A fifteen year old naive, sheltered girl has a slumber party at her friend Sunshine's house. Sunshine's parents were hippies- their home was filled with bright colors, Grateful Dead posters, and smelled of patchouli. They were free spirits and very open with their children. I adored them and loved spending time with them, even though Sunshine was embarrassed of them. Much to the dismay of Sunshine, her parents convinced us to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show with them. I was mesmerized. I didn't quite understand what I was watching but the one thing that I knew was that it had changed my life. The way that I looked at others and alternative lifestyles was forever altered- my mind was opened and I was never going back.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was taboo and only shown in eight theaters when it came out in 1975. Following America's free love, anti-war, 1960's we just weren't ready for the radical ideas expressed in RHPS. The Rocky Horror Picture show represented America's obsession with excess. In 1975 America was at the bough of a sexual revolution; we were beginning to accept our sexual desires and alternative lifestyles as being no longer "in the closet" but we were not quite prepared for the manifestation of such ideas in a motion picture.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is far from a horror movie (although the movie title is quite ironic). RHPS (in essence) is about a scientist who encourages all who enter his mansion to express their innermost desires... the forbidden- sex, aggression, homosexuality, and transsexualism.
A brief breakdown of the characters:
Dr. Frank n Furter: the scientist- a transexual sexually agressive extraterrestrial from "Transexual Transylvania"
Brad Majors: the hero- a brave young man who is newly engaged and sexually confused
Janet Wiess: the virgin- a newly engaged naive young woman who is open to sexual experimentation who becomes insatiable once she tastes it. (And the beginning of my love affair with Susan Sarandon)
Magenta: the maid- Magenta is from the planet Transexual and longs to go home. She is protective of her brother Riff Raff and waits on Frank n Furter hand and foot. She is rude, obnoxious, and pushy.
Columbia: the groupie- Columbia is the only human character. She is love struck with Frank n Furter but her feelings are not returned.
Riff Raff: the handyman- Riff Raff will do anything for acceptance. He is obsessed with his sister (Magenta) and wants nothing more than Frank n Furter's happiness.
Rocky: the creation- Frank n Furter created Rocky as his "boy toy." Rocky is beautiful and represents sexual desire.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show truly foreshadowed what life in America would become. When it was released in 1975, RHPS was considered ridiculous, raunchy, and taboo. It remained an underground film for many years due to this. Dr. Frank n Furter not only participated in homosexuality, transsexualism, and promiscuity... he promoted it. He even actively pushed to conform those around him and created Rocky, a living representation of sexual desire. Brad and Janet stumble upon the castle as innocent, newly engaged virgins. They know very little about life and are completely sexually blind. Their experiences in the castle change them forever and open them up to their hidden sexual wants and needs. Both lose their virginity and participate in multiple situations of moral debauchery and leave the castle "reborn" (quite literally, as they 'fall' out of the bottom of the castle as it is lifted into outer space).
Janet's character represented all that Americans were not willing to confront in 1975. Janet was naive and believed that as a woman, all that she should desire was to be married and live her life as the housewife of a successful businessman- a Stepford wife. Janet entered the castle in a button up blouse, sweater, knickers, and mary janes and left in only her bra and panties. All inhibitions lost. Janet's angst driven sexual ballad "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" was monumental. She finally ditched the innocence and succumbed to her innermost desires... seducing Rocky and becoming the feminist heroine of the picture in the process.
Basically, The Rocky Horror Picture Show helped to open my mind to new things. I started asking questions about sexuality and alternative lifestyles (I also hate that term. Why does it have to be considered an 'alternative' lifestyle?). I realized that I no longer wanted to be a naive little girl. I wanted to travel, meet people, eat, learn, love, and live.
So for this I say, "Thank you Richard O'Brien, I love you Tim Curry, and YOU FUCKING ROCK Susan Sarandon!"
Let's commence the Time Warp fellow Transylvanians.