Greetings Denizens of the Teslaverse!! It is I, Richard “Mongo” Hougland here to entertain you with my first review/article for the new Midnight Monster Movies with Dr. Bob webpage. I will try to make these periodic reviews as entertaining and witty as the show itself- but why aim so low, you ask? I want to set the bar low to start and see where I go as I get comfortable interacting with you fans. *winks*
As for the first review, I had several choices running in my head like a track meet- the Creature trilogy Legacy collection? The Gamera Legacy collection? A movie I have seen and that is scheduled to be shown by Dr B? Mega Shark v Kolossus? The Asylum ? So many ways I could have chosen, but I believe my first review will beabout a movie that will most probably NEVER be shown by M3wDB- The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Why would Dr Bob not show this movie? Because Dr Bob wants to show you movies that you may not have seen for years (Kingdom of Metal), might not have ever seen (any number of premieres-including Avengers Grimm and the upcoming Queen Crab), may have never heard of (most of the first Mihm movies) or old favorites you were anxious to see again (like Sgt. Kabukiman!)
But how can I review a 40+ year old movie and make it a new article? By actually reviewing the movie in part 1 and the RHPS “Experience” in Part 2. You see, the RHPSis a very unusual canine in the Dog Show of the Movie world. It is not considered that good a movie by most critics, yet it has played repeatedly on movie screens across the nation for over 4 decades. Not to mention (wait- I just did mention it!) the effect it has had on generations of film-makers trying to capture their own cult movie lightning in a bottle.
Anyway, as I said, the first part here, is strictly about the movie. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a strange movie indeed. It combines elements of horror, sci-fi and music with cheap sets, unusual casting choices and a meandering, plot hole filledscript to create a very entertaining movie. Not a great movie, and often not even a good one, but entertaining none the less.
As sci-fi/horror mashups go, the plot about a stuck up straight laced newly engaged couple finding the Furter “castle” and all its zany occupants is just there for one reason-to set up the various songs. Thankfully, this movie has one of the best scores ever. If not the best. All of the songs are fantastic with well choreographed dance numbers. I defy you to not sing along to The Time Warp! Personally, the home made tape I made of the soundtrack album got me through months of work commute back in the day.
But sadly, that IS the best thing about this movie. The score saves a badly written and cheaply made movie from being unwatchable. While certain elements like the breaking of the fourth wall, racy for its time subject matter and sporadic witty dialogue make it an acceptable watch, it is the energy O’Brien puts into every song and dance number that saves this movie and makes it watchable.
Now, if you want to actually watch the movie, do not do what I did so many years ago-try to watch it live at a theater while it is being shadowcast. And it is almost always being shadowcast nowadays. The cast dancing and singing to the movie with the audience callbacks will NOT allow you to concentrate on the movie at all. That will be covered in the second part of this review. I suggest that if you are truly interested in this movie and have not seen it before (seriously, where have you been if you have never seen RHPS before?), just pop in a vhs tape or dvd of the movie to watch it before actually attending a live performance.
The second part of this review now covers what can be called the most interactive movie experience currently available on the cult movie circuit. As you may or may not know, there are several movies out there that have attained “cult” status and are shown on a regular basis (usually one weekend a month) and actually encourage the theater going patron to participate in the movie and its presentation.
As I amconscious ofmy cast mates many years of shadowcasting this very movie, Iwill leave it to them if they want to write about it from a performing aspect. I will approach it from the viewer aspect of a shadowcast.
When you attend your (un)usual showing of a midnight screening of RHPS, you must be prepared for several things that seem to be prevalent in all such screenings. First and foremost, you can NOT be upset by language, coarse sex jokes, double entendres, cannibalism, people jumping up and dancing in the aisles, people yelling comments-vulgar and otherwise- at the screen, sexual preference references or just about anything. Why? Because when the crazies adopted this movie, they ADOPTED this movie! It is theirs. It is not yours. They will do what they want while the movie is on and you can only hang on and enjoy the ride!
And if you can abide by some really bad (and in terribly bad taste) jokes and amateur “acting”, you should enjoy the RHPS Experience. Seriously folks, they start off with a Host/emcee inviting the RHPS virgins down for a deflowering. Depending on how vulgar said host or hostess wants to be, it can be pretty rough. Also, I can not stress this enough, some host(esses) seemed determined to be bigger than the movie instead of complementing the movie experience. I have been to a few RHPS screenings where the Host thought the audience was there to see him/her and not the movie. Other hosts have been almost deferential .
Most screenings raise cast money with prop bags and general money raisers. Wait, you ask, did I say a prop bag? Why yes, I did. It is filled with assorted props to be used by the audience during the movie and includes (but is not limited to) toast, cards, a noisemaker, newspaper and of course, a roll of toilet paper. But in general the water pistols and rice have been banned from most screenings. Trust me, you will understand what to do with everything and if you don’t know, they will clue you in.
Earlier I mentioned callbacks. Now, if you want to sit in silence while the movie plays and think the audience should be quiet so you should enjoy the movie, let me say it for the host/emcee- get the frell out! This is NOT a sit quietly and watch experience. For example, whenever you see Brad, the audience will call him “Asshole”! and Janet is usually greeted with “Slut”. Remember I mentioned there were plotholes? Well, that is apparently what the callbacks are for. That is why the audience will yell at the screen that “castles don’t have phones!”. And if you want to fully participate in the callbacks, google them and you will find them for the entire movie. Really folks, there are no minutes in this movie where there is nothing to yell at the screen.
And the best movie dance ever is the Time Warp, which will be explained to you and even diagrammed so that you too can Time Warp ! When it occurs, you best be ready or getting concessions, because the whole audience is expected to jump up and join in. The floor show is also very well done, but not as energetic or crowd involving.
So my verdict is absolutely, watch the movie in the peace and quiet of your own home before embarking on the RHPS Experience, which may drive you insa-a-a-ne!
Website minion Chris here adding on to Richard's review. Was on Rocky for eight years. The Crowds, the atmosphere, and 90% of the cast were terrific. The movie is not.