To those who haven't seen Rocky Horror, don't bother reading reviews about it. It won't mean anything. Don't rent it on DVD which it recently came out on. It also won't mean anything, because it's missing the thing that gave it and the stage play that preceded it life... the audience. By definition, a cult film is meant to be seen by a group. Preferably, a large one.
I saw Rocky Horror 20-something years ago, and wound up playing "Brad" with the players next to the stage. Something I would normally never do. Why? The show's energy sucked me in. More accurately, the audience's energy sucked me in.
The show, with a revved-up audience, is almost like a dialogue between the movie and the people watching it. It celebrates sex, hedonism, even while playing out the danger, violence, and tragedy it can result in. It allows the audience of mostly young kids to exude and rejoice in their sexuality, whatever it is. And without ever taking their clothes off. I think that is the real appeal of the show. There's a joyousness, and a strange innocence, in throwing raunchy comments at the screen, watching the live performers on-stage act out the scenes in racy costumes, and sharing the energy anonymously in the dark with strangers.
The live show with the original actors must have been electrifying. Plays always have more energy than films because of the immediacy of the live actors, and the energy must have been even more intense. I'll always regret not having the chance to have seen it.
The movie itself has been described too many times for me to give a synopsis. I will however say that it is really a collage of feelings, ranging from fear, trepidation, excitement, lust, joyous sexual fulfillment, more lust, tragedy, and a strange sadness at the end. Basically, all the emotions that make life worth living, in an hour and a half. However, the visceral enjoyment of this film, and the emotions it brings, will only be experienced with a large, highly energized audience. If you get a chance, and if you can get your reserved ego out of the way, go to a midnight showing in your area when you know there's going to be a big showing. Don't go expecting a logical, coherent storyline. Its about experience, not narrative. You'll get an experience that you've been missing your whole life. At the end, there is a message here, hidden under all the seemingly blissful hedonism. It takes a long time for it to become clear, however.
I wonder if O'Brian, its creator, was clever enough to have put it there all along?
By the way, there is no nudity or actual sex in the entire movie. For a movie with its reputation, that's pretty amazing. Compared to the slasher/gore fests passing themselves off as film these days, the movie is strangely quaint and innocent. But then, that's what true enjoyment of sensuality should be.
For a cult film, 10 out of 10 stars. It doesn't get any better than this as cult films go.