THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review

     November 17, 2010

It’s been thirty-five years since Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick threw on the fishnets and delighted in transsexual, Transylvanian sexuality in the cult phenomenon The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Naturally, that makes this the perfect time for a new, high-definition release of the sexual shenanigans and song stylings (to battle with Glee’s own homage to the classic).

The reigning goddess of midnight movie cult fare, this release is a scintillating transfer of the classic with extras designed to immortalize the classic fan experience.  Hit the jump for more:

For the newbies, there is – quite simply – no way to describe the proceedings in any way that makes sense. This is the tale of two preppy, newly engaged kids – Brad and Janet (Bostwick and Sarandon) – who have car trouble and seek refuge in a creepy old mansion. Rather than simply offering help, or taking them to a dungeon for horror movie torture, Riff Raff (creator Richard O’Brien) reveals the world of the Time Warp and Dr. Frankenfurter (Curry), a transsexual Transylvanian who has created the perfect boy toy – a ripply pecked dude called Rocky Horror.

Over the course of one night, there’s party crashers (Meat Loaf!), murder, sexual exploration, cannibalism, double-crossing, and many super-catchy songs as Brad and Janet unleash their inner wild child and everyone dons fetish-wear for a water-filled conclusion.

Rocky Horror became iconic as much for its following as it did for its insane plot. The perfect audience participation film, there’s an entire counter culture that bubbles forth. Performances are “shadow cast” with costumed fans mimicking each scene in front of the screen, there’s an entire script of lines the audience should say at key moments, and props to use, from throwing toast to playing cards.

This positions the Blu-ray in a unique way. The crisp visuals (transferred to Blu-ray wonderfully) and sound are a gift to the fans, but for the most part, the rest of the extras aren’t for the old fans, but for the potential new ones. Save for some brief extras about Mick Rock and his exclusive photographic access to the set, a karaoke special, and commentary with Richard O’Brien and Patricia Quinn, the extras are designed for the newbie who has no idea about the Rocky Horror experience, or the fan in the middle of nowhere, who has no local Picture Show  community to shadowcast with.

“The Midnight Experience” attempts to replicate the live event with a mix of baubles you can add or remove as the film plays – a trivia track, a callback track for the audience’s oral cues, a picture-in-picture shadowcast, and a prop box where clicking on different icons will allow noisemakers to blare, or an image of toast to fly across the screen. It’s a cute idea, but pretty pointless to the regular fan.

The other big feature is “The Search for the 35th Anniversary Shadowcast” – an almost hour-long look into the hunt for the shadowcast participants on the DVD. Rather than just finding actors, there was an international hunt for the best performers from various casts across the globe, which is a neat – if a bit too long – look into how different casts and fans approach the material. The best perk in this feature – Barry Bostwick helps to pick the winners.

For the die-hard Rocky Horror fan, the extras won’t offer much more than a beautiful transfer of the film, and really, what can a fan want more than a great looking release of their beloved cult flick, and the traditions recorded for posterity and future generations of Transylvanian transsexuals?

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