Friday, July 24, 2009

Musical Interlude: Let's Do The Time Warp Again

I was a kid when The Rocky Horror Picture Show was out in first run. It would be adulthood before I'd finally catch it at any of a number of midnight movie locations around Southern California. Before I would have seen the movie for the first time, I would have seen the video above repeatedly (there was this imitation MTV knockoff show on a UHF station in the Los Angeles area that was actually quite good). The song captures the essence of the early 1970s glam rock era as well as any. Of course seeing a video is a much different experience from catching the film itself, and catching the film in a theater (it's a midnight movie perennial for over three decades at this point) is a much different experience from simply watching it on VHS (back in the day) or DVD. Although there is quite a bit to the film that one can only appreciate with some peace and quiet, there is nothing like being in a theater with a mob of hardcore fans who have their own call-and-response thing going on throughout the movie. Some of the audience participation might come across a bit crude for most tastes, but there is a great deal of pop culture knowledge often revealed (some relatively common, sometimes some downright obscure references get shouted out). For an aging pop culture junkie like me, such situations are almost pure heaven.

Word to the wise - if you go to a midnight movie showing you'll likely be finding grains of rice in your clothing for days to come (it's been a few years, but I somehow doubt the tradition of throwing rice at the screen during the wedding scene has been abandoned - even if the venue attempts to ban such practices). Also, it's a good idea to go in with an open mind, as an old friend once told me. The basic theme of the film (besides poking some gentle fun at those old B-movie sci-fi and horror flicks of yesteryear) was one of portraying the challenging the Victorian-era sexual hangups that still characterized UK and US cultures in the 1970s. Each of the main characters deals with confronting those hangups with varying degrees of success as the film progresses. I've always wanted to catch the theatrical version (known simply as The Rocky Horror Show) to get a sense of how it and the film compare.

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