pictures.) This Friday, September 26, marks the birthday of a penultimate cult classic, released back in 1975. The day exists for me as a reminder of a film that just won’t die—that has followed me since junior high and black hair, through high school and cigarettes, then past college and into my so-called current “professional” existence. It is a film that I still love and watch repeatedly during the month of October every year, with the same dedication most people devote to The Christmas Story, come December. It is a film that I will always love, and I don’t care if you hate it.
Rocky Horror Picture Show is about sex. I mean, at its basest level, that’s the theme. It’s the story of Brad and Janet—a newly engaged, innocent young couple, on a road trip to visit Dr. Everett Scott, who set them up in college. They get a flat tire, and they find themselves smushed into the middle of a heinous Transylvanian celebration of transvestites, bisexuality, and human cloning. Swirling in the center of this is TIM CURRY, otherwise known as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. (Sigh.) I love Tim Curry. My personal obsession began with RHPS and increased with Clue. I mean, who knew a man could look so good in a corset and fishnets?Rocky Horror is not only a deluge of sexual deviance, though. It’s also a musical, and for something so horrendously low budget, the music is good. And hey, I’m a musician! I’m judgmental to a fault, but I still coo like a baby bird every time Frank-N-Furter hits that first note of “Sweet Transvestite.” I still dance around my house, hands in the air, when Janet belts, “Touch-a-touch-a-touch-a-touch me!” And I do believe “There’s a light over at the Frankenstein place…”
When I was first introduced to this film, I was a struggling teenager. I was in seventh grade. I was awkward, miserable, and wearing Kurt Cobain t-shirts that would have fit a Steelers linebacker. I had black hair. I smoked Newports. I wore big, heavy work boots, and I did anything I could to tick off my parents and society. Yet I found a circle of friends. And why? Because I found friends who were freaks for Rocky Horror Picture Show. And I fit in! The movie drew us, and by drawing us, the movie drew us together. Maybe that’s what all cult classics do—find the freaks and bind us like the One Ring of Power.
I’m thankful for Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m thankful that I found such a funny flick and fellow freak friends. I’m thankful that I still love this film and that I still own it—VHS, DVD, and soundtrack. So on this fine September day, I wish to say, “Happy Birthday, Rocky Horror!” You’re getting older, and so am I. So is Meatloaf. So is Susan Sarandon. But you’re still just as funny. Still just as freaky. Still doing the Time Warp.
If you haven’t revisited Rocky Horror recently, why not do it this weekend? Like the doctor ordered: “A mental mind f@#$ can be nice…”