By Alexander Goodlive
I saw it on Cult Weekend at the Uptown Minneapolis Theatre, along with my favorite bad movie The Room, on the last weekend of the month. Now, I’m going to take an unpopular position and say that Rocky Horror is not a good movie like many argue, but is so bad that it’s rather entertaining. Now, before you find me with your pitchforks, at least give me a chance to explain why.
When you look at it from the objective point-of-view, and by that I mean out of costume and not partaking in callbacks, the movie makes absolutely no sense. So a couple that wants to get married gets trapped at a house full of transvestites who are really cannibals, but also aliens. Got all that? Neither do I.
The leader of the cultist fetish parade is Dr. Frank-n-Furter, played by legendary ham Tim Curry. Throughout this movie, he has sex with both Brad and Janet, creates his “perfect man” by removing the brain of a biker who he then kills with an ice pick, then feeds to everyone at dinner. He forces them to dress up like fellow transvestites, and then gets killed by a laser. Stop me when you get confused.
We also have Riff Raff and Magenta, who were an incestuous couple before Game of Thrones made it cool. Take that, Jaime Lannister! Columbia is their high-pitched, pointless sidekick. What does she contribute? Honestly, nothing. Rocky exists only to be a pleasure machine for Dr. Frank, but ends up having sex with Janet, offending both of their original significant others. Then there’s Dr. Scott in the wheelchair. I guess he exposes the entire plan or something, but by that point in the movie, I was completely lost already anyway. And the narrator, whose job it is to tell us what’s going on, doesn’t tell us much of what’s going on after they reach the castle.
But is it entertaining? Of course it is. I’ll say this: From when they arrive at the castle to the end of Meatloaf’s song, it’s not a bad movie to watch non-ironically. I’m about as anti-musical as it gets, but the numbers in that part are a lot of fun. The rest of the movie, however, is so random, non-sensical, and all over the place that you can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous it is. Then you throw in seeing it in a live theatre, with more audience callbacks than anyone could ever possibly remember, and it’s an event worth the time.
I’ll also give it credit for portraying alternative lifestyles far earlier than it was ever acceptable to do in a mainstream context. Granted, they made them alien cannibals, but you have to start somewhere. This movie is however so entertainingly bad that no matter when you see it, you’ll end up having a good time. I just think most people confuse having the good time with actually seeing a good movie, which it isn’t. There’s a reason it’s paired with The Room, after all!
Alexander Goodlive is an English/cinema double major at the University of Pennsylvania, commuting from Harrisburg. He has five published books, hosts the snarky Internet show “Jaded Hope,” and writes weekly for lordsofpain.net under the alias Al Laiman. In his spare time, he’s a stand-up guru, and recently placed well in the championship round of International Underwater Basket-Weaving.
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