Although it’s nearly midnight and about 40 degrees outside, there’s a line of about 30 people extending down the block in front of the Albany Twin Theatre, all here to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Since it came out in 1975, Rocky Horror has made quite an impression. It characterizes the embracing of sexuality that was prevalent in the 1970’s. Basically, the film is Frankenstein meets parody horror film meets rock n roll sexiness.
It‘s “liberation in a cool way,” said moviegoer Whitney (28) from Sacramento.
Whitney looks like one might expect of a person attending Rocky Horror. She’s dressed up as one of the characters, Magenta, with dark makeup and lipstick in a bloody maid outfit complete with a feather duster that she waves jauntily as she talks.
“I’ve been to five or so performances,” she said. She was 17 when she saw her first Rocky Horror show at UC Davis. “Before my first show, I was told that people yell a lot!”
Another aspect that makes the Rocky Horror experience so unique is that it’s entirely interactive. Actors are up on stage as the movie plays behind them, and there are certain times when viewers throw things such as toilet paper and toast at the screen.
At one point, everyone files out to the aisles to dance the ‘Time Warp’ (You put your hand on your hips).
People also yell at the screen. For example when Frank-N-Furter says, “I see you shiver with antici-…” everyone yells, “SAY IT! SAY IT! SAY IT!” until he says “pation” and then they all sigh in relief. The funny thing is, although most people yell the same things at the same, there’s no set script of things to yell. People are constantly making up new little jokes and some just catch on. The yelling and throwing makes for a rather hectic movie watching environment but these parts make the whole affair a lot more exciting.
Yet another interesting aspect of Rocky horror is the wide variety of people it attracts — from full blown cult classic fanatics, average college girls, to your grandma. In fact, in line just behind Whitney was 67-year-old Bobbie, who was taking her 20-something granddaughter to see it. “I saw it when it first came out!,” Bobbie said. “I took her father to see it for his twelfth birthday.” She gestures to her granddaughter who looks vaguely embarrassed.
“He wanted to see Star Wars, but I took him to see [this] instead. I don’t mind sex, but I don’t like violence,” she laughed. “It’s incredibly entertaining though, really wonderful.”
Further down the line 24-year-old Nytasha and 34-year-old Jason stand in matching fishnet and corset outfits. Although they look like veterans, the big red ‘V’s painted on their cheeks in lipstick identify them as ‘virgins’ or people who have never seen a show before. They explain that although they’ve never been to the show, both have seen the film. “It’s iconic,” said Jason.
Lauren and Molly were girls who wouldn’t look out of place at a Taylor Swift concert, shivering in the cold outside the theatre. “We were just looking at movies to watch online and came across this one,” explained Lauren.
“It looked fun! My mom grew up with it,” added Molly (22).
At the front of the line stands Albany High School’s own Gabriel DaSilva, a junior, looking very cold in only black skinny jeans and pair of white and gold suspenders. “I first saw it in middle school with some friends. I was an innocent little child,” he joked. He enjoyed the show though, although he “didn’t expect it to be so sexual”.
In all, it’s an odd looking bunch, guys in fishnet leggings and heels stand next to girls shivering in their Hollister sweaters and shuffling their Ugg boots. Whitney reflected on this diversity, “It brings people together. It’s cool that such a strange movie has made such a big impact. How 40 or so years later, people still line up at midnight to see it,” she said.
Rocky Horror’s impact is so great that on its
fortieth anniversary in 2015, it was announced that a remake will be released next year with Laverne Cox starring as Frank-N-Furter.
For anyone interested in seeing a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Albany Twin, it plays the second Saturday of every month at 11:55 pm starting again in February.
Tickets are $10.