Just shy of 40 years old, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” still makes for a popular event each and every Halloween. The Palace Theatre plays host to the cult classic film Monday, Oct. 20, as part of its annual Rocky Horror Bash.
“This is our fifth year hosting Rocky Horror here with the live shadowcast – our eighth year in total,” said Sean Allen, marketing director for The Albany Palace. He said the first three years did not involve the shadowcast. “Now, of course, we do the movie with the shadowcast on stage.”
The film was an adaptation to the 1973 musical “Rocky Horror Show.” It paid homage to the classic horror and B-rate films of the 1930s to the early 1970s. Australian theater director Jim Sharman directed the movie, and he had cast many of the actors from the original musical, with the exception of Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon.
However, despite its popularity today, it received little fanfare in 1975.
Sharman went on to head another film before ultimately returning to a successful career directing theatre productions in Australia. Like a fine wine, many more successes soon followed, but it wasn’t until the film developed a cult following, aided by the side production of audience members.
The punk-infused masquerade that is now associated with the film began at the Waverly Theatre in New York City. People now typically attend showings donning costumes, wielding props and armed with unique lines to complement the film, creating an entirely new movie experience.
“We went to a midnight showing of this movie in 1979,” recalled Albany resident Teresa Alexander. “We brought the usual [props] — toast, squirt guns, etc. We also brought a handheld lawn seeder for the rice. It was a blast.”
The movie’s costume designer Sue Blane, who incorporated colored hair, dramatic make-up and ripped fishnet stockings (among other things) has since taken credit for the punk rock music image that immediately followed the release of the movie.
It can be argued that Blane had no such influence on David Bowie’s or Billy Idol’s careers, but the movie itself definitely had an influence upon one of the original actors from the musical: Meat Loaf.
Meat Loaf, who played Eddie in both the musical and movie, was virtually unknown to the music world in 1975. He only just teamed up with Jim Steinman, and began work on their hit album, “Bat Out of Hell.” A music video for Paradise by the Dashboard Lights preceded each theatrical run. The album has sold more than 43 million copies, worldwide.
Sarandon and Bostwick each went on to have successful careers in movies and television, respectively. However, Tim Curry’s performance as Dr. Frank N. Furter continues to be a favorite among fans.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. After nearly four decades, it continues to have a large cult following among midnight movies internationally. In 2005, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
“[I went to a] midnight show at Northway Mall sometime in the early ’80s, probably,” said Saratoga County resident Diane Spencer. “Good times, singing and throwing toast.”
However, Spencer also recalls the next course of events that evening as not being not so fine.
“Driving home to Troy, mind you, with a broken taillight… Cop, impounded vehicle, $35 cab ride home … Ah! Good times,” she said, laughing.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is rated R, and it’s not for everyone.
“There’s plenty of cursing and then some, so it’s nothing for kids,” said Albany resident Susan Rice.
The movie is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at The Palace. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster for $7 each.
In the flesh
You can also catch a showing of the original musical, “The Rocky Horror Show,” at the Schenectady Light Opera Company this week.
Prop kits are available for the SLOC showing for $5 each. Props from home will not be allowed.
Performances are every night this week, from Thursday, Oct. 16, to Sunday, Oct. 19. Shows start at 8 p.m. each night, with a 2 p.m. start on Sunday. Tickets start at $18 each. For more information, call 877-350-7378.