In the Winter of 1983, I was dating another guy named Kevin (not to be confused with first-love Kevin), who had joined the Marine Corps before we met. He was sent to boot camp right after Christmas. I missed him a lot; I fell for him fast and hard before he left for basic. This was before cell phones, internet, etc., and so we wrote a lot of letters back and forth. But it was hard not to have a boyfriend around, especially on the weekends during parties and stuff.
I am so not a winter person, and that was a bad winter. Tons of snow, lots of school days called off (which you think would be awesome, but it got tiresome and boring after a while), and at times we couldn’t even get mail, which meant no letters from Kevin to cheer me up.
After hearing me whine and complain once too often, Marybeth and our friends Joanne and Kathleen decided I needed something to snap me out of my funk and took me to a midnight movie – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I had never seen it, which in keeping with the lingo of the movie, made me a virgin. Thankfully, my friends didn’t make it known out loud that I was a Rocky virgin, because Rocky virgins are usually bombarded with the props throughout the movie, at least where we lived.
My friends didn’t really explain to me about the audience participation; they didn’t even bring any props. But they made sure we sat in the back; I realized why later.
As soon as the lips appeared on the screen, I was hooked. The song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” was amazing. The opening scene at the church wasn’t all that exciting, but I loved when they were walking to the castle singing “There’s a Light.” I also realized why people were holding newspapers over their heads – the squirt guns came out, imitating the rain happening in the movie.
And now I knew why we were sitting in the back.
Then it was time for “The Time Warp.” Remember, I was a Rocky virgin, so I was amazed, as well as confused, when half the audience got up and started doing this weird dance. It looked like so much fun, but there was no way I was exposing myself for the virgin I was. However, I have since gotten up and danced The Time Warp other times I went to see it.
By this time, my funk was gone and I was having a blast. You just can’t go see Rocky Horror and stay in a bad mood. And when Frankie first made his appearance, my jaw dropped and I don’t think my mouth closed the rest of the movie. He was AWESOME. How in the world can a guy dressed in lingerie be attractive? I have no idea, but Tim Curry pulled it off like no other.
My very favorite scene and song from Rocky Horror will always be “Sweet Transvestite.”
So here’s a singing transvestite on the screen, toast is flying around me, people are yelling crazy stuff at the characters. What the hell? That night I discovered that The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t just a movie, it’s an experience.
They now show it on TV, usually around Halloween. It’s kind of fun to watch that way, but mostly for the nostalgia. It’s not an experience in your living room. I let my daughter Becca watch it with me (bad mom alert!), and she thought it was OK, but nothing awesome. That’s too bad. I don’t think they even have midnight movies anywhere, at least not where I live. They’ve gone the way of drive-ins and single-screen theaters. If I ever find out that Rocky is playing in any theater within driving distance, whether in the midnight or the afternoon, my kids and I are there!
I left the theater that night feeling better than I had in ages. Of course, Kevin and I didn’t last; we broke up shortly after he completed boot camp because I liked someone else. Long-distance romances rarely last, especially when you’re only seventeen and about to graduate high school.
I have seen Rocky Horror many times since that night , but like they say, you always remember your first time.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Trailer