The Lonely Goatherd Blog And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32
Up to the minute notes on the current state of free thinking and free living: Kentucky moonshine - original analysis and reporting from MoreThings, and all round pop culture museum of sight and sound - photo galleries, mp3 and video downloads.
Al Barger and MoreThings - getting people's goats since 1998.
Live free or die!
I wouldn't want to ask people to just give me money cause they like my website, but do please take a quick look at Barger's Boutique. You might find yourself a little something-something for 2 or 3 bucks that you just can't resist! Any of the round images you find around MoreThings will get you to an Amazon page to buy my stuff and help ol' Al keep the lights on.
To explicitly state the obvious, these external links go to interesting and provocative websites, but they speak for themselves. I don't necessarily agree with anything they say - especially that no-goodnik Richard Marcus.
All original content on MoreThings.com copyright 2008 Albert Barger or the respective authors
December 08, 2007
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Review, 1975 Photo Gallery, Cast, and Credits The Rocky Horror Picture Show from 1975 was based on an English stage musical by Richard O'Brien. It has become known as THE textbook example of a "cult film." It was a cheaply made film that flopped in the initial regular theatrical release, but soon became a staple film for midnight matinees for at least 20 years, with many of the same people seeing the film hundreds of times apiece.
The Rocky Horror audience became more noted than the film, with audience members dressing as characters from the film and bringing props - throwing rice at the screen during a wedding scene and such. In some precincts, there sprung up whole troops of locals to mime out the action in front of the screen as the movie played. Starring a bisexual transvestite mad scientist from outer space and then audience participation, the movie understandably became known as gay camp.
But that really doesn't give just credit to what is really a fine movie on fairly many levels. The first point there is that calling the movie "camp" doesn't nearly cover what's in the film emotionally or what the dedicated hardcore took from it. "Camp" is defined as "something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized."
Rocky Horror is absolutely not artless, nor is it only an abstract "amusement." This movie really and truly means a lot emotionally to a large core audience, well beyond being a cute joke. It's constructed basically as a parody of cheap monster movies of old, invoking among others King Kong and The Invisible Man in the opening song. But O'Brien was using those things as a sideways entry point to get at more personal and direct feelings of alienation and sexual confusion, among other things. That's why so many people would go to see the movie hundreds of times, and memorize big chunks of script and so forth. A mere joke would not have been that big for that long.
The cheapness of the production absolutely worked in the movie's favor. This was somewhat making a virtue of necessity, of course, but a big virtue it was. For one thing, it was a parody of cheap sci fi films, and big budgets don't really help there. Note the flopsweat of Tim Burton's big budget Jack Nicholson Mars Attacks movie.
Also though, O'Brien and company used those limitations to tap into what might be described as an animating punk rock spirit. For all the knowing cleverness of the story, they captured on film a substantial amount of true and raw emotion that a big budget musical like Grease never could have.
The most lasting aspect of Rocky Horror is the music. Take away the video images, and just listen to the soundtrack album. Nearly every single song is exceptional and memorable. My interest in the movie was based first on several years of hearing the songs on the Dr Demento radio show. There's a lot of art and also emotion to even just the opening credits song "Science Fiction/Double Feature."
Punk rock, just budding as a musical movement at the time, would be a useful framework for understanding specifically the music. Now, the songs don't sound like the Ramones. O'Brien was purposely writing in something like 1950s styles, as per the time frame of a lot of the old movies he had in mind writing the story. Meatloaf in particular strikes a beautiful note as a motorcycle riding juvenile delinquent, singing a distinctly nostalgic song asking "whatever happened to Saturday night?" and blowing a good old-fashioned rock and roll saxophone solo.
But then punk rock was originally something of a rock and roll Pentecostal movement, re-claiming the old spirit and stripping down the music to simpler and more emotionally immediate form. In truth, the Sex Pistols were basically just playing aggravated Chuck Berry riffs. The DIY spirit of the budding punk rock movement animates the whole movie, and certainly the later audience participation rituals.
You could also think of the audience participation as getting into being a kind of religious ritual, a kind of mass and communion. The movie plays very consciously and heavily on religious imagery, setting Tim Curry's Dr Frank N Furter up as some kind of freaky Christ character. Most particularly, they very consciously set up a "last supper" scene, making a point of showing the famous painting of Jesus and the apostles.
In retrospect a couple of decades later, that's an aspect of mystery that I've never quite understood. Frank N Furter is set up as Christ, but certainly not as a perfect savior. Christ said, "Take, eat, this is my body" as he served bread symbolically. Whereas the transubstantiation in Rocky Horror would have been for Frank N Furter to say something like, "Take, eat, this is the body of my gay lover whom I killed in a jealous rage." And then serving an actual human body. He explains the murder to his creation/son/boyfriend (note the incest theme) Rocky Horror as a "mercy killing." But that doesn't even vaguely jibe with what had just happened on the screen. I still don't know quite what O'Brien intended by all this. Note also that he cast himself in the Judas role.
However you want to take it, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a lot going for it. Those who vaguely remember seeing the show good and stoned with some pals for a laugh might likely be surprised at how good it really is watching it now privately on a DVD. ********************************************* PHOTO GALLERY AND CREDITS The Rocky Horror Picture Show at MoreThings