Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Attending a midnight showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" is something I can now cross off the things-I-want-to-do-before-I-die list. Don't misunderstand: I watched this on DVD in my living room, not at a movie theater. And it's not a judgment of the film itself, which was easy to like and a lot better than I expected. It's that, based on the evidence (reading about the film online, watching the modern-day interviews on the DVD, and most damningly, listening to the "audience participation" bonus audio track on the DVD), it sounds like a miserable experience. If I understand correctly, the fans used to recite the lines and sings the songs and play out the gags in unison, with the joy of shared experience. At some point in the nineties, probably with the 1993 home video release, it devolved into a mad cacophony of people shouting at the screen. Listen to that "audience participation" track for yourself and ask if you can make out A) any dialogue whatsoever from the film, or worse B) anything being said by the fans. I lasted through thirty seconds before the sound of a hundred (?) people all shouting different things at once was more than my patience could bear.

What's good about the tradition continuing is that new generations will still be exposed to this wonderful movie that almost no one would see if it were not, by now, an institution. The songs are still just as weird as they ever were, the performances (especially the hedonistic Tim Curry) are just as hilarious, and the movie is just as much silly fun. Obviously the songs succeed as camp, but some of them also work just as straightforward songs, especially the transcendent "Floor Show" sequence. My only complaint is the lack of dialogue between many of the songs, such that we're still reeling from the last big number when the next one starts, but Frank would agree with me that too much of a good thing is a good thing. I'm glad to have seen the film the way that I did.

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