The story behind this musical can't be spoiled very much. This film was a major, groundbreaking film during the late 70's and early 80's. MANY people hated it passionately, while many of us that were young and rebellious heralded it. As you likely already know, it was an adaptation for film from the musical, "The Rocky Horror Show," but little was changed of significance during adaptation. For nothing else, this film deserves full stars for audience interaction like none other. It was and remains as the supreme cult classic. Today, one can watch similar risqué material on a cartoon channel, without being surprised. But back then, we didn't have nearly as much of the outrageous in our entertainment that we have today. Sure, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Hair' pushed some boundaries, but we didn't have the amount of competing stimulus as is present today.
The media was very tightly controlled, and we were inhibited and repressed by this as to what was acceptable. This musical would not have been possible without the influences of the narrated Sci-Fi B movies (and the humor of how ridiculous they were), British programming of shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus, and the hippies and musicians of the late 60's & early 70's.
I had long hair back then, and that was a radical thing to do, because family fought over such matters. Seriously, the television shows of our youth would not even show a husband and wife in the same bed without them having to keep at least one foot on the ground. We were raised to believe that sex was a "dirty" thing by our government and many of the social customs that seemed left over from the decisions made by the Council of Trent and the Inquisition of the Dark Ages.
I admit that I tried my only hit of LSD in my life on the day of my first viewing of this film in a theater back in 1978. When those red lips came on the big screen singing, it blew my mind, because it was so novel. Then, the story continued to work away further at the constructs in my mind. When it transitioned us from a wedding in a conservative, rural setting, to entering the Frankenstein place with Dr Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite from the planet transsexual of the galaxy Transylvania, in a hot drag outfit, pushing boundaries about sexuality, music & dance styles, some of the mind-fabrications from our culture that needed to be questioned, were falling down.
When the audience began shouting phrases, holding up umbrellas, throwing toast, carrying around "virgins," it occurred to me that this was a profound moment in my life. We were up dancing together, as a community, to "Let's Do the Time Warp Again," and I had never experienced anything close to it. Wouldn't it be grand if a new production had the ability to get people to unite together dancing in a movie theater?
The scene where Janet wants to get dirty with Rocky, singing, "Toucha Toucha Toucha Touch Me," tells much of the story on its own. She was overly repressed, and viewed sex as dirty due to her upbringing, and wanted to be dirty. She and Brad were exposed to events and people they could never have even imagined based on their upbringing. In some ways, we were rebelling and being dirty to a degree by just being at the show.
The musical gets more ludicrous in the Sci-Fi, B movie style. I don't think the particulars of the story matter much, so don't be upset that you may miss some of the story due to the audience being radical.
I am a major fan of both Sci-Fi and musicals, as that was what our generation had available: Elvis, Bing Cosby, West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, etc. I acted & sang my heart out in musicals. Plus, I grew up cultured by my parents with theater. But, the musicals were mostly wholesome. This musical was turning our definition of wholesome on its head. Now, when I watch it, it seems strange to me that it doesn't really contain anything I wouldn't want my grand-children to see. Similar risqué material is shown during regular family watching hours now. It really does not contain anything shocking for today, but back then, the shockwaves ran deep and long.
If you are a Rocky Horror Picture Show virgin: I read one of the top reviews that suggested that it should be watched on video first. I dissent with this, as I tried that approach with a RHPS virgin back in the 80's, shortly after I was married. I watched this film with my then wife (and current friend) on VHS. Seeing it for the first time on our television, without the audience, seemed lame to her. I tried to add to the experience with my shouts in the living-room, but no props in the house. It just fell flat. My suggestion for virgins to this show is to go to the theater, without reading any further reviews, and make certain everyone knows you are a RHPS virgin, so they can take care of you. Don't mind if you get carried around with your legs spread open, as happens in some places. You are in for a treat!
DRUG DISCLAIMER: Just because my LSD experience was profound with this picture, I am not promoting you to take any hallucinogens before you watch it. My only reason for mentioning it is due to the cultural significance of hallucinogens back then. Very shortly after my first viewing of this picture, I had a very bad trip when someone snuck some Angel-Dust into a bowl of weed we were smoking, and it messed me up for several very scary days that you would not wish to endure.
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