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The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

  Directed by: Jim Sharman
Written by: Richard O'Brien
Starring: Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry, Meat Loaf, Richard O'Brien, Susan Sarandon
Links: The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Musical

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) is also mentioned in mino's review of Clue (1985).

"Camp, quirky, kinky (and kinda crappy) cult classic" - a review by mino

It's probably fair to say that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is very nearly one of the most-loved 'cult films' ever made. A lot of people can recite the movie off by heart: a large number of people still turn up to cinemas the world over for regular screenings, where they dress up their favourite characters (the weirdos). I mean, apart from The Blues Brothers (1980), I can't think of one other film that has such a following.

It would seem that the fact that the movie is fundamentally fairly awful has either not yet dawned on these people, or they don't care. I think it's fair to say that it's more likely the latter, and there's a good reason for this: it's because, crap though Rocky Horror may be, it's such good fun that you don't really care.

The plot, for the four remaining blind/deaf/mute Kyrgystani yak-herders on this planet who haven't seen it, revolves around Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), a happy young couple who get stranded in the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down, and come across a creepy castle — which, rather than being populated by ghosts and ghouls, is the venue for a song-laden Transylvanian party led by the singing, dancing, cross-dressing Dr. Frank N Furter, his henchman Riff-Raff and a miscellaneous cast of musical weirdos.

So what's wrong with it? Well, the acting is crap, for a start. I have never liked Sarandon; I am quite sure that I never will, either. She's the female Nick Nolte (or maybe vice-versa) — she's just painful to watch as she grunts, pants, and goggle-eyes her way across the screen like a monkey with Grave's disease making an obscene phone call. I'll try and put my loathing of Sarandon aside, but even so, though I'm well aware that the movie is supposed to be over-the-top, the acting from most of the people in it is moderately-to-very awful. In fact, only two performances really stand out: Tim Curry as the good doctor is hilariously camp and just a little bit creepy (and, just between you and me, has great legs), and Richard O'Brien as Riff-Raff (he also wrote the original stage play) is so brilliantly nasty, in a pantomime-villian sort of way, that he really steals the show.

Apart from the acting, there are a slew of other problems: the production values are kind of shoddy and unprofessional, the dialogue at times bad even for a deliberately-clichéd movie, the pacing is quite awkward, and the plot (well… what passes for one) is tenuous at best. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Whether or not you like musicals (and I'll tell you right here and now: I can't stand them), the musical numbers in Rocky Horror are brilliant, toe-tapping fun. Time Warp is obviously the one that most people remember fondly, but there are some even better songs, like Sweet Transvestite, Toucha Toucha Touch Me, and the fantastic Damn It Janet (my personal pick for best song in the movie). They're cornball and kitsch, but damn they're fun.

If I had to criticise the songs, I would point out that almost all of the best songs occur in the first half-hour or so of the movie: from there, the quality drops off markedly. But given how enjoyable the first half-dozen or so are, who cares?

All up, Rocky Horror is great fun. It's not for everyone, that's for sure; some people no doubt can't stand it but, hey, if you've got nothing better to do on a Saturday night, invite some friends around and sing along.

A final thought: it says something about a movie that it doesn't even run off the rails when Meat Loaf turns up. A rare feat indeed.

mino gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 11 Oct 2002

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Reader comments

  1. I love this movie, I think that Tim Curry is brilliant. As bad as the special effects and acting is (I agree that Sarandon is too over-the-top) You can't help but get into the music of Rocky Horror

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from Cristi on Sat 04 Oct 2003 13:00 #

  2. Brilliant,

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from lisa on Sun 04 Apr 2004 07:40 #

  3. I love this movie I have the whole thing memorized! ^_^ Its to coolest! There should be a sequal! Hey do you know where I can get some Music URLs for the songs on the movie to play on my xanga journal? Please send me some if you know any!!! I love this movie Rif Raf is the greatest. "Im just a sweet transvestite". Ta Ta
    Krystel Hartwick

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Krystel Hartwick on Wed 09 Jun 2004 03:21 #

  4. I just wanna say to krystel hartwick: THERE IS A SEQUAL!!
    It's called shock treatment. It's not as good as the first one i've heard but go see it anyway.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from rockchicken on Thu 15 Jul 2004 12:41 #

  5. This is the best movie along with Fight Club and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory other fab. cult classics. Everyone should she this movie!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Symantha on Fri 17 Feb 2006 05:16 #

  6. I would think that it was fairly obvious that, as a satire, the acting is supposed to be over-the-top, the scenes are supposed to be shoddy, and the music is supposed to be bad. Anyone who cannot figure that out should certainly not be reviewing movies.

    A comment from Omnipresent Doormat on Fri 07 Apr 2006 06:05 #

  7. it is awsome

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from kirsten on Thu 20 Apr 2006 20:12 #

  8. I once saw parts of this movie when I had to watch it and get some tips out of it. I get to play Riff-Raff witch is awesome. The lines and the names in the plap are different: for eg... Riff-Raff is named Igor, The transvetine dude, Professor Fenton and the guy that Barry Bostwicks plays is name Daniel Stoker.

    Anyways I'd rate this a one of a kind music (although Susan Saradon is kinda bad at acting her part, she over-does it.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Stewart on Wed 21 Jun 2006 19:54 #

  9. best movie ever , don't care what anyone else says

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from gabzie on Mon 14 Aug 2006 18:07 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.75 (8 ratings)

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