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Meat Loaf's cult classic
by Asa Butcher
2007-09-27 08:47:22
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The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Directed by Jim Sharman
20th Century Fox, 1975

Following ten days of watching 1950's sci-fi movies, I decided to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show for both a break and further research for a Meat Loaf 60th birthday tribute article. It was with a sense of irony that the opening song to the film is "Science Fiction - Double Feature", which is a tribute to various sci-fi movies, such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, It Came From Outer Space, Forbidden Planet and When Worlds Collide.

My Meat Loaf birthday tribute has now become a review of one of the strangest musicals ever to grace our screens. The words 'cult' and 'classic' were destined to be joined forever whenever anybody discusses The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so let's begin by saying: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic that was one of the first movies in which Marvin (now Michael) Lee Aday, a.k.a, Meat Loaf, appeared.

Two years before the release of the biggest selling album of all time Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell, Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharman decided to take The Rocky Horror Show from the stage and adapt it for the screen, thereby creating a musical masterpiece that will leave you dazed, confused and with the song "Time Warp" playing endlessly in your head… It's just a jump to the left… And then a step to the right!

When I first came to Finland in 1998 I was at a party where somebody happened to switch on the television and The Rocky Horror Picture Show was on. I made a comment and the group of curious Finns kept watching, they would look at me with puzzled expressions and then turn back to the screen. I think the TV stayed on for ten minutes before Tim Curry's self-proclaimed "Sweet Transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania", Richard O'Brien's Riff Raff the Transylvanian groupies all became too much.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, the film begins with Brad (Barry Bostwick) proposing to Janet (a 29-year-old Susan Sarandon), who get a flat tyre during a thunderstorm. They arrive at Dr. Frank-N-Furter's (Tim Curry) castle on the night of an annual convention of visitors from the planet Transsexual. Frank-N-Furter unveils his creation, a muscular mute young man named Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood), but Rocky is frightened, like us all, of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

It is Tim Curry's brilliance that brings the transvestite/mad scientist to life, which in turn heightens the film's qualities. Curry's antics and performance are so outrageous that you cannot help but enjoy every minute he appears on screen, plus his exotic costumes may have some of the guys questioning their own sexuality! Moving on… it was interesting to read that Mick Jagger had wanted to play Dr. Frank N. Furter in the film version and we can only imagine how he would have sung "Sweet Transvestite".

The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been shown continually in cinemas since its release in 1975, which makes it the longest theatrical run in history, and the famous red lips on the poster have become iconic, but putting all of that to one side and returning to the inspiration that triggered the review: Meat Loaf's 60th birthday.

Within Hollywood the Loaf may be better known as the big-breasted Robert Paulson in David Fincher's Fight Club or Tiny in Wayne's World, but it was RHPS that served the first portion 22 years ago as Eddie, the ex delivery boy. Meat Loaf literally smashed on to the scene by driving a motorbike through a freezer door and performing an amazing rendition of "Hot Patootie (Whatever Happened to Saturday Night?)", although it was disappointing to learn that a stunt double was used in the motorcycle scenes except for the close-ups; Meat Loaf was pushed in a wheelchair for those scenes.

Should you ever find The Rocky Horror Picture Show on late one night then do yourself a favour and watch it, immerse yourself in this crazy parody of horror and sci-fi, because you won't regret it – love it or hate it, it will be a cinematic experience and that's what it is all about.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies

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