(continued from The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Personal Retrospective Part One)
Audience participation varies from show to show. The cast and crew sell prop bags before the show. There’s different items available (usually rice, toast, toilet paper, confetti, playing cards, etc.). These items are to be thrown at different points during the film. Audiences usually yell back different things throughout the film (one example would be calling Brad an “asshole” and Janet a “slut” whenever they’re introducing themselves). When Riff Raff opens the casket to reveal a skeleton at the beginning of the song “Time Warp,” a crew member will usually yell, “Ladies and gentleman, (dead person’s name)!” My favorite was from four years ago, when they were inserting John McCain’s name in there for quite a while. Unfortunately, there are some occasions where it’ll just be the crew doing the yelling. If you see this occur, it’ll be because the audience is dead (metaphorically, of course) or lazy.
In the four years since that first screening, I’ve seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show 15 more times on the big screen. People who know me find it odd that I actually like the film and that I’ve seen it so many times on the big screen (uncharacteristic is a word that’s been thrown around). For me, I actually think it’s a good movie. It is. The experience is enhanced further by the cast and crew of the official NYC Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast. I find the experience very enjoyable (even if I’m not participating along with the audience). I’ve had good times nevertheless, especially at last year’s Ladies’ Night (where all the roles were performed by the female cast members, one of whom even had a brief nip-slip).
It’s a little weird looking back on the cast and crew members of the last four years. I’m just now realizing how many of them have come and gone (no pun intended) over the years. There are still some regulars who’ve been there since I first saw it, and there have been many cast and crew members that were a part of it only for a while. When I first saw it, Mad Man Mike was the guy who was in charge. He usually performed as Riff Raff, and for me, his Riff Raff is the standard that all shadow cast Riff Raffs should be measured against (on a side note, if there was ever a shadow cast for the first Highlander film, he would be my only choice to play the Kurgan). After Mike left, Tom (who usually played Brad) took charge of the group, and has done a great job ever since. One of the longtime cast members, Jen, makes various Rocky Horror wigs and temporary tattoos, which can be viewed and/or purchased here.
As far as Rocky Horror merchandise goes, I bought the 2-disc special edition DVD of the film three years ago, and I was surprised at how great it looked (the 35mm print I’m used to watching looks like it’s been used since the mid to late ’80s). I do intend to upgrade to the Blu-ray release since it has some new special features (UPDATE 5/2014: Finally got the Blu-ray, and it’s awesome). The cast and crew sell Rocky Horror merchandise before and after every show. I’ve bought two T-shirts, a few stickers, the Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Tribute Show DVD, and buttons (back when they used to sell them). I believe I’ve bought at least one of every button design except for the Shock Treatment (a disappointing follow-up to Rocky Horror) one. I bought the soundtrack CD in London during my U.K. visit in January ’09.
I admit that I still find it strange that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a part of my life, but I’m glad it is, and I hope it continues to be. Perhaps one day I’ll come dressed as one of the characters (or at least put on a Rocky Horror temporary tattoo). I had a ticket to see it again tonight at 9 p.m. This would’ve been the first time I saw it on Halloween, but thanks to Hurricane Sandy that won’t happen. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to having a blast (as well as seeing the ladies) the next time I see it on the big screen. Happy Halloween!