‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’: A Cultural Masterpiece

By Saksham Gumber ‘19/Emertainment Monthly Stage Editor

Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.
Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

It’s time to wear the curly-haired wigs, the pearl necklaces, and the corset shirts because Halloween is here, and with it comes the chance to relive the experience of The Rocky Horror Picture Show—a musical so culturally beloved that it is now a cult classic. Those who have seen it cannot stop raving about it, and those haven’t—well, they are just missing out on life, or at least that’s what my roommate, who saw the show for the very first time just about a month ago, says. When asked about it, all he thought worth mentioning was that “everyone needs to see this.”

And that’s not because of how quirky and fascinating this show is (which it very much is), but instead, it is because of everything the show stands for—self realization, self awareness, and, more than anything else, acceptance: acceptance of not just one’s self, but also of others. This show has allowed people to tap into themselves and be who they really are. It is as if by dressing up in costumes from the show, people are able to strip down from the theatrics of life and express themselves.

That, in fact, is why this show has continued to live on for so long: the audience loves it so much that they do not let it die. That is why there are “shadow casts” of fans who enact the entire run of the show just to make sure everyone gets to enjoy it as much as they can. That is why it is completely normal for people seeing the show for the first time to have their chests branded with a “V” because being a virgin is nothing to be ashamed of—it is something to be proud of; not only are you getting to see something that will change you for the very first time, but you’re also getting to experience it from the get-go. And that is why so many fans yell back at the show with counterpoint dialogues—it all adds to the experience and the essence of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

On its own, the story of the show is confusing, the characters are too flawed, and the themes are too dark – all of it so much so that the show might never have been successful had it been released in this day and age. But with the love and the support of its fans, it continues to work, it continues to be seen, and it continues to be understood and appreciated. Without them, the show really could not have been enjoyed.

Many people have claimed that this show’s following is like that of a religious event, and with everything mentioned here, it’s understandable why they’d think so. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cultural masterpiece which continues to grow and transcend into something fantastic with each passing year—not just in history, not just in society, but also, more than anything else, in people’s hearts.

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