Originally created 10/26/01

Participation invited at 'Rocky Horror' showing



The Rocky Horror Picture Show may have begun life as a play and become a movie, but the all-singing, all-dancing ode to classic horror films and rock 'n' roll survives as a cult favorite.

Saturday, locals loyal to the playfully perverse subculture classic can see the movie, which hasn't been screened in Augusta since 1993, at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, Ninth Street at Riverwalk Augusta. The band Impulse Ride is scheduled to open the festivities, which benefit Augusta State University's Phoenix Magazine.

For more than 25 years, devoted Rocky apostles have filled midnight screenings in all manner of uncommon attire. From garter belts to glittering bowlers, the Rocky Horror phenomenon has become as much about freaky fashion and fun as the film itself.

The movie was taken from a stage play, written by English actor/playwright Richard O'Brien. The play, which opened in London in 1973, quickly established itself as a West End favorite and spawned productions in Los Angeles and New York.

Rights to the play were picked up by 20th Century Fox, and the film, which starred then unknowns Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry, Meatloaf and Mr. O'Brien, was rushed into production and released to deafening silence in the fall of 1975. Executives at Fox pulled the film from general release and hatched a plan to save the studio's investment. The answer - midnight movies.

For more than 25 years, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, once scoffed and scorned as a cinematic failure, has been something of a cinematic gold mine. It is estimated that the movie has pulled in more than $150 million. Not bad, considering that it cost about $1.5 million to produce.

Much of the credit for the film's success can be placed on the interactive element that has sprung up around the movie. Patrons dress like the film's characters, shout at the screen in response to the action and throw rice, squirt water and, when appropriate, toss toast (the occasion does, in fact, arise). Tired of picking up soggy toast and newspapers, many movie theaters have chosen to limit audience participation at Rocky Horror screenings, but anything goes at the riverwalk, said Stacey McGowen of the Phoenix.

"Anything barring personal injury," she said with a laugh. "As long as nobody gets injured, and there is no damage to property, people can do what they want. We want this to be a party."

NOW SHOWING

WHAT: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Impulse Ride, presented by Phoenix Magazine

WHEN: Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Impulse Ride performs at 8; movie starts at 9.

WHERE: The Jessye Norman Amphitheater, Ninth Street at Riverwalk Augusta

ADMISSION: $5 in advance, $10 at the gate, $7 with an Augusta State University or military ID

PHONE: 737-1614

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or suhles@hotmail.com.