On April 18th, from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the morning, the Rutgers University Rocky Horror Picture Show Club presented a free showing of the 1970s cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show to a large and enthusiastic crowd in Bronfman auditorium. In the tradition of Rocky Horror enthusiasts everywhere, the Rutgers troupe dressed as characters from the movie, reenacted and criticized scenes, yelled obscenities at the actors, “broke in the virgins” (those who had never seen the movie before), and acted sexually free and explicit in every way imaginable. The film was sponsored by the Activities Resource Center and the Dean’s office.
Originally a stage production and later adapted for the big screen, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an outrageous assemblage of science fiction, sexual confusion and experimentation and general weirdness, with some catchy musical numbers thrown in. Since its big screen release in 1975 the film has attracted a cult following that grows larger every year.
The Rutgers Rocky Horror Picture Show Club tried to instill upon the audience the actual flavor of a true show, which is less about watching the movie and more about letting oneself go in any way one sees fit. Improv reactions to the film are also very much a part of the cult experience, as is interaction with other members of the audience. These reactions and interactions often involve screaming at someone else across the theatre. Although usually filled with sexual innuendo and profanity, they are good-natured in intention.
To enhance the viewing of the picture, as well as to encourage audience participation, audience members are urged to use whatever props they wish. Some of the more traditional audience props are rice, to be thrown around the theatre during a wedding scene, and squirt guns, which are fired during scenes when it is raining. However, any and all props are welcome as long as they add to the overall experience of the film.
The general plot of the film is as follows: A recently engaged, innocent young couple Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) are on their way to visit an old college professor when they run into car trouble on a rainy night. They seek help at a castle they passed a couple of miles up the road. This gothic mansion happens to be the palace of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry in his film debut), an alien transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. Brad, whom the audience unceasingly calls “aâ€”hole”, and Janet, politely referred to as “slut”, happen to come by the castle in the middle of one of Dr. Furter’s maniacal experiments; he’s created a beefcake named Rocky whom he plans to use for his own kinky purposes.
However, the introduction of Brad and Janet into the house sets Dr. Furter’s plans somewhat awry. The rest of the film relates the wacky, sometimes hilarious events and experiences that occur to Brad, Janet, Rocky and Dr. Furter in his mad-scientist-like castle.
There is a cameo appearance by rock icon Meatloaf as an out of control rock and roll biker who destroys one of Frank N. Furter’s laboratories.
Although the actual film did not commence until midnight, a pre-show for inexperienced viewers began at 11 p.m. In this hour before the movie, those without an in-depth Rocky Horror background were given a taste of what the show had in store for them.
Virgins, as is the tradition, were made fun of relentlessly and forced to participate in sexually degrading actions. The purpose of these initiations is to display the show’s “anything goes” atmosphere; it encourages everyone to participate in the presentation because audience participation and interaction, after all, is what the show really about.