RJ Bayley Reviews: The Rocky Horror Picture Show


It’s very hard to separate the legacy and cult following from actual film when it comes to director Jim Sharman’s 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But perhaps one shouldn’t; the fanaticism its gathered during the course of being the longest running theatrical release in history (and still on limited release after four decades) has become so interwoven with the film itself that it is now part of the movie completely.

The cultiest cult film of all is the story of a couple who’s car breaks down by the castle of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a mad transvestite scientist who has artificially created, Frankenstein-like, a muscled simpleton called Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood). The film exists purely to be as bizarre and deranged as possible, and it’s a testament to it’s extremity and utter invention that it still feels fresh and unlike anything else, betraying it’s 40 year old age.

Tim Curry is the lynchpin of the show, his performance as Frank N. Furter being incredible. Both disgusting yet likable, it has to be one of the finest portrayals in cinema: an outrageous, murderous, cannibal, singing, near-rapist who captures insanity so well that midway through you find yourself already pining for more time with this lightning-in-a-bottle character. It would take until 1990 for Curry to outdo and out-iconic Furter with his portrayal of Pennywise in the miniseries It. But between those two characters, that’s a Hell of  resume.

The only negative is that for a musical the numbers sound too similar, and with Time Warp debuting so early, all following songs are a let down. Even the film knows this, bringing it back for a reprise at the end. Ultimately though this is trifling against the staggering weirdness and towering performance of Curry.


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