The Strange Journey of Rocky Horror: From box office flop to cult classic.

By OGT Blog Squad Member Stacia Woycheck

“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.”
– The Criminologist

On June 1 at 8pm, for one night only, the Old Greenbelt Theatre is going to take you on a strange journey with the screening of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The 1975 U.K. film is a musical comedy horror flick starring Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, and Susan Sarandon at the dawn of their careers. It’s zany and fun with an addicting soundtrack and offbeat theatrical allure.

Filmed nearly forty-five years ago, before people were consciously and publicly aware of their pronoun identifiers and there were only two box choices under gender, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was edgy. The film’s main character, Dr. Frank N. Furter is the “sweet transvestite” who dons a lace-up corset, opera length black gloves, a garter belt and ripped black stockings. He reminds me of a hybrid of Mick Jagger and Cher as he struts across the screen with his words seductively dripping from his blood red lips. He introduces the virginal, straight-laced, clearly far from home characters Janet and Brad to the exploration of bisexuality and nonmonogamy. The costumes are delightfully campy and a credit to designer Sue Blane. The style of the costumes, with the ripped stockings and corsets, is credited with setting the stage for the punk music style that followed in the late 70’s and 80’s.


The movie’s music will have you jumping out of your seat and rockin’ down the aisles. If you came of age in the 70s or 80s, you’ll appreciate the singer Meatloaf’s role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He was cast in the musical version, The Rocky Horror Show, before the film and played Eddy and Dr. Everett Scott. The movie was gasoline for his career. He persuaded the film’s producer to use the video for “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” in the trailer for the movie. Remember that one? How about “Bat Out of Hell”? “I’ll Do Anything for Love”? It landed him his star in rock history.

Although the film was considered a box office flop, it made its mark when the Waverly Theater in New York City began showing it at midnight. People flocked to it. The film attracted fans who dressed up, danced with the ghoulish tuxedo clad version of the Rockettes, and interacted with the characters on the screen. It was boundary breaking in allowing people to dress authentically, androgynously, and in gender-bending ways, and thus a community was built. The film and show is still shown throughout the country and is the longest-running theatrical production in history. It’s been the catalyst for conventions, clubs, and shadow casts. The Rocky Horror Picture Show may have first been reviewed as a plotless failure, but hands down it is a winner in challenging gender norms, influencing music history, and building a sense of belonging, becoming “a light in the darkness of everyone’s life.”

Want to do the Time Warp? Join the Sonic Transducers shadow cast for an 8pm showing. It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right, down to the Roosevelt Center. Costumes encouraged but not required! Tickets and more information are here.



Stacia’s love of old movies began as a child, when her mother would take her to the matinee to see classics like Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and The African Queen. She fast became a Humphrey Bogart and Old Hollywood fan. Her favorite class as an undergraduate student was Film Appreciation. She loves the charm of the Old Greenbelt Theater and volunteers to spread the word. She loves to travel and when she isn’t traveling, she is planning her next trip, painting, or playing with her dog.

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