The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Shameless Space

By Phoebe Myers

In the fall of 1975, director Jim Sharman released a movie that would create a cult of lifelong fans: The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Based on a live action play, the movie is incredibly unique. Part campy musical, part comedy and part horror movie, Rocky Horror is almost impossible to explain if you haven’t seen it. The plot is hard enough to understand even if you have! The basic premise is a couple’s car breaks down in some scary woods on a dark night, and they have to go to a stranger’s castle to ask for help…seems pretty standard for a horror movie, right? Except the stranger in this case is a cross-dressing doctor, and aliens get involved and it gets…wild.


Recreations of the show have a lot of audience participation. Whether the show is an actual play, with live actors, or just a showing of the movie, the audience will inevitably yell and get generally rowdy.

Freshman Patrick Schneider went to a live action play of Rocky Horror in Covington, Kentucky. He said one of his favorite parts was the interaction between the actors and the audience. “When someone in the audience said something stupid, the actors would respond directly with a catty remark, laugh at them, and/or just give them the finger. But you can’t get mad, because that’s Rocky Horror.”

A lovely audience
A lovely audience

The atmosphere around Rocky Horror is its greatest attraction. It’s a way for people to let loose, and get completely absorbed in another (ridiculous) world for a few hours, with a room full of people doing the exact same thing. It’s a space to be shameless. Dressing up is basically mandatory, not necessarily as one of the characters but in whatever outrageous way you choose. “I just dressed up like a harlot,” said Patrick. Scandalous seems to be the only dress code for the event. 

The Esquire Theater in Clifton, Cincinnati plays Rocky Horror every other Saturday, and this month Halloween is on a Saturday. What better day to go see a spooky movie? It usually plays at 11:55 p.m., but for this special occasion it’s also at 9:50 p.m. This showing has a “shadow cast,” where actors mime the actions of the movie on screen behind them, while lip-syncing their character’s lines. It sounds incredibly weird, but you won’t know until you go. 

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