14 August 1975

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running release in film history, opens in London.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Original Rocky Horror Picture Show poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sharman
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Rocky Horror Show
by Richard O'Brien
Narrated byCharles Gray
Music by
CinematographyPeter Suschitzky
Edited byGraeme Clifford
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • 14 August 1975 (1975-08-14)
Running time
100 minutes[1][2]
  • United Kingdom[3]
  • United States[3]
Budget$1.4 million[4]
Box office$140.2 million[5]

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical horror comedy film by 20th Century Fox, produced by Lou Adler and Michael White and directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman and actor Richard O'Brien, who is also a member of the cast. The film is based on the 1973 musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show, with music, book, and lyrics by O'Brien. The production is a parody tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s through to the early 1960s. Along with O'Brien, the film stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick and is narrated by Charles Gray with cast members from the original Royal Court Theatre, Roxy Theatre, and Belasco Theatre productions including Nell Campbell and Patricia Quinn.

The story centres on a young engaged couple whose car breaks down in the rain near a castle where they seek a telephone to call for help. The castle or country home is occupied by strangers in elaborate costumes celebrating an annual convention. They discover the head of the house is Dr. Frank N. Furter, an apparently mad scientist who actually is an alien transvestite who creates a living muscle man in his laboratory. The couple are seduced separately by the mad scientist and eventually released by the servants who take control.

The film was shot in the United Kingdom at Bray Studios and on location at an old country estate named Oakley Court, best known for its earlier use by Hammer Film Productions. A number of props and set pieces were reused from the Hammer horror films. Although the film is both a parody of and tribute to many kitsch science fiction and horror films, costume designer Sue Blane conducted no research for her designs. Blane stated that costumes from the film have directly affected the development of punk rock fashion trends such as ripped fishnets and dyed hair.[6]

Although largely critically panned on initial release, it soon became known as a midnight movie when audiences began participating with the film at the Waverly Theater in New York City in 1976. Audience members returned to the cinemas frequently and talked back to the screen and began dressing as the characters, spawning similar performance groups across the United States. At almost the same time, fans in costume at the King's Court Theater in Pittsburgh began performing alongside the film. This "shadow cast" mimed the actions on screen above and behind them, while lip-synching their character's lines. Still in limited release four decades after its premiere, it is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It is often shown close to Halloween. Today, the film has a large international cult following. It was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2005.


A criminologist narrates the tale of the newly engaged couple, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, who find themselves lost and with a flat tire on a cold and rainy late November evening, somewhere near Denton in 1974. Seeking a telephone, the couple walk to a nearby castle where they discover a group of strange and outlandish people who are holding an Annual Transylvanian Convention. They are soon swept into the world of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a self-proclaimed "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania". The ensemble of convention attendees also includes servants Riff Raff, his sister Magenta, and a groupie named Columbia.

In his lab, Frank claims to have discovered the "secret to life itself". His creation, Rocky, is brought to life. The ensuing celebration is soon interrupted by Eddie (an ex-delivery boy, both Frank and Columbia's ex-lover, as well as partial brain donor to Rocky) who rides out of a deep freeze on a motorcycle. Eddie then proceeds to seduce Columbia, get the Transylvanians dancing and singing and intrigue Brad and Janet. When Rocky starts dancing and enjoying the performance, a jealous Frank kills Eddie with a pickax. Columbia screams in horror, devastated by Eddie's death. Frank justifies killing Eddie as a "mercy killing" to Rocky and they depart to the bridal suite.

Brad and Janet are shown to separate bedrooms, where each is visited and seduced by Frank, who poses as Brad (when visiting Janet) and then as Janet (when visiting Brad). Janet, upset and emotional, wanders off to look for Brad, who she discovers, via a television monitor, is in bed with Frank. She then discovers Rocky, cowering in his birth tank, hiding from Riff Raff, who has been tormenting him. While tending to his wounds, Janet becomes intimate with Rocky, as Magenta and Columbia watch from their bedroom monitor.

After discovering that his creation is missing, Frank returns to the lab with Brad and Riff Raff, where Frank learns that an intruder has entered the building. Brad and Janet's old high school science teacher, Dr. Everett Scott, has come looking for his nephew, Eddie. Frank suspects that Dr. Scott investigates UFOs for the government. Upon learning of Brad and Janet's connection to Dr. Scott, Frank suspects them of working for him; Brad denies any knowledge of it, and Dr. Scott assures Frank that Brad is totally not involved in UFOs. Frank, Dr. Scott, Brad, and Riff Raff then discover Janet and Rocky together under the sheets in Rocky's birth tank, upsetting Frank and Brad. Magenta interrupts the reunion by sounding a massive gong and stating that dinner is prepared.

Rocky and the guests share an uncomfortable dinner, which they soon realize has been prepared from Eddie's mutilated remains. Janet runs screaming into Rocky's arms, provoking Frank to chase her through the halls. Janet, Brad, Dr. Scott, Rocky, and Columbia all meet in Frank's lab, where Frank captures them with the Medusa Transducer, transforming them into nude statues. After dressing them in cabaret costume, Frank "unfreezes" them, and they perform a live cabaret floor show, complete with an RKO tower and a swimming pool, with Frank as the leader.

Riff Raff and Magenta interrupt the performance, revealing themselves and Frank to be aliens from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania. They stage a coup and announce a plan to return to their home planet. In the process, they kill Columbia and Frank, who has "failed his mission". An enraged Rocky gathers Frank in his arms, climbs to the top of the tower, and plunges to his death in the pool below. Riff Raff and Magenta release Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott, then depart by lifting off in the castle itself. The survivors are then left crawling in the dirt, and the narrator concludes that the human race is equivalent to insects crawling on the planet's surface, "lost in time, and lost in space... and meaning".



Concept and development

Little Nell, Patricia Quinn, Tim Curry, and Richard O'Brien in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. All were in the original stage show.

Richard O'Brien was living as an unemployed actor in London during the early 1970s. He wrote most of The Rocky Horror Show during one winter just to occupy himself.[7][8] Since his youth, O'Brien had loved science fiction and B horror movies. He wanted to combine elements of the unintentional humour of B horror movies, portentous dialogue of schlock-horror, Steve Reeves muscle flicks, and fifties rock and roll into his musical.[9] O'Brien conceived and wrote the play set against the backdrop of the glam era that had manifested itself in British popular culture in the 1970s.[10] Allowing his concept to come into being, O'Brien states "glam rock allowed me to be myself more".[11]

O'Brien showed a portion of the unfinished script to Australian director Jim Sharman, who decided to direct it at the small experimental space Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, Chelsea, London, which was used as a project space for new work.[7] O'Brien had appeared briefly in a stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Sharman, and the two also worked together in Sam Shepard's . Sharman would bring in production designer Brian Thomson.[12] The original creative team was then rounded out by costume designer Sue Blane, musical director Richard Hartley, and stage producer Michael White, who was brought in to produce. As the musical went into rehearsal, the working title, They Came from Denton High, was changed just before previews at the suggestion of Sharman to The Rocky Horror Show.[7][13]

Having premiered in the small sixty-seat Royal Court Theatre, it quickly moved to larger venues in London, transferring to the 230-seat Chelsea Classic Cinema on King's Road on 14 August 1973, before finding a quasi-permanent home at the 500-seat King's Road Theatre from 3 November 1973, running for six years.[14] The musical made its U.S. debut in Los Angeles in 1974 before being played in New York City as well as other cities.[12] Producer and Ode Records owner Lou Adler attended the London production in the winter of 1973, escorted by friend Britt Ekland. He immediately decided to purchase the U.S. theatrical rights. His production would be staged at his Roxy Theatre in L.A.[15] In 1975, The Rocky Horror Show premiered on Broadway at the 1,000-seat Belasco Theatre.[16]

Filming and locations

Oakley Court

The film was shot at Bray Studios and Oakley Court, a country house near Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, and at Elstree Studios[17] for post production,[18] from 21 October to 19 December 1974. Oakley Court, built in 1857 in the Victorian Gothic style, is known for a number of Hammer films.[19][20] Much of the location shooting took place there, although at the time the manor was not in good condition.[21] Much of the cast were from the original London stage production, including Tim Curry, who had decided that Dr Frank N. Furter should speak like the Queen of England, extravagantly posh.[11] Fox insisted on casting the two characters of Brad and Janet with American actors, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon.[12] Filming took place during autumn, which made conditions worse. During filming, Sarandon fell ill with pneumonia.[9] Filming of the laboratory scene and the title character's creation occurred on 30 October 1974.[22]

The film is both a parody and tribute to many of the science fiction and horror movies from the 1930s up to the 1970s.[7] The film production retains many aspects from the stage version such as production design and music, but adds new scenes not featured in the original stage play.[12] The film's plot, setting, and style echo those of the Hammer Horror films, which had their own instantly recognizable style (just as Universal Studios' horror films did).[23] The originally proposed opening sequence was to contain clips of various films mentioned in the lyrics, as well as the first few sequences shot in black and white, but this was deemed too expensive and scrapped.[12]

Costumes, make-up, and props

In the stage productions, actors generally did their own make-up; however, for the film, the producers chose Pierre La Roche, who had previously been a make-up artist for Mick Jagger and David Bowie, to redesign the make-up for each character.[24] Production stills were taken by rock photographer Mick Rock, who has published a number of books from his work.[25] In Rocky Horror: From Concept to Cult, designer Sue Blane discusses the Rocky Horror costumes' influence on punk music style, opining "[It was a] big part of the build-up [to punk]." She states that ripped fishnet stockings, glitter, and coloured hair were directly attributable to Rocky Horror.[7]

A replica costume based on the film's gold sequined swallow-tail coat worn by Little Nell, recreated by fan Mina Credeur of Houston, Texas.

Some of the costumes from the film had been originally used in the stage production. Props and set pieces were reused from old Hammer Horror productions and others. The tank and dummy used for Rocky's birth originally appeared in The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958). These references to earlier productions, in addition to cutting costs, enhanced the cult status of the film.[26]

Costume designer Sue Blane was not keen on working for the film until she became aware that Curry, an old friend, was committed to the project. Curry and Blane had worked together in Glasgow's Citizens Theatre in a production of The Maids, for which Curry had worn a woman's corset. Blane arranged for the theatre to loan her the corset from the other production for Rocky Horror.[27] Blane admits that she did not conduct research for her designing, had never seen a science fiction film, and is acutely aware that her costumes for Brad and Janet may have been generalizations.

"When I designed Rocky, I never looked at any science fiction movies or comic books. One just automatically knows what spacesuits look like, the same way one intuitively knows how Americans dress. I had never been to the United States, but I had this fixed idea of how people looked there. Americans wore polyester so their clothes wouldn't crease, and their trousers were a bit too short. Since they're very keen on sports, white socks and white T-shirts played an integral part in their wardrobe. Of course, since doing Rocky I have been to the United States and admit it was a bit of a generalization, but my ideas worked perfectly for Brad and Janet."[27]

The budget for the film's costumes was US$1,600,[27] far more than the stage production budget, but having to double up on costumes for the film production was expensive. For filming, corsets for the finale had to be doubled for the pool scene, with one version drying while the other was worn on set. While many of the costumes are exact replicas from the stage productions, other costumes were new to filming, such as Columbia's gold sequined swallow-tail coat and top hat and Magenta's maid's uniform.[27]

Blane was amazed by the recreation and understanding of her designs by fans.[27] When she first heard that people were dressing up, she thought it would be tacky, but was surprised to see the depth to which the fans went to recreate her designs. Rocky Horror fan Mina Credeur, who designs costumes and performed as Columbia for Houston's performance group, states that "the best part is when everyone leaves with a big smile on their face," noting that there's "such a kitschiness and campiness that it seems to be winking at you."[28] The film still plays at many theatre locations and Rocky Horror costumes are often made for Halloween, although many require much time and effort to make.[29]

Title sequence

The film starts with the screen fading to black and oversized, disembodied female lips appear overdubbed with a male voice,[26][30] establishing the theme of androgyny to be repeated as the film unfolds.[31] The opening scene and song, "Science Fiction/Double Feature", consists of the lips of Patricia Quinn (who appears in the film later as the character Magenta (in addition to the latter, appeared as 'Trixie the Usherette' in the original London production who sang the song)), but has the vocals of actor and Rocky Horror creator, Richard O'Brien (who appears as Magenta's brother Riff Raff). The lyrics refer to science fiction and horror films of the past and list several film titles from the 1930s to the 1960s, including The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Flash Gordon (1936), The Invisible Man (1933), King Kong (1933), It Came from Outer Space (1953), Doctor X (1932), Forbidden Planet (1956), Tarantula (1955), The Day of the Triffids (1962), Curse of the Demon (1957), and When Worlds Collide (1951).[7]


The soundtrack was released in 1975 by Ode Records and produced by English composer Richard Hartley. The album peaked at No. 49 on the U.S. Billboard 200 in 1978.[32] It reached No. 12 on the Australian albums chart[33] and No. 11 on the New Zealand albums chart.[34] The album is described as the "definitive version of the [Rocky Horror] score".[35]

  1. "Science Fiction/Double Feature" – The Lips (those of Patricia Quinn; voice of Richard O'Brien)
  2. "Dammit Janet" – Brad, Janet, and Chorus
  3. "There's a Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)" – Janet, Brad, Riff Raff, and Chorus
  4. "The Time Warp" – Riff Raff, Magenta, The Criminologist, Columbia, and Transylvanians
  5. "Sweet Transvestite" – Frank
  6. "The Sword of Damocles" – Rocky and Transylvanians
  7. "I Can Make You a Man" – Frank with Brad, Janet, Riff Raff, Magenta, and Columbia
  8. "Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul" – Eddie and Transylvanians
  9. "I Can Make You a Man (Reprise)" – Frank, Janet, and Transylvanians
  10. "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" – Janet with Magenta, Columbia, Rocky, Brad, Frank, and Riff Raff
  11. "Once in a While" (deleted scene) – Brad
  12. "Eddie" – Dr. Scott, The Criminologist, Janet, Columbia, Frank, Rocky, Brad, Riff Raff, and Magenta
  13. "Planet Schmanet Janet (Wise Up Janet Weiss)" – Frank
  14. "Planet Hot Dog" – Janet, Brad, and Dr. Scott
  15. "Rose Tint My World" – Columbia, Rocky, Janet, and Brad
  16. "Fanfare/Don't Dream It, Be It" – Frank with Brad, Janet, Rocky, and Columbia
  17. "Wild and Untamed Thing" – Frank with Brad, Janet, Rocky, Columbia, and Riff Raff
  18. "I'm Going Home" – Frank and Chorus
  19. "The Time Warp (Reprise)" – Riff Raff and Magenta
  20. "Super Heroes" (only present in the original UK release) – Brad, Janet, and Chorus
  21. "Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise)" – The Lips


London release poster for 14 August 1975 premiere

The film opened in the United Kingdom at Rialto Theater in London on 14 August 1975 and in the United States on 26 September at the UA Westwood in Los Angeles, California. It did well at that location, but not elsewhere.[36] Before the midnight screenings' success, the film was withdrawn from its eight opening cities due to very small audiences, and its planned New York City opening on Halloween night was cancelled.[37] Fox re-released the film around college campuses on a double-bill with another rock music film parody, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise (1974), but again it drew small audiences.[37]

The iconic "Lips" poster, a parody of the poster for the 1975 film Jaws

A second film poster was created using a set of red, lipstick painted lips with the tagline "A Different Set of Jaws", a spoof of the poster for the film Jaws (which was also released in 1975).[26] The lips of former Playboy model Lorelei Shark are featured on the poster.[38]

With Pink Flamingos (1972) and Reefer Madness (1936) making money in midnight showings nationwide, a Fox executive, Tim Deegan, was able to talk distributors into midnight screenings,[31] starting in New York City on April Fools' Day of 1976.[37] The cult following started shortly after the film began its midnight run at the Waverly Theater in New York City.,[36] then spread to other counties in NYC, and to Uniondale, L.I. Rocky Horror was not only found in the larger cities but throughout the United States where many attendees would get in free if they arrived in costume. The western division of the film's release included the U.A. Cinemas in Fresno and Merced, the Cinema J. in Sacramento, California, and the Covell in Modesto. In New Orleans, an early organised performance group was active with the release there as well as in such cities as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Chicago (at the Biograph Theater). Before long nearly every screening of the film was accompanied by a live fan cast.[36]

19 January 1978, opening at the UA Cinema, Merced, California

The film is considered to be the longest-running release in film history.[39] It has never been pulled by 20th Century Fox from its original 1975 release, and it continues to play in cinemas.[40][41]

Home media

A Super 8 version of selected scenes of the film was made available.[42] In 1983, Ode Records released "The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Audience Par-Tic-I-Pation Album", recorded at the 8th Street Playhouse. The recording consisted of the film's audio and the standardised call-backs from the audience.[43]

A home video release was made available in 1987 in the UK.[44] In the US, the film (including documentary footage and extras) was released on VHS in 8 November 1990, retailing for $89.95.[45]

The film was released on DVD in 2000 for the film's 25th anniversary. A 35th Anniversary edition Blu-ray was released in the US on 19 October 2010. The disc includes a newly created 7.1 surround sound mix, the original theatrical mono sound mix, and a 4K/2K image transfer from the original camera negative. In addition, new content featuring karaoke and a fan performance were included.[46]

Reception, reaction and legacy

Dori Hartley and Sal Piro at the Waverly Theatre in New York in 1977

Critical reception

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert noted that when first released, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was "ignored by pretty much everyone, including the future fanatics who would eventually count the hundreds of times they'd seen it". He considered it more a "long-running social phenomenon" than a movie, rating it 2.5 out of 4 stars.[47] Bill Henkin noted that Variety thought that the "campy hijinks" of the film seemed labored, and also mentioned that the San Francisco Chronicle's John Wasserman, who had liked the stage play in London, found the film "lacking both charm and dramatic impact". Newsweek called the film "tasteless, plotless and pointless" in 1978.[48]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 80% based on 41 reviews, and an average grade of 6.9/10, with the critical consensus reading "Rocky Horror Picture Show brings its quirky characters in tight, but it's the narrative thrust that really drives audiences insane and keeps 'em doing the time warp again".[49] A number of contemporary critics find it compelling and enjoyable because of its offbeat and bizarre qualities; the BBC summarised: "for those willing to experiment with something a little bit different, a little bit outré, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a lot to offer".[50] The New York Times called it a "low-budget freak show/cult classic/cultural institution" with "catchy" songs.[51] Geoff Andrew of Time Out noted that the "string of hummable songs gives it momentum, Gray's admirably straight-faced narrator holds it together, and a run on black lingerie takes care of almost everything else", rating it 4 out of 5 stars.[52] Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader on the other hand considered the wit to be "too weak to sustain a film" and thought that the "songs all sound the same".[53]

In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[54][55]

Cult phenomenon

New York City origins

The Rocky Horror Picture Show helped shape conditions of cult film's transition from art-house to grind-house style.[56] The film developed a cult following in 1976 at the Waverly Theatre in New York, which developed into a standardised ritual. According to J. Hoberman, author of Midnight Movies, it was after five months into the film's midnight run when lines began to be shouted by the audience. Louis Farese Jr., a normally quiet teacher who, upon seeing the character Janet place a newspaper over her head to protect herself from rain, yelled, "Buy an umbrella, you cheap bitch." Originally, Louis and other Rocky Horror pioneers - including Amy Lazarus, Theresa Krakauskas, and Bill O'Brian - did this to entertain each other, each week trying to come up with something new to make each other laugh. This quickly caught on with other theater goers and thus began this self-proclaimed "counter point dialogue", which became standard practice and was repeated nearly verbatim at each screening.[8] Performance groups became a staple at Rocky Horror screenings due in part to the prominent New York City fan cast.[36] The New York City cast was originally run by former schoolteacher and stand-up comic Sal Piro and his friend Dori Hartley, the latter of whom portrayed Dr. Frank N. Furter and was one of several performers - including Will Kohler as Brad Majors, Nora Poses as Janet, and Lilias Piro as Magenta - in a flexible rotating cast.[36] The performances of the audience were scripted and actively discouraged improvising, being conformist in a similar way to the repressed characters.[57]

D. Garrett Gafford and Terri Hardin, Tiffany Theater Hollywood, 1978

On Halloween in 1976, people attended in costume and talked back to the screen, and by mid-1978, Rocky Horror was playing in over 50 locations on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight. Newsletters were published by local performance groups, and fans gathered for Rocky Horror conventions.[37] By the end of 1979, there were twice-weekly showings at over 230 theatres.[37] The National Fan Club was established in 1977 and later merged with the International Fan Club. The fan publication The Transylvanian printed a number of issues, and a semi-regular poster magazine was published as well as an official magazine.[56]

Los Angeles, Hollywood

The Los Angeles area performance groups originated in 1977 at the Fox Theatre, where Michael Wolfson won a look-alike contest as Frank N. Furter, and won another at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset Boulevard. Wolfson's group eventually performed in all of the L.A. area theaters screening Rocky Horror, including the Balboa Theater in Balboa, The Cove at Hermosa Beach, and The Sands in Glendale. He was invited to perform at the Sombrero Playhouse in Phoenix, Arizona.[citation needed]

At the Tiffany Theatre, the audience performance cast had the theater's full cooperation; the local performers entered early and without charge. The fan playing Frank for this theatre was a transgender performer,[36] D. Garret Gafford, who was out of work in 1978 and trying to raise the funds for a gender reassignment while spending the weekends performing at the Tiffany.[58] Presently, the live action rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is available for attendance in various locations in Los Angeles, typically Saturday nights at midnight.[citation needed]

San Francisco's Strand Theatre, 1979. Linda Woods, Marni Scofidio, Denise Erickson, and Jim Curry

San Francisco

In 1978, Rocky Horror moved from an earlier location to the Strand Theatre located near the Tenderloin on Market Street.[59] The performance group there, Double Feature/Celluloid Jam, was the first to act out and perform almost the entire film, unlike the New York cast at that time. The Strand cast was put together from former members of an early Berkeley group, disbanded due to less than enthusiastic management. Frank N. Furter was portrayed by Marni Scofidio, who, in 1979, attracted many of the older performers from Berkeley. Other members included Mishell Erickson and her twin sister Denise Erickson as Columbia and Magenta, Kathy Dolan as Janet, and Linda "Lou" Woods as Riff Raff. The Strand group performed at two large science fiction conventions in Los Angeles and San Francisco, were offered a spot at The Mabuhay, a local punk club, and performed for children's television of Argentina.[36]

Fan following

Annual Rocky Horror conventions are held in varying locations, lasting days. Tucson, Arizona has been host a number of times, including 1999 with "El Fishnet Fiesta", and "Queens of the Desert" held in 2006.[60] Vera Dika wrote that, to the fans, Rocky Horror is ritualistic and comparable to a religious event, with a compulsive, repeated cycle of going home and coming back to see the film each weekend.[8] The audience call-backs are similar to responses in church during a mass.[8] Many theatre troupes exist across the United States that produce shadow-cast performances where the actors play each part in the film in full costume, with props, as the movie plays on the big screen in a movie theatre.[61][62]

The film has a global following and remains popular.[63] Subcultures such as Rocky Horror have also found a place on the Internet.[64] Audience participation scripts for many cities are available for download from the Internet.[26] The Internet has a number of Rocky Horror fan-run websites with various quizzes and information, specializing in different content, allowing fans to participate at a unique level.[31]

Cultural influence

The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been featured in a number of other feature films and television series over the years. Episodes of The Simpsons, The Venture Bros., The Boondocks, Glee, The Drew Carey Show, That '70s Show, and American Dad! spotlight Rocky Horror, as do films such as Vice Squad (1982), Halloween II (2009), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012).[45] The 1980 film Fame featured the audience reciting their callback lines to the screen and dancing the Time Warp,[65] the dance from the stage show and film, which has become a novelty dance at parties.[66] Director Rob Zombie cited Rocky Horror as a major influence on his film House of 1000 Corpses (2003),[67] while the film's fan culture of cosplaying and audience participation during screenings laid the groundwork for the similarly influential cult following surrounding Tommy Wiseau's The Room (2003).[68][69] Rocky Horror also inspired John McPhail's zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse (2018).[70]

LGBT Influence

Members of the LGBT community comprised a large part of the Rocky Horror cult following: they identified with the embrace of sexual liberation and androgyny, and attended show after show, slowly forming a community. Judith A. Peraino compares Brad and Janet's initiation into Frank N. Furter's world to the self-discovery of 'queer identity', and to the traditional initiation of 'virgins' in the shadow screenings.[71] June Thomas describes the midnight screenings in Delaware as a 'very queer scene,' which increased visibility for the LGBT community: “The folks standing in line outside the State in fishnets and makeup every Saturday night undoubtedly widened the sphere of possibilities for gender expression on Main Street.”[72][73]

The Rocky Horror Picture Show remains a cultural phenomenon in both the U.S. and U.K.[74][75] Cult film participants are often people on the fringe of society that find connection and community at the screenings,[76] although the film attracts fans of differing backgrounds all over the world.[77]

"Bisexuality, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Me", by Elizabeth Reba Weise, is part of the publication; Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (1991), an anthology edited by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Ka'ahumanu[78][79] about the history of the modern bisexual rights movement that is one of the first publications of bisexual literature.[80]


In 1979, O'Brien wrote a projected sequel to the film entitled Rocky Horror Shows His Heels. This script would have featured the return of all of the characters from the original film, and O'Brien wished to largely use the original production team to make the new film; however, Sharman did not wish to revisit the original concept so directly, and Tim Curry did not wish to reprise his role.[citation needed]

Instead, in 1981, Sharman reunited with O'Brien to film Shock Treatment, a stand-alone feature that was not a direct sequel to the original film.[2] This film was originally conceived and written in 1980 under the title 'The Brad and Janet Show', using most of the songs from the original project Rocky Horror Shows His Heels with lyrical adjustments, and depicting the characters' continuing adventures in the town of Denton; however, these plans had to be adjusted due to a Screen Actor's Guild strike. The eventual production would entail the entire film being shot within a sound stage. Shock Treatment was poorly received by critics and audiences upon release (in no small part due to the principal cast of Curry, Sarandon and Bostwick not returning) but over time has built a small cult following, though not nearly as strong as the first film.[81]

Ten years later, O'Brien wrote another script intended as a direct sequel to the cult classic, entitled Revenge of the Old Queen.[82] Producer Michael White had hoped to begin work on the production and described the script as being "in the same style as the other one. It has reflections of the past in it."[83] Revenge of the Old Queen had apparently commenced pre-production; however, after studio head Joe Roth was ousted from Fox in 1993, the project was shelved indefinitely. Although the script has not been published, bootleg copies can be read on the Internet, and one song from the project's original demo tape circulates among fans. The script is currently owned by Fox, which produced the two original films. Most individuals associated with the project, including O'Brien, agree that the film will probably never be made, owing to the failure of Shock Treatment and the aging of the original cast.[84]

Between 1999 and 2001, O'Brien was working on a third attempted sequel project with the working title Rocky Horror: The Second Coming,[85] first to be made as a stage production, with an option to create a film if met with success. This script would largely integrate plot elements from Rocky Horror Shows His Heels, but with all-new songs. O'Brien completed a first draft of this script (which was read by Terry Jones[86]) but had difficulties finalizing anything beyond the first act, and little more has been heard of this project since the mid-2000s.[citation needed]

In 2015, O'Brien produced Shock Treatment for the theatrical stage. The production premiered at the King's Head theatre in Islington, London in the United Kingdom in the spring.[87][88]


"The Rocky Horror Glee Show" aired on October 26, 2010, as part of the second season of the TV series Glee, which recreated several scenes from the film, including the opening credits. It featured Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf in cameo roles.[89] An EP album covering seven songs from the movie was released on 19 October 2010.[90]

On April 10, 2015, it was announced that the Fox Broadcasting Company would air a modern-day reimagining of the film, titled The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.[91][92] On 22 October 2015, it was announced that the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter would be played by actress Laverne Cox.[93] Ryan McCartan and Victoria Justice play the roles of Brad and Janet, alongside Reeve Carney as Riff Raff and singer/model Staz Nair as Rocky.[94] Adam Lambert portrays Eddie.[95] Tim Curry, who portrayed Dr. Frank N. Furter in the film, portrays the Criminologist.[96] On 1 February 2016, it was announced that Broadway veteran Annaleigh Ashford would portray Columbia.[97] On 5 February 2016, Ben Vereen joined the cast as Dr. Everett von Scott.[98]

Kenny Ortega, best known for the High School Musical franchise and Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009), directed, choreographed and executive-produced the remake; Lou Adler, who was an executive producer of the original film, has the same role for the new film. The film premiered on Fox on 20 October 2016.[99]

See also


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  • Armstrong, Richard; Charity, Tom; Hughes, Lloyd; Winter, Jessica (2007). he Rough Guide to Film. London: Rough Guides. p. 506. ISBN 978-1-4053-8498-8.
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  • Blackshaw, Tony (2013). Routledge Handbook of Leisure Studies. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-1-136-49559-5.
  • Dika, Vera (2003). Recycled culture in contemporary art and film: the uses of nostalgia. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-01631-5.
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  • Peraino, Judith (2006). Listening to the sirens musical technologies of queer identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-92174-0.
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External links

26 March 1975

The Biological Weapons Convention comes into force.

The Biological Weapons Convention, the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, was opened for signature on 10 April 1972. The BWC entered into force on 26 March 1975.

The Second Review Conference agreed that the States Parties were to implement a number of confidence-building measures in order to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions and in order to improve international co-operation in the field of peaceful biological activities. The CBMs were expanded by the Third Review Conference.

Under these agreements, the States Parties undertook to provided annual reports – using agreed forms – on specific activities related to the BWC including: data on research centres and laboratories; information on vaccine production facilities; information on national biological defence research and development programmes; declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes; information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins; publication of results and promotion of use of knowledge and contacts; information on legislation, regulations and other measures.

Recognizing the need to further strengthen the BWC, a group of governmental experts was established at the Third Review Conference to identify and examine potential verification measures from a scientific and technical standpoint. At a Special Conference in September 1994, the States parties agreed to establish the Ad Hoc Group of the States parties to the BWC in order to negotiate and develop a legally-binding verification regime for the Convention.

The Fourth Review Conference welcomed the decision of the Ad Hoc Group to intensify its work with a view to completing it before the Fifth Review Conference to be held in 2001. The Ad Hoc Group was unable to conclude the negotiations on the draft legal instrument.

Due to persisting divergent views and positions on certain key issues, the Fifth Review Conference decided to adjourn its proceedings and resume its work in November 2002 in Geneva. The Conference was reconvened in November 2002 and adopted a Final Report that included a decision to hold annual meetings of States parties and experts meetings in the next three years leading up to the Review Conference in 2006.

The Sixth Review Conference succeeded in comprehensively reviewing the Convention, adopting a final document by consensus. The States parties adopted a detailed plan for promoting universal adherence, and decided to update and streamline the procedures for submission and distribution of the Confidence-Building Measures. They also adopted a comprehensive intersessional programme spanning from 2007 to 2010. In a significant development, the Conference agreed to establish an Implementation Support Unit to assist States parties in implementing the Convention.

16 September 1975

Papua New Guinea gains independence from Australia.

AS THE SUN SET on the afternoon of 16 September 1975, the Australian flag came down for the last time from Hubert Murray Stadium, in Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby. Almost 70 years of Australian governance was coming to an end.

At 9.30am the next day, a different flag – black and red with a golden bird of paradise – rose on Independence Hill, near a newly formed Parliament House. PNG was no longer an Australian territory but an independent nation.

In contrast to other recently independent states such as Uganda and Kenya, the change of authority in PNG was marked not by bloodshed but by celebration. Sir John Guise, the first Governor-General of PNG, said at the flag lowering ceremony: “It is important the people of Papua New Guinea, and the rest of the world, realise the spirit in which we are lowering the flag of our colonisers. We are lowering the flag, not tearing it down.”

Australia shares a complex history with its closest neighbour. The Australian government first assumed responsibility for the southern half of modern-day PNG in 1906, when Prime Minister Edmund Barton agreed to take control of what was then a British colony.

Australia’s interest in the region lay primarily in the exclusion of other European powers. At the time, Germany occupied the northern half of PNG, so the southern half served as a buffer zone between the Australian mainland and German territory. During the First World War, Australian forces expelled the Germans, and ex-German New Guinea was also claimed as Australian territory.

When the Japanese invaded PNG in July 1942, Australian and Papua New Guinean soldiers banded together to halt the advance – first at Milne Bay and then along the Kokoda Track. The victories underscored the importance of these territories to Australia’s security.

By the 1970s, control of PNG was affording little strategic benefit to Australia and many Papua New Guineans yearned for independence. In 1972, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and PNG leader Michael Somare began working together toward decolonisation. Three years later it became a reality.

Trial separation
Although formally separated since, Australia and PNG have maintained a close relationship. “What seemed like a divorce in 1975 is a trial separation, in which the two governments can negotiate a new way of living next to each other,” says Donald Denoon, writer and former Professor of History at the University of Papua New Guinea.

With some of the worst health and education problems in the Asia-Pacific region, PNG continues to rely heavily on Australian aid; our government will next year provide $482.3 million in funding to promote development and help lift Papua New Guineans from poverty.

Some historians argue that many of the problems stem from a rushed independence – that PNG was not ready to govern itself. Donald disagrees: “Despite immense problems, Papua New Guinea was well governed for at least a decade after 1975. We cannot assume that longer Australian tutelage would have produced better [native] governance.”

Australia is set to provide continuing support, but the ultimate goal is to make PNG self-sustaining. “Papua New Guinea did become independent in 1975,” says Donald, “but I now see this as a phase in a much longer relationship, rather than the end of a turbulent story.”

14 August 1975

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running release in film history, opens in London.

It’s astounding, or at least it must be reviewers who panned The Rocky Horror Picture Show when it first flashed its fishnets 40 years ago: Time is fleeting, but the film remains an interactive fixture in theaters around the country, where it has earned the distinction of being the longest-running movie in history.

Rocky Horror — the now-classic tale of a young couple whose lives change when they stumble upon an extraterrestrial transsexual/mad scientist — looks as good in a corset as it did when it opened in London on this day, Aug. 14, in 1975. It premiered in Los Angeles the following month. It has been playing ever since, often as a midnight show, drawing costumed devotees carrying rice, toilet paper and toast, among other props, to throw at the screen.

Critics almost universally slammed the film when it premiered; they’d given mixed reviews to the stage musical it was based on, too. The play had done well in London, where it began its run in 1973, and where the New York Times called it “the trendiest entertainment in town.” In New York, the musical retained its leading man — Tim Curry, who also brings the movie to staggering heights of platform-heeled camp, and whom the Times lauded for “flashing his eyes like headlamps, tossing his curls roguishly, and talking in a voice of sugared bile” — but lost some of its audience appeal.

TIME’s reviewer, for one, was not impressed. “It is not easy to see why this campy trash was a long-running hit in London and a smash success in Los Angeles,” notes the 1975 review, “except that transvestism has always fascinated the British and the L.A. scene is almost as kinky.”

By 1985, TIME’s film critic had kinder words for the movie, calling it “a cross-generational phenomenon, an evocation of ’50s monster movies wrapped in the anything-goes spirit of the ’60s that found a niche in the ’70s and has blossomed in the ’80s into a rite of passage for millions of American teenagers.”

The film, by now, is beside the point, as Roger Ebert noted. It has evolved into a mere vehicle for the audience participation that has sustained its creative spark so long. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not so much a movie as more of a long-running social phenomenon,” Ebert wrote. When the movie’s midnight showings were at their peak in the ‘80s, he said: …the fans put on a better show than anything on the screen. They knew the film by heart, chanted all of the lines in unison, sang along with the songs, did dances on stage, added their own unprintable additions to the screenplay, and went through a lot of props like toilet paper and water pistols. They also formed a sort of weird extended family. They met every week, exchanged ritual greetings, celebrated each other’s birthdays and other major holidays, and even dated and married and gave birth to a new generation of “Rocky Horror” cultists.

Rocky Horror’s standing as a social phenomenon hasn’t wavered; if anything, it’s become more mainstream in recent years. It was the focus of a Glee episode in 2010; this year, Fox announced that it would give the film a modern-day makeover as a TV movie.

And while that remake will rely on the original script, Fox doesn’t anticipate renewed criticism for kinkiness. “Though full of innuendo,” Entertainment Weekly concludes, “it’s unlikely Rocky Horror would receive its original R rating by today’s standards.”

30 May 1975

The European Space Agency is established.

The ESA Convention was signed in Paris on 30 May 1975 by the nine original Member States Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It entered into force on 30 October 1980 with the deposit of the last instrument of ratification by France, in accordance with its Article XXI, 1.

The idea of creating an independent space organisation in Europe dated back to the early 1960s when six European countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK – formed the European Launcher Development Organisation to develop and build a heavy launcher called ‘Europa’. In 1962, those same countries, plus Denmark, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, formed the European Space Research Organisation to undertake mainly scientific satellite programmes.

In 1975, a convention was concluded at diplomatic and ministerial level to set up one ‘European Space Agency’, effectively merging ESRO and ELDO, and broadening the scope of the agency’s remit to include operational space applications systems, such as telecommunications satellites.

The ESA collaborated with NASA on the International Ultraviolet Explorer, the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years. A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like NASA, JAXA, ISRO, CSA and Roscosmos, one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated.

14 September 1975

Pope Paul VI canonized the first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton.


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, known as “Mother Seton,” is special to all Americans for historical, humanitarian and spiritual reasons. Though born in the New York City area, she lived in Maryland from 1809 until her death.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was widowed at the age of 29 and left to care for her five children alone. Her late husband’s shipping business had been unstable, and money was scarce. In order to support her family, she attempted to establish a school but met with little success. To the dismay of her friends and relatives, she converted to the Catholic faith. With encouragement and assistance from John Carroll, the first Catholic Bishop of Baltimore, Seton came to Baltimore and established the first free school for girls in 1808. This school, which was the forerunner of the Catholic school system, soon outgrew its original location on Paca Street and moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1809. Also in 1809, Seton founded the first American religious order for women known as the Sisters of Charity. This religious order, later evolved into the Daughters and Sisters of Charity. The order grew throughout the United States and expanded into several foreign countries. Beginning in 1814, Mother Seton and her religious daughters established schools, orphanages and hospitals throughout the world.

On September 14, 1975, Pope Paul VI proclaimed, “Elizabeth Ann Seton is a Saint,” making her the first native born American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

26 March 1975

The Biological Weapons Convention takes affect.

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The Biological Weapons Convention, the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, was opened for signature on 10 April 1972. The BWC entered into force on 26 March 1975. The Second Review Conference agreed that the States Parties were to implement a number of confidence-building measures in order to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions and in order to improve international cooperation in the field of peaceful biological activities. The CBMs were expanded by the Third Review Conference.

Under these agreements, the States Parties undertook to provided annual reports – using agreed forms – on specific activities related to the BWC including: data on research centres and laboratories; information on vaccine production facilities; information on national biological defence research and development programmes; declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes; information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins; publication of results and promotion of use of knowledge and contacts; information on legislation, regulations and other measures.