Saturday night, Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) packed the house for both the 8 p.m. and midnight showing of the 70’s cult classic musical horror spoof The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with moviegoers decked out for the event. Jacksonville Beach resident Andres Cuartas, who dressed as Susan Sarandon’s character Janet, won the costume contest.
The movie was accompanied by live performance by The 5 & Dime and Far Too Ambitious Productions, with cast including Robby McChargue, Carl L. Cochrane IV, Matthew Birmingham, Lisa Burt, Joy Poulard, Eva Matthews, Sandy Haltiwanger, Steven Foster and Edward Mourningwood. The group began the evening with a funny skit positing that they prepared for the wrong 70’s Rocky picture, the Sly Stone boxing blockbuster, and that they had to backpedal in order to get ready for Rocky Horror, which, of course, requires entirely different scripting and costuming.
Rocky Horror became a cult phenomenon with theaters in the 70’s and 80’s showing the movie weekly at midnight at theaters across the U.S. Fans dressed up in the garter belts and the other outrageous costumes of the movie’s cast and would head to the front of the theater to perform the film’s dance, The Time Warp, and sometimes even reenact the entire film. The film sparked all kinds of audience participation, with various theater-goers coming up with their own lines to accompany the actual script of the film. Also prominent was the use of props such as squirting water pistols, covering heads with newspapers, using noisemakers, and throwing rice, toilet paper or playing cards at key points during the movie. Saturday night at the MOCA was no exception, although, in the theater setting, the props were understandably limited to some extent.
The actual movie was the mastermind of Richard O’Brien, who appears as Riff Raff, and Jim Sharman, who adapted it from their musical stage play. Barry Bostwick and Sarandon play Brad and Janet, an innocent engaged couple. They enter a creepy castle after running out of gas and find the owner, a transvestite named Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), in Dr. Frankenstein style, just finishing up creating a man he calls Rocky (Peter Hinwood). In this case, unlike James Whale’s classic Frankenstein film, Frank-N-Furter had made the creature to serve as his love slave.
And if that weren’t enough, it turns out that the good doctor, his butler Riff and maid Magenta (Patricia Quinn) are actually aliens from Transsexual on the planet Transylvania. Eddie (Meat Loaf), whose brain has been split to give half to Rocky, arrives, and steals away the attention of the groupies, especially of his girlfriend Columbia (Little Nell), but more importantly to Frank-N-Furter, of Rocky. Jealous, Frank-N-Furter kills Eddie with an ice pick and later serves part of him up as the main course (spawning jokes about having Meatloaf for dinner). Dr. Scott (Jonathan Adams) comes to the castle in search of Eddie, his nephew.
Riff becomes increasingly disenchanted with Frank, and, by film’s end, neither Frank nor Rocky survive Riff’s wrath. In the meantime, audiences enjoy memorable songs like “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” which pays homage to the sci fi flicks of earlier days, “Over at the Frankenstein Place,” “Sweet Transvestite” (from Transsexual, Transylvania), and, of course, “The Time Warp.” Members of the Jacksonville Horror Movie Fans meetup group, Lori Melline, Theresa Krupa Aiken, Latisha, and Susan Acosta were among those in attendance.