Originally a stage production, the film version is the most popular today. It is a rock ‘n’ roll spoof of science fiction and horror stories. What happens on the screen is not the important thing, but what happens in the audience. Those who attend the movie usually dress up in weird costumes. The audience repeats the words with the actors on the screen (most have seen the film so many times that they have them memorized). During a wedding scene they throw rice. At other points in the film they throw toilet paper, playing cards and ripped-up newspapers.
The film has been playing for almost 20 years. More than 200 theaters across the country are presently showing it, usually at midnight on weekends. Many attend the film every week. Some have attended hundreds of times.
Keep this is in mind whenever you hear some complain that we do the same thing over and over again in church week after week. Of course, this isn’t completely true, but there is a lot of repetition---the Lord’s Prayer, the Doxology, the Lord’s Supper, etc. But such repetition of ritual is not a bad thing. Indeed, as seen in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and in church, we seem to have a need for it. It helps us bond with other people in a common experience. In that sense, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a religious experience. (The word “religion” and the word “ligament” come from the same Latin root. It means “to bind.”) We all feel this need to bond with other people and with some structure that provides meaning to our lives. Whether we are going to church or to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” we’re trying to do the same thing.
©C. David Hess