Midnight 'Rocky' brings new meaning to horror showing
I attended a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show last Saturday. Walking into the theatre after half an hour strolling downtown Fargo felt like falling down a rabbit hole out of life and into some disturbing dreamland inhabited by un...
I attended a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show last Saturday.
Walking into the theatre after half an hour strolling downtown Fargo felt like falling down a rabbit hole out of life and into some disturbing dreamland inhabited by unworldly characters.
There were men dressed like women -- all fishnets and makeup and skimpy negligee -- and women looking like they stepped straight out of a London brothel. Boys were girls and girls were boys and boy, this was some mixed-up little world.
I stood by the door, as if waiting for someone, and examined these people, stared them down, tried to understand them. The Rocky Horror fans sure are something else, I decided, as every Rocky Horror "virgin" (the common term for people who have not seen the film) must. As one of the only people in the room wearing gender-appropriate clothing, I quickly assumed a role: the skeptic, the voice of normalcy, of reason.
These freaks would have their stupid jollies and I would stand at a distance and take note. As an aspiring writer, I immerse myself in as many cultural experiences as possible; as a member of respectable society, I try not to participate in any them.
The lights went down and the curtains rose and the misfit gang began to congregate and move. It was show time. Me? I stood by the door and let everyone else go first. It was the polite thing to do and furthermore, I didn't want any purple makeup on my new jacket.
If the Rocky fans puzzled me when they were standing in the lobby, they pulled my jaws to the floor once inside their native environment. The minute those awful lips appeared on the giant screen and began mouthing the opening song -- "Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still" -- the crowd came alive and I was left standing on the outside feeling bored.
Whenever Janet came on screen, the audience would yell something; whenever Brad came on, they would yell something else. It didn't take long for me to start making a pattern out of this madness. I almost joined in this mad chorus once, but stopped short. I had never used these words in public before, much less screamed them at the top of my voice. What would it take to overcome 17 years of chaste Lutheran upbringing? I wondered.
And there were pelvises: jiggling, shimmering rows of pelvises all around me, swaying slow or pumping fast depending on the song of the moment. I sat in my chair and tried not to let any brush up against my face, but it was impossible. There were too many of them.
In this pit of sweat and debauchery -- constant motion and screaming and everyone crying profanities worse than any I had ever uttered during my swing-set days -- I briefly felt like I didn't have a friend in the world.
This was less a night at the movies than a sleazy party in a seedy part of Vegas, with the film itself playing second fiddle to the spectacle the theatre full of Rocky Horror groupies were creating for themselves. They had paid admission to their own show, and I was the last audience member standing.
I didn't know what I was supposed to do, and I felt tense. I hadn't brought along any of the props: popcorn or noisemakers or newspaper to drape over my head during the rainy scene. I didn't know any of the clever lines to say at certain points in the movie, like the true devotees did.
I was all alone in a room crowded with people, an outsider, and I desperately wanted ... in? No, I want none of this, I told myself ... I am the journalist and the voice of reason. These people are acting like idiots, and if I start acting like them, then I might as well sleep on the middle of the highway because everyone else is doing it too.
I wanted in. There was really no denying it. I would do anything to be a part of this earnest circle of followers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I wondered what the initiation for membership into this warped organization entailed. Judging by the nature of the monthly meetings, I guessed it was something drastic.
But as it turned out, I didn't have to wonder long. Just after I had stood up to dance, a woman in man's clothing dove off her boyfriend's shoulders and into my open embrace. We fell backwards onto the floor strewn with rice and stale popcorn and cast-off high heels, and at that moment I knew that I had finally gained entry into this strange cult at last, had gone from skeptical onlooker to full-blown member in a single stroke. I was in.
Nathan Kitzmann is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.