MOTW: Five Interesting Facts about "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
October 22nd, 2013

MOTW: Five Interesting Facts about "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

The "Rocky Horror Picture Show" was a hit musical film based on the 1970s cult musical "The Rocky Horror Show." This iconic rock musical has been revived many times in theaters. Check out these five interesting facts about this smash hit worshipped by a generation of followers and moviegoers.

It Holds the Record for the Longest-Running Theatrical Release in Film History

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" was first released in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1975. Nearly four decades later, the same show continues to play in cinemas. Its distributor never pulled the film out, and it still plays at the Rialto Theater in Raleigh, North Carolina, every Friday at 11:30 p.m.

Even though it enjoys a strong cult following to date, it's interesting to note that the film wasn't really an overnight success. It fared decently on its initial release but was considered a box-office flop until its release in April 1976 at the Waverly Theater in New York City. What started as a low-budget midnight movie became the longest-running and most-successful musical film in history.

Some of the Original Stage Actors Reprised Their Roles in the Movie

Tim Curry (Dr. Frank-N-Furter), Nell Campbell (Columbia), Patricia Quinn (Magenta), and Richard O'Brien (Riff Raff) were originally in the stage production of "The Rocky Horror Show." It was Tim Curry's first feature role and the second time he and O'Brien worked together in a musical. Nell Campbell, billed in the movie as Little Nell, is an Australian actress who was cast in the West End Production of "The Rocky Horror Show." Patricia Quinn originally turned down the film role, but she later agreed to reprise it after talking with producer John Goldstone. She also got what she fervently wanted: lip-synching the opening song "Science Fiction, Double Feature." Her floating red lips appeared during the opening sequence; although, the vocals were courtesy of O'Brien. Richard O'Brien played Riff Raff both in the stage production and in the movie. He actually is the writer of the "The Rocky Horror Show" book, musical, and film. Other performers present in both the stage production and musical film were Meat Loaf (Eddie) and Jonathan Adams (Mr. Scott).

The Residence Shown in the Movie Was a Popular Location for Hammer Horror Films

Dr. Frank-N-Furter's castle was partially shot at Oakley Court, a gothic Victorian country house in Windsor. It was used in numerous horror movies, such as "The Old Dark House," "And Now the Screaming Starts," "Brides of Dracula," and "Murder by Death." The thirty-five-acre Oakley Court was built in 1859 and is adjacent to Hammer's Bray Studio—the producer of many blood-curdling films and "The Rocky Horror Show."

The castle was more than a century old when the production of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" used it as a filming location. According to Barry Botswick, the actor who played Brad, the castle was leaking, and the cast were almost always wet during shooting. A room was designated as the warm room, and the cast would huddle inside between takes. Oakley Castle was refurbished in 1981 and was made into a luxury hotel. Fans of the film can actually stay in the castle, though a room will cost from £150 to £195 a night.

Movie Patrons Play Their Parts during the Midnight Showings of the Film

Audience participation has been a tradition during midnight showings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The regulars have pretty much laid out the rules of participation for first-time moviegoers. Most followers wear costumes and dresses resembling the outfits of the film's actors—many bring props for full audience participation. Some of the most-used props include rice, water pistols, rubber gloves, confetti, newspaper, flying cards, party hats, torches, and toast. Note that some of these props are not meant for stage shows, which involve live performances from real theater actors. Props also vary from city to city. Audiences also throw in verbal dialogues or talkback lines to add to the "Rocky Horror Show" experience.

Tim Curry related that he once dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and went to a midnight showing at the Waverly Theater in New York City. He said in an interview that he was kicked out before the show ended. The usher thought Curry was an impostor.

Three Eminent Actors Hoped but Failed to Get Roles in the Movie

Steve Martin reportedly auditioned for the movie role of Brad but was passed over for Barry Bostwick. Mick Jagger wanted Tim Curry's part, and Vincent Price tried for the part of the Criminologist. However, Jim Sharman, the director of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," chose as many of the original stage actors as possible.