Ah, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
A musical experience I saw at the start of my pubescent life. There it sat on the shelf of my local video store in the rent one, get one free section. My mother had given me her video rental card long before I chose to rent this film. I had seen numerous horrors, comedies, ‘B’ movies, & cult classics prior to renting this film. None of these films left a lasting impression the way “Rocky Horror” did in my young life. Sure, I’d seen films with sex and violence before, all without my parents knowledge, but never one this good.
I sometimes referred to TV as my third parent- much to the chagrin of my mother. I was about eight years old when I was given a TV in my bedroom back in the early eighties. It was originally for my Colecovision. I even had a set of rabbit ears and would manipulate them in order to watch four different channels. It was an art to figure out the right angles to get the best reception. But for my tenth birthday, my father ran cable to my bedroom. I now had 12 channels and no need for the rabbit ears anymore! An entirely new universe of late night tv watching with the sound turned down low, (so my parents wouldn’t hear it) had now begun.
A couple of years later, my father had gotten a new VCR that could record more channels, so I was given the old one that they had since ’81. It still worked great, like most things that were made in the 80’s, and I started to rent movies every weekend from our local store. Back then, everywhere was renting out movies. Gas stations, grocery stores, and these shitty little dingy shops (before Blockbuster came around in the 1990’s sometime) all carried videocassettes of the latest films.
The summer following my grade nine year, we moved into a new house in a newly built subdivision. There was a video store that had just opened up a few blocks away from our house as well. There was something different about it compared to all the other places I’d ever gotten a movie from. This one had older films. Stranger films. And they constantly brought in new ones. Not just new releases, but new to the store. Because we had moved at the end of the school year, I didn’t have any friends living nearby, so I walked or rode my bike to the video store nearly everyday. I’m guessing my parents felt guilty or something, because my mother must have given me a few hundred dollars that summer to rent movies or videogames (I had upgraded to a Sega Genesis that previous Christmas) any time I wanted.
Then I found it- “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. (Originally I rented the film because I knew of Tim Curry from the movie “Clue” that I had rented earlier that summer.) It was magnificent. There were jokes, violence, boobs, singing, & men in drag. Everything a 14 year old boy could want in the privacy of his bedroom. There’s no good way to dissect what this film was about. Was it about discovering sexuality? Was it about the constantly changing music scene in the 70’s? Or was it really about finding oneself in this crazy universe?
I can’t answer any of it. The one thing I walk away with from the film that really means something to me is:
Don’t just dream it. Be it.