“It’s Just a Jump to the Left…”: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Embodies Halloween Spirit

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Are you a virgin?

While this unusual question may sound like an invasion of privacy, fans of Rocky Horror know the term indicates someone who has never seen or participated in a live production of the show.

Of course, this only counts for live events, not just watching the movie.

Many other Rocky Horror terms, like “elbow sex,” and references to “in and out and in and out” may at first seem strange, but eventually you get the hang of it.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, also known as Rocky, Rocky Horror, RHPS, etc., has been a cult classic since its release in 1975. The movie, starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick, chronicles the strange adventures of newlyweds Brad Majors (Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Sarandon). Driving on a dark and stormy night, the two encounter a large castle where they hope to take refuge. Inside, they find an odd assortment of creatures and characters, led by the charismatic scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Curry). A flirty and sexually ambiguous “transvestite from Transylvania,” the Doctor is surrounded by the likes of Riff-Raff, Magenta and Columbia, his employees. Over the course of the evening, Brad and Janet experience a wild party of the strangest contortions, including meeting the doctor’s most recent experiment – the perfect man, known as Rocky. While it may seem like their situation is too good to be true, Brad and Janet soon discover the dark secrets of the castle.

Even if you are a “virgin,” chances are you have encountered pieces of Rocky before. The up-close red lips singing “Science Fiction Double Feature” have become iconic. “The Time Warp,” a dance number that includes “the pelvic thrust/that really drives you insa-ay-ay-ay-ane” is a popular choice for parties and Halloween events, especially since the lyrics clearly outline the dance steps. Others may recognize “Dammit Janet” or “Sweet Transvestite,” which have had popular re-imaginings by the cast of Glee and others.

What may be unfamiliar is the audience participation that comes during screenings and performances. Some of these include calling Brad an asshole and Janet a slut at every mention of their name, throwing toilet paper or frankenfurters, holding newspaper above your head, and encouraging that Dr. Frank-N-Furter just “say it!” when it comes to levels of … anticipation.

For brave souls who are interested in participating in Rocky Horror for their first or annual experience, there are multiple options to choose from. Most screenings and performances welcome costumes, so audience members are encouraged to create their own visions of the characters.

Peery’s Egyptian Theatre in Ogden will be hosting screenings on Oct. 28 and 29.

Perhaps the most popular local production is hosted by the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City. Screenings this year will be on Oct. 28, 29 and 31, either at 7:30 or 11:30 p.m. each evening, with the Latter-Day Transvestites providing the shadow cast. Shadow casts include the movie playing on the big screen while a live cast acts out the show onstage.

The Tower also hosts live pre-shows that begin a half-hour before the screening. Prop bags are available for purchase. Given that these annual events are extremely popular, it is encouraged that attendees purchase their tickets early.

Since the live performances are not for the faint of heart, there are a few options to see the movie alone, although it won’t change a “virgin” status. The original Rocky Horror movie is available to stream through Amazon and other online services. It will air on channels like LOGO during October as well. Fox also released a remake this fall. The remake, which stars Laverne Cox as the Doctor, Victoria Justice as Janet and Ryan McCarten as Brad, aired on Oct. 20.

Part of the fun of Rocky Horror comes from participating with a group of friends. It makes for an exciting and celebratory Halloween event, where sing-alongs and dancing are encouraged. Whether it’s your first Rocky experience or an annual gathering, Rocky Horror Picture Show is sure to set the mood for your Halloween season.

Shadow Cast:
Oct. 28-29; 31
Tower Theatre
876 900 S, Salt Lake City
7:30 & 11:30 p.m.
$15. Live pre-show 30 mins prior.

Film Availability:
Throughout October

Amazon Prime
Throughout October

LOGO Channel
Oct. 20 FOX Channel remake

Know of any others? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

c.heiner@dailyutahchronicle.com

@bwaygirl17

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