The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

One can never truly get tired of The Rocky Horror Picture Show if you are a fan.  It’s one of those iconic films that has a special place in your heart and it has that uncanny ability to bring people together like none other flagpole of cinema history. This time around rewatching the film was a bit weird, because it was not that long ago that I saw the latest stage production of Rocky Horror performed thanks the magic of live simulcast that was streamed to cinemas, so as I was re-watching the film for the Nth time I inadvertently found myself repeatedly comparing the film to the stage version. In a way it was actually a cool experience rather than an annoyance because it enabled me to view the film from a completely new perspective, as well as take notice and realize some of the fundamental differences that there are between the film and stage version, especially concerning the mandatory changes that are entirely due to the format switch. I don’t often get to do this sort of side by side comparison with adaptations, it’s usually been too long for me to have a strong enough recollection whenever I happen to watch something where I have had previously read the source material, so this was a real treat in that regard.

Like a true classic should, as a film Rocky Horror holds up impeccably well. It’s a regular tour de force from start to finish and the songs are as catchy and astonishingly engrossing as ever. It’s hard to believe that the film is now already forty years old and that it has managed to remain so vibrantly strong and exciting all this time without a moment where it sems to lag even a little. Even the plot, which is a ridiculous collection of B-list sci-fi clichés and American rock and roll music stitched together to form a creation of pure extravagant gay evil hedonism, clothed in garter belt and stockings to spice things up, doesn’t feel a day dated or a slight bit juvenile and goofy by today’s standards. The core message of embracing what you really are, if anything, only feels more vibrant and alive now than ever, which is quite a remarkable feat, but I suppose that just shows how universal the message truly is. People always need the encouragement to be themselves when forming their own identities, rather than being entirely molded and defined by society and your fellow peers around you.

As far as I see it, the main difference between the film and stage version is that the movie allows a little more room to get to know the characters, smooth over some details and transitions between scenes as well as add nuance and flashy fanfare to what already was quite loony story that they were telling. To name which version is better is inane, not to mention completely pointless topic for discussion. Both are good and slightly different in their own ways, it’s entirely subjective otherwise.

Beyond that, I don’t think I have much to add, except maybe this: I’ll never get used to seeing Susan Sarandon as young as she is herein Rocky Horror. I pretty much have Sarandon engraved to my brain when she was in her late forties, circa 1994, when she did The Client. Anything younger just feels off to me. It feels unnatural, in my head she is always supoose to be older than me, not in the near vicinity of my own age bracket.


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