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A Social Phenomenon

October 22, 2015
by Kate Myers , Emmetsburg News

It was about this time in 1979 I attended my first showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I went with a friend on a Saturday night following the Davenport West High School homecoming dance. My date, a senior, suggested we attend the midnight showing. I was a freshman in college, so my curfew had been retired.

I really didn't know too much about the show. I remember hearing it was funny. My date assured me he would bring the newspapers for the rain scene, but he suggested I be prepared to get wet. Evidently people with squirt guns were part of the experience. I was a little concerned my wool skirt and sweater (homecoming dance attire of the day) would take a hit, but decided to live on the edge.

I got a kick out of the show. It is true that was not considered a socially meaningful film. But then again, I am not sure it ever was intended to be. When released in 1974, it was thought to be a satirical look at science fiction and B grade horror movies.

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert reportedly noted that when first released, the movie was "ignored by pretty much everyone, including the future fanatics who would eventually count the hundreds of times they'd seen it." He went on to say he believed it to be more a "long running social phenomenon" than a movie. He gave it 2.5 out of 4 stars. Furthermore, it is reported in 1978, Newsweek called the movie "tasteless, plotless and pointless." Party killers.

Nearly 30 years later, in the fall of 2008, my family-all adults by then- and I attended the stage production of Rocky Horror Show in Cedar Rapids. It was zany, edgy and I loved it. It was also a fundraiser for Theatre Cedar Rapids which was trying to rise above the devastation of that summer's flood waters.

Saturday night, October 24, Chris and I will be attending the film's showing at Emmetsburg Community Theatre. Thankfully we don't have to stay up until midnight to see the show. The doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at 8 p.m. The verdict is still out if we will be wearing costumes. But we might purchase props, just for the experience.

Am I becoming one of the fanatics Ebert spoke about all those years ago?

Could be.



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