‘Rocky Horror’ warps traditional film experience

Photo courtesy of Intergalacticrobot

By Madalyn Watson | Reporter

Students are creating their costumes and preparing for festivities that occur only one night a year: Halloween. But there’s a place where people get dressed up and be themselves all year, and that’s at “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” performances.

The Waco Hippodrome offered showings of the iconic film on Oct. 26 and 27, complete with a live cast of Waco Civic Theatre actors.

The 1975 musical science-fiction horror-comedy film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” follows Brad and Janet, a newly engaged couple, on a strange and alarming adventure when their car breaks down in a storm. They enter a castle seeking refuge and a telephone to call a mechanic, where they meet Dr. Frank-n-Furter, an alien cross dresser disguised as a mad scientist.

Although the film was initially a commercial failure, it developed a cult following and fans started a tradition of lip syncing and miming the actions of the movie characters alongside the film, coining the term ‘shadow cast.’

Glenrose sophomore Jake Wasilchak attended the Hippodrome’s screening and shadow cast performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“I feel like I expected something more professional, but I walked away enjoying it more because it wasn’t,” Wasilchak said. “I really liked how silly the actors were playing with it and how much freedom they had with it.”

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” also involves audience participation. Audience members are encouraged to get up and dance to the “Time Warp,” one of the most popular songs from the film, along with the characters and shadow cast.

They are also encouraged to bring props to use during the movie like rubber gloves to snap when Dr. Frank-n-Furter snaps his own and rice to throw during a wedding scene. Some theaters like the Hippodrome sells prop bags to the audience before the show begins.

“It was really nice being able to interact with the show because you can’t do that when you’re just watching the movie [at home],” said Wasilchak.

Tomball sophomore Tahira Branch is also a fan of the film and plans on seeing a shadow cast production soon.

“Last year in October, somebody made a list of all the Halloween movies you should watch and I was like, ‘What is that?!’ And then my friend got really mad because I didn’t know what the movie was and he made me watch it,” said Branch.

The film is shocking to audiences who watch it without any explanation because of it’s ‘campy’ soundtrack and risqué subject matter.

“I was shook. I was like what is this movie cause some of the scenes just had me shook. I was very confused, not sure why anyone would make the movie. It was very risqué. And I watched it again, and I loved it. All is well that ends well,” Branch said.

Dallas senior Joy Schmitz attended a production of Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time in high school and has loved it ever since then. She explained that seeing it with the shadow cast and participating in the story was an amazing experience.

“Something about Rocky Horror, it’s not just watching the movie but watching it with other people not just friends, but people coming together and all watching this really crazy movie that in a weird way is kind of horrible, but is also so amazing and magic,” Schmitz said.

A major aspect of the film’s success is attributed to LGBTQ+ audiences because of its focus on individuality and acceptance.

“I feel like that the movie is a great outlet for people who are trying to understand themselves and find themselves. It’s a movie that just it is what it is and it accepts you for whoever you are, how weird you are,” Schmitz said. “It’s just a movie that is a fun time and has those themes, but isn’t too heavy handed about it.”