Rocky Horror Picture WHOAH

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Written by Jaimee-Lisa Cotter

Although most students may be a little old to go trick or treating, Halloween is a welcomed time for those at the University of Guelph. Falling in the midst of the busiest point of the semester with midterm madness setting in, any excuse to get out and celebrate is a rallying point. Dressing up is just a bonus, one of the many traditions that come with the holiday.

One hallowed tradition (and cult classic favourite) that people indulge in around this time of year is the interactive viewing Rocky Horror Picture Show. It simply would not do to just watch the movie, the true die hards go all out: the experience involves costumes, props, sing alongs, dancing and even improvised dialogue.

According to the official Rocky Horror Fan Site, this tradition has been going on for almost 40 years now.

First written as a musical in 1973 by Richard O’Brien—who was attempting to pay homage to the humourously horrible B list horror films and science fiction flicks that were so popular from the 1930s to the 1970s— “The Rocky Horrow Show” premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London, England before moving to Broadway in 1975.

In the early days of success brought on by its Broadway career and great reception in the UK, the film adaptation that came in 1975 held very little notoriety until showings of the Rocky Horror Show dwindled in numbers, moving to smaller theatres and prescribed to less notable talents in the theatre industry.

It was not until 1976, when the film adaptation “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was being shown as a midnight feature at the Waverly Theatre in New York that audience members started a call-back conversation with counterpoint dialogue to what the characters say and do. Five months after its original air date, someone yelled at Janet to “Buy an umbrella you cheap bitch”, and it was the comment that started the cult sensation.

This year, the Drama Students Federation and The English Students Society teamed up to bring an interactive screening—complete with the aforementioned costumes, props, sing alongs, dancing and even improvised dialogue—to take place in the Lower Massey theatre space on campus the evening before Halloween.

The event was free, so anyone could come and join. Props were provided and costumes encouraged. The results were slightly unexpected.

“It was quite a sight seeing Lower Massey packed with almost 100 kids all singing There’s a Light with newspapers held over their heads. The atmosphere was practically electric with everyone singing along together, waving glow sticks and flashlights. It brought a misty tear to my eye” said Hannah Green, President of The English Students Society.

A line that stretched right on to the Johnston Green formed about 40 minutes before the event was scheduled to open its doors, and Frankenfurters, Magentas, Colombias, Janets and Brads were sprawled across the lawn in all of their lab-coat, shiny underwear, maid outfit glory.

Once inside, members of both student organizations equipped the costumed enthusiasts with necessary props, including rice for throwing at the wedding, newspaper to shield them from the rain, and (slightly burnt to perfection)toast to join in the dinner celebration.

With barely enough room to twirl their noisemakers, almost 100 students and faculty members got on their feet for the Time Warp, and even completed all the steps. While they made a motley dancing crew, the crowd delighted with their harmonies, and managed clever quips about the sexual pervasiveness of Janet and the “lack of consideration” that Brad is so infamous for.

Between the incredible fervor for assistance putting on the show and the enthusiasm by the audience, this year’s showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show was a celebrated effort by all those who came together to plan it. Janet. 

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