Story by NICOLE COOKE, Copy Editor—
The Spotlight student organization gave a new generation of students the chance to experience the 1975 cult classic, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” Jan. 31 in the Union.
More than 60 students spent their Thursday night throwing bread at the screen and yelling insults at the Criminologist, played by Charles Grey, who narrates the film.
“Look, it’s the guy with no neck!”
Spotlight Film Coordinator Kaitlin Becker organized the movie showing, which started at midnight, per tradition.
“I’ve always wanted to do a cult classic as one of our films and ‘Rocky Horror’ was the first one that I thought of,” Becker said. “Mostly because it has such good audience participation. And I know sometimes people get stuck just sitting and watching a movie, so I wanted to do something fun.”
The turnout exceeded Becker’s expectation of 30 students. The room was set up for 50, and extra chairs had to be set out as more students showed up.
Among those students was senior Justin Wild, who had a little more enthusiasm than others in attendance. Wild chose to dress up for the event, and decided to become the character Rocky, tiny gold shorts and all.
“I thought I’d have a little bit of fun,” Wild said. “I didn’t want to do full drag, so I decided to be Rocky instead.”
Wild enlisted help from his friends to create his gold shorts, which were complemented by his gold spray-painted boots. Thursday was his first experience at a showing, but he said he hopes it won’t be his last.
“I’m a ‘Rocky Horror’ fan, and my dad was a big fan during high school and college, so I thought I’d follow in his footsteps and have some fun,” Wild said.
A few other students dressed up for the event. There were several Magentas, an Eddie and a few versions of Frank-N-Furter. Caelan Crawford chose the latter.
“Frank-N-Furter is my favorite character, so that’s why I chose him,” Crawford said. “I borrowed all my clothes from my friends. It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it. It makes the experience even better.”
Crawford was dressed in black lace tights, a black leotard, a black sweater, and pearls, with lots of eye makeup to complete the look for his first “Rocky Horror” showing. His girlfriend also joined in, by dressing as a different version of Frank-N-Furter, along with their friend who impersonated Magenta for the night.
Wild and Crawford weren’t the only ones in the audience who were at a “Rocky Horror” showing for the first time. Even though it was all Becker’s idea, she’s never seen the film.
“I’ve actually never seen the movie,” Becker said. “All my friends have seen it and they’ve dressed up at showings, but I’ve never actually been to one. I did a lot of research for all the props and traditions, but didn’t watch the movie. I intend on watching it tonight.”
Those in attendance were given a sheet with all the traditions that anyone who has attended a showing has experienced. Spotlight also provided moviegoers with bread, newspapers, toilet paper, party hats and playing cards to make sure everyone was prepared for what was to come.
A few traditions, such as throwing rice during the wedding scene, or using water guns during the rainstorm that catches Janet Weiss, played by Susan Sarandon, and Brad Majors, played by Barry Bostwick, as they head to the mansion, were left out of Thursday’s showing, due to the location.
As the movie began and those famous red lips came on the screen, the room was filled with applause. Comments were shouted throughout the movie, many of which were met with laughter.
The Criminologist was a favorite to make fun of, as well as Janet, who received a few choice words from the audience. Students also responded to the characters on screen, or talked along with them, such as when Magenta says, “You’re lucky, he’s lucky, I’m lucky, we’re all lucky!”
The students were very active throughout the film, and used every prop on queue. A favorite seemed to be the toast, thrown after Frank-N-Furter makes a toast at dinner, which continued to be thrown throughout the film.
As each character appeared on screen for the first time, their UCM counterpart in the audience got up to showcase their costume. Crawford removed his sweater when Frank-N-Furter removed his cape during his grand entrance, and Wild walked up and down the aisle while flexing when Rocky was first presented.
The popular song, “Time Warp,” received the most participation, with everyone singing along, and some students even stood up in their seats and danced along with the characters on screen. Applause yet again filled the makeshift theater once the song was complete.
After more applause erupted when the credits came on screen, there was a costume contest, with the audience acting as judges. After being determined by applause, Crawford won first place, with Wild placing second.
The event, which was cosponsored by Queers and Allies, has the potential to become an annual event. Becker said that Q & A and Spotlight have discussed showing cult classics on a monthly basis.
Spotlight will be showing “Looper” in February. A comedy, still to be determined, will be shown in March, and Becker said she hopes to show the April film at Walton Stadium.