Rocky Horror Picture Show Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Rob Weiner, a Texas Tech librarian, discusses the film’s cultural impact.

Pitch

Rocky Horror audience

From midnight showings to audience participation, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” continues to impact popular culture and cinema. The film, which was directed by Jim Sharman and features actors Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Texas native Meat Loaf, premiered in 1975 and celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend.

Rob Weiner, a pop culture guru and humanities and popular culture librarian at Texas Tech University, discusses how the movie influenced culture and cinema, the rite of passage the film provides and its continued popularity 40 years later.

Expert

Rob Weiner, humanities and popular culture librarian, (806) 834-5126 or rob.weiner@ttu.edu

Weiner

Rob Weiner

Quotes

  • “‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ has influenced society in a variety of ways. The film was one of those sleeper movies that, at first, nobody thought much of and actually had kind of a regular release. All of a sudden as a midnight movie, it started to catch on, and then this cult following happened and people dressed up and brought props, participated, talked back to the screen and did all sorts of things. Then they started to cosplay. It was one of the first movies people cosplayed with.”
  • “‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ united people in the same way a Comic-Con unites people, or a ‘Star Trek’ convention or a gaming convention or ‘Star Wars.’ You think about it, it is very odd because it is a film people cosplayed for when the term cosplay didn’t exist. In terms of its cultural impact, there you have it. It’s a cult film, but it’s really not. It’s a musical and it’s a really bizarre movie. There’s a whole lot of gender-bending going on.”
  • “Going to ‘Rocky Horror’ and having that experience is still something young people should and want to experience. It is a rite of passage to do the ‘Rocky Horror’ experience at least once in your life and it’s something a lot of people still are expected to know and experience. People love it from all ages, 18-80.”
  • “There have been attempts at sequels. ‘Rocky Horror’ has not been surpassed by anything really in the same way. In that regard it’s an anomaly in terms of impact on the history of popular culture and the history of cinema. You could look to other benchmarks and say ‘Yes, these are important,’ but there are other films or things that people say, ‘Well, this happened here,’ but ‘Rocky Horror’ has never really been surpassed in that way. And the fact that it’s still being shown continually somewhere in the world speaks to its relevance and impact 40 years later.”

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