“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the Most Important Cult Film Ever Made

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more, and you’ll also get a free $5 credit! “I would like, if I may, to take you on a
strange journey.” What makes a cult classic? There seems to be no exact definition that
everyone agrees on, but the general consensus is that it is a creative work that transcends
its original failings to become an iconic piece of fiction with a passionate fanbase. So something like Star Wars would hardly be
considered to be a cult classic, because despite having a widespread and loyal community of
fans, the film was a smash success with both critics and audiences alike upon release. Whereas something like “Fight Club” failed
miserably when first released, but after years of retrospective viewing is now widely considered
to be a cinematic masterpiece. Films like Blade Runner, or Evil Dead that
weren’t understood or appreciated in their own time but through a loyal and passionate
community of supporters who spread the film through word of mouth, continue to reach a
wider audience with each passing year. And whether we’re talking about a misunderstood
masterpiece like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the “so-bad-it’s-good” films like “The Room”,
every cult classic offers something different than the regular theater fare of its day and
stands the test of time precisely for that reason. But among the vast array of films now considered
to be cult classics, none have had the same long lasting impact or cultural significance
as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Originally a stage production called “The
Rocky Horror Show”, it premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London, in 1973. Richard O’Brien, was an unemployed actor who
began working on the script as a way to keep himself occupied during a harsh winter. It was born out of his love for the iconic
Hammer horror films and B-movie sci-fi classics like Tarantula and Forbidden Planet, mashed
together with the bubble-gum rock of the 1950’s as well as the burgeoning glam rock scene
of the 1970’s. He brought his script to Australian director
Jim Sharman, who had garnered acclaim for his work on Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. The musical was an immediate and smash success,
consistently filling out the capacity of the Royal Court Theatre before moving on to larger
venues like the King’s Road Theater, where it eventually caught the eye of Lou Adler;
a reknowned record producer who had worked with Carole King and The Mamas and The Papas,
who secured the American theatrical rights to the musical and brought it to the Roxy
Theater in Los Angeles, premiering in 1974 with an all new cast with exception to Tim
Curry, notably bringing in then mostly unknown musician Meat Loaf for the roles of Eddie
and Dr. Scott. Throughout its original run in L.A. and London,
several notable names were in attendence; like David Bowie, Elvis Presley and Princess
Diana to name a few. “And Princess Diana actually requested to
meet me because she was such a Rocky Horror fan. She said ‘Oh yes, it quite completed my education.” After the unexpected success of the stage
musical, O’Brien and Sharman began discussing the possibilities of a feature film adapdation. There was original talk of producing the film
with a much larger budget and casting well-known names in the major roles, with people like
Mick Jagger being eyed for Dr. Frank-N- Furter and Steve Martin for Brad Majors. But Sharman decided to sacrifice the larger
budget to retain the show’s original cast and crew. Additional scenes were added to expand the
length of the film, a musical score was provided by Richard Hartley to fill the space between
O’Brien’s songs, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick were brought on board at the behest
of 20th Century Fox who wanted American actors in the lead roles, and Pierre La Roche, known
for his work with Mick Jagger and David Bowie was brought on board to redesign the make-up
for the characters. Many of the sets and props were directly taken
from the vaults of old Hammer productions, with the primary filming location taking place
at Oakley Court, a Victorian-era castle that was featured in Hammer films like “The Brides
of Dracula”. Despite a troubled production due to the film’s
low budget, and the poor conditions of the filming locations, production wrapped in 1974,
with the finished film hitting theaters in the summer of 1975. “Yes it is a good film isn’t it, died a death
when it first came out.” The film was pulled from theaters after one
just weekend, and the studio cancelled its premieres in other cities across America. Sometimes the magic of a stage show is lost
in translation when brought to the screen, or maybe the general of audiences of 1975
just weren’t ready for something as off-kilter and transgressive, but regardless of the how
or why the film failed to find the same success as its stage counterpart, and it seemed that
the studio was ready to cut their losses and shelf the film permanently. “They didn’t really know what to do with it,
or what on Earth it was.” And that may have been the end of it, but
Tim Deegan, who worked in the marketing division at Fox, saw the potential for success in the
midnight circuit. John Water’s film Pink Flamingos had already
established that there was a market for campy pastiche filmmaking, and Deegan thought that
The Rocky Horror Picture Show might find a similar success. He convinced the studio to take a chance,
and the film made its midnight debut at the Waverly Theater in New York City on April
1st, 1976. Shortly after its initial midnight screening
audience members began returning for repeat viewings, often yelling lines at the screen
as a way of trying to one-up the other theater-goers, with many of these lines being repeated verbatim
to this day. “There was a man who sat in the first row
of the balcony and when the criminologist says ‘I would like to take you on a strange
journey’ he screamed out ‘How strange was it?’. People laughed! And I would go home and think of lines that
we could shout at the screen the next week. Eventually people started showing up in costumes,
shadowing the performances on screen, and even bringing props like newspapers or rice
to use alongside the film. These traditions became the standardized Rocky
experience that spread the world over; with costume contests, shadow casts, audience participation,
props and call-backs dominating the midnight screenings that by 1979 had been playing twice
a week in over 200 theaters across the globe. “Never has there been a cult movie like this
one.” “I’ve seen Rocky Horror almost 400 times.” “Tonight’s my 350th time.” “302 times.” “267 times.” “My name is Sal Piro and I’m President of
the National Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club. Tonight is going to be my 425th time seeing
this film. You know, the Rocky Horror Picture Show has
been a midnight phenomenon in this country for almost 4 years now, 4 years running at
midnight and it started right here in the village, right here in Greenwich Village.” “You have people coming in caravans and buses
from all over the country. How much longer do you think this can go on
in midnight movies throughout the country, I’ve uh, some people are saying that it’s
kind of losing it’s oomph. That people aren’t throwing the rice with
the same degree of uh, enthusiam.” “Well you’ve got to realize that I live in
England and I don’t really see a great deal of this activity, but Sal Piro who follows
it very closely says ‘ask me in another twenty years and I’ll give you an answer’.” “This is truly an honor to be here today,
39 and a half years ago when I went to see the movie for the first time, and there was
something there, and you are all proof; this cast standing behind me, all the people it
interests, all you people who dress up, all you people who love the movie; you are proving
why we’re here 40 years later. Thank you.” The film celebrated its 40th Anniversary in
2015 and still shows no signs of stopping any time soon, which has earned it the noteworthy
achievement of being the longest-running theatrical release in cinematic history; which says a
lot about the devotion of its audience. It’s widely attributed to be the first movie
known for its audience participation, and is considered by many to be the most significant
midnight movie of all time, if not the first. And for a movie shot for about $1 million
that was nearly canned after its initial box office disappointment to go on to become this
massive cultural phenomenon is no small feat. But it speaks to what the film represents,
and who the film appeals to and why. This was a time before social media or the
internet. Before it was released on VHS or DVD, the
only way to stumble onto the film was through word of mouth or pure chance. To get the details of the costumes and the
make-up just right you couldn’t pause and study in an individual frame, to learn all
of the lyrics you couldn’t just play the songs on repeat, you had to go see the movie time
and time again, and for many it became a weekly ritual. Where you felt like you were a part of something
bigger than yourself, in a shared space with like-minded people. Which at the time, wasn’t easy to come by. When you consider the cultural landscape of
the time, where well-known LGBTQ spaces were frequently raided by police, where members
of the gay community were harrassed or assaulted, where you could lose your job or your housing
if your sexual identity became known. Where nerds and geeks were frequently bullied
and tormented for liking anything that wasn’t considered the cultural norm. It’s hard to imagine something like this now
that we’re living in a world that’s much more tolerant of these things, but back then it
was a time when anyone who was deemed to be different was regulated to the fringes of
society, taught to conform or to get out; but Rocky Horror gave them all a communal
space to be themselves and to find acceptance. It offered something for the self-identified
freaks and the geeks and the weirdos with a shared love of horror, sci-fi, musical theater,
drag, and all things camp; it gave the marginalized groups of society a space to explore their
identity free from judgement or persecution before those spaces were commonplace. It was a place for people of all walks of
life to coexist, whether gay or straight or trans or cis, to let loose and have a good
time. And in the years since its release it’s become
so much more than just a film, it’s become a cultural movement that embraces sensuality
and androgyny and freedom of expression. It’s often seen as a rite of passage for teenagers,
who may be questioning their own sexuality, and gives them an opportunity to see something
different than what they’ve been taught. The film itself acts as a parable, or a modern
fairy tale where Brad and Janet represent the template for the contemporary conservative
American couple, who are taken on an alien odyssey of endulging in the sins of the flesh. “Come on Brad, admit it. You liked it, didn’t you? There’s no crime in giving yourself over to
pleasure.” The Rocky Horror Picture show gave us permission
to be different, and taught us a valuable lesson about embracing your individuality. “Don’t dream it. Be it.” Thank you to Privacy for sponoring this video. With all of the online shopping we do these
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52 thoughts on ““The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the Most Important Cult Film Ever Made

  1. Thank you for watching! Was definitely hoping to have this up before Halloween, but alas, here we are. Be sure to check out http://privacy.com/filmradar to get a free $5 credit! Helps to support the channel, and hey, it's free money 😉

  2. My Grandmother and I ended up watching this movie cause my mom bought it for an acting assignment.

    After watching it we was like………

    Yeah so that happened

  3. Can you do a follow up video on the sequel "Shock Treatment"

    It may have been a failed movie but there are some real good ideas behind it involving reality tv

  4. Youtube is scary. It recommended this video literally two days after finally watching the movie. I was laughing the whole time. It's great. But I wonder if it would have worked the way it did without Tim Curry. 'Cause he's the movie, basically. Just a thought. Also, I was like: WHEN DID YOU SAY THIS MOVIE WAS RELEASED? HOW WAS IT NOT BANNED FROM EXISTENCE? Good it didn't happen

  5. I will never understand why people like this movie? The acting is bad, the music is obnoxious, yes visually is somewhat okay but here is one movie where I understand why it was hated back on its day.

  6. Disney will ruin this. They own Fox, and while they haven't touched this one yet, they're making rerunning old Fox films prohibitivly expensve for theatres

  7. I still have to see this one. It reminds me of Phantom of the Paradise which is one of my all time favorites so I'll probably really enjoy it.

  8. I was lucky enough to be in London in 1973, and to see the original stage play of 'The Rocky Horror Show'. I was only 17 or so at the time, and absolutely loved every minute of it. When it came to film as 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', I must have gone to see it dozens of times at the midnight shows. What fun is all was.

  9. This film presents the transgender frank n furter as a narcissistic murderous villain, manipulating people to sleep with them. In an era where trans people are murdered by the hour we have to recognize this film as containing a reactionary spirit.

  10. This video reminded me of perks of being a wallflower and how good that movie was as well, would love to see a video on that. Its themes of growing up and mental illness was so ahead of its time, it really broke those cliches that we usually see in coming of age stories during that time of when it was released.

  11. Apart from a couple of minor factual errors (Princess Diana was only 14 years old when the movie was released, I doubt she saw the stage production), I really enjoyed this video. I was in a shadowcast in the 1980's, before the term shadowcast was coined. Everything you said about scrutinizing the film in the theater was true – we found bootleg VHS copies of the movie taped off a Japanese broadcast, we cut up poster magazines to make badges, we stayed up 'til all hours sewing sequins on homemade corsets – but there really was a sense of community in the theater, and so many lives were changed. Thanks for this.

  12. i swear you read my mind. ive been making drafts after drafts in my tumblr, trying to explain this all week but i could never perfectly describe it. thank you so much for this video.

  13. I participated in a screening and shadowcast of the movie at my college every year for the last four years. It's been wonderful. So glad this wacky campy film exists <3

  14. This cheaper theater near me has been showing rocky horror pretty much since I was a kid. They have the poster up on the wall to this day

  15. "Cause I've seen oh, blue skies through the tears in my eyes
    and I realise, I'm going home" I'm going home moves me every fucking time.amazing ( Richard O'Brian is a fellow kiwi,but I have sadly yet to go see the statue of him as Riff Raff in Hamilton)

  16. I watched it a few months ago and this movie is absolutely amazing. For its time it is a really unique work and it is cult.

  17. I love this film dearly. I went to many a midnight showing back in high school and I wish they still did them in my town

  18. they filmed the movie with the same pacing as the stage show
    that is why there are places to yell out things at the screen

  19. My sanity and happiness on the Earth can be directly traced to watching this for the first time in Davis, California in 1978

  20. I think it's kinda funny that I used to get beat up in high school for playing a video game and learning computer languages and also being in drama class. Now – a decade later- I'm considered the cool one. Times change.

  21. My local movie theater has been doing Rocky every Friday night for as long as I can remember. They recently moved to the town next over but still do it every week. <3

  22. This movie is special to me.

    I first watched it after feeling lost about myself and it just hit me at the right time. Everything was perfect, so much so that I actually cried at the ending because I’d never seen anything like it or anything that spoke to me as much as it did. I attend midnight shows whenever they’re on and know every line of dialogue.

    Oh, and also I did my final History project on it’s cultural impact and got 100% so that helped!

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