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Rocky Horror Celebrates The Time Warp Again For 35th Year

By Kelsey Borresen
Published: Friday, October 01, 2010, at 02:29PM
Rocky Horror 35th Anniversary Sarah Kucera

Actor Barry Boswtick is surrounded by numerous "Brads," dressed as his character from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, at last Saturday's 35th anniversary screening at the Million Dollar Theatre.

“Ass-hole, ass-hole, ass-hole!” the 1,000-person crowd chanted in unison as a now grey Barry Bostwick stepped on stage, wearing the thick-rimmed glasses, khaki jacket and dark wig of his strait-laced character Brad Majors from the 1975 film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

In more mainstream circles, adulation, applause and high-pitched screams are common ways to pay homage to the star of your favorite movie. But for diehard fans of the campy parody of 1970s sci-fi and horror movies, this type of mockery is the sincerest form of flattery.

“It’s all in good fun,” said Bernie Bregman, producer of SinCon, a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” convention that ran Sept. 23 through Sept. 25 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the film’s release. “We revere the movie, but we also make fun of the movie because it’s about being lighthearted and being comfortable enough with each other and being comfortable enough with the film to joke about it.”

The culminating event and highlight of the weekend was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening at Sid Grauman’s Million Dollar Theater on South Broadway “where jocks are the outcasts and where the majority is the minority,” according to Jason Satterfield, one of the evening’s hosts. The theater smelled like cigarette smoke with a hint of body odor from the overexcited and scantily clad fans dancing the famous “Time Warp” number from their seats. Men and women alike dress in sequined corsets, patent leather high heels, French maid costumes and leather motorcycle vests—blurring the lines between gender and sexuality just as the movie does.

“It’s not what people consider normal,” 17-year-old Chris Vazquez said. “It’s a chance to express yourself through many different ways—make-up and fishnets… whatever you want to do, it’s OK. It doesn’t matter what color [you are] or how big you are. Everyone loves each other and accepts each other and that’s what we’re here for.” In the 35 years since its original release, 20th Century Fox has never pulled the movie from theaters, making it the longest-running theatrical release in film history.
Bostwick’s Saturday evening appearance was just one of the many events to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the film’s first U.S. opening on Sept. 26, 1975 at the United Artists Theater in Westwood.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was a box office flop until it was re-marketed as a midnight movie in 1976 when it gained the cult following it is now well known for. Shadow casting has become an integral part of the “Rocky Horror” experience, in which fans act out the movie in full costume and in sync with the film playing on the projector screen behind them.

“Every one of Barry’s charms—when he messes up his hair or when he touches his glasses—I can hit every one of those marks with the same precision and timing that he did in the film,” said Bregman, who is a retail area manager by day and the brash host of the edgy and dark comedy film by night. “The first time I did it I probably practiced for four hours a day for seven or eight days straight and after that part it’s just repetition.”

Another facet of the audience participation are call-back — humorous, and sometimes pop culture-based one-liners that fans create and shout out during the movie to set up or react to one of the characters on screen. Fans also bring or buy prop kits that include toilet paper, newspaper, latex gloves and confetti to throw or snap during certain parts of the movie.

“You just pick it up. But before I’d ever gone to the theater, I’d make stuff up and then I came and people were already saying it,” 17-year-old Nick Schaefer, who has seen the movie at least 1,000 times, said. “For half the movie I thought of lines to yell back. Me and my cousin would do this all the time. We didn’t even know this stuff was going on…the things we created at his house. And then we came here and they were yelling all the same stuff.”

Los Angeles-based shadow cast Sins O’ The Flesh sponsored the event along with smaller contributions from adult entertainment company Wicked Pictures, which plans to release an adult film based on “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The Sins O’ The Flesh — a name inspired by a line from the film — spent $50,000 and two years to prepare for the 2.5 days of celebration that included panel discussions on costume-making and shadow cast leadership, screenings of the film and its 1981 sequel “Shock Treatment,” Q&A sessions with the stars of the sequel, “Rocky Horror”-style Family Feud games, as well as a “Rocky Horror”-themed prom.

The film was based on Richard O’Brien’s 1973 British stage play by a similar name. The movie, directed by Jim Sharman, features now-famous actors such as Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, and singer Meat Loaf in starring roles.

In keeping with the laid-back tone of the evening, Bostwick played with both his “Asshole” moniker and the audience by pulling down his trousers and a pair of tighty-whiteys to expose a black mesh man thong.

“You called me an asshole for 35 years,” he shouted. “This,” as he pointed to himself, “is not an asshole. He then turned his back to the audience screaming, “THIS is an asshole.” The crowd broke out in uproarious laughter and cheered at the sight of a 65-year-old full moon.

“It’s unlike any other thing that’s out there,” Schaefer said. “I think everyone can talk shit about each other because we know it’s just a movie and we’re all having fun. It’s Rocky Horror… Anything goes.”


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