Upon viewing a live premiere of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Halloween night, a question was brought to my mind. Despite its powerful cult following and enjoyable performance, why is it specifically Halloween when most people tend to watch it? At first sight, there really is nothing horrific about it (unless you find the erotic scenes throughout the film to be uncomfortable), yet here it remains 42 years later.
If you think about it, not only does the film pay homage to the horror classics that fuel the Halloween spirit, but it evokes a carnal desire in its viewers that resonates with Halloween’s tradition of going out in costume and releasing a side of yourself not normally seen in the public eye.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”’s design already signifies a dark and Gothic nature from the costumes, to Dr. Frank N. Furter’s mansion, and its themes such as sexuality and sexual identity, madness and love, though certainly not your typical and innocent love. However, what makes the film stand out is its contrast between its appearance and style. The musical style itself is loud, rowdy, upbeat and rockin,’ even though most characters are dressed in black and contain a sinister nature. Even the story’s plot devices show respect for the horror classics. Dr. Frank N. Furter’s creation of his tall, muscular, and blonde man named Rocky is a reminder of Dr. Frankenstein and the creation of his monster and a dark and stormy night. Leading our two innocent main characters into the creepy mansion is reminiscent of many past horror settings involving a stormy night, such as “Psycho” and “The Last House on the Left.” However, even with all of these horror tropes present, it is still evident the film lacks the true feeling of horror. This is because “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” makes its Halloween contribution not by scares, but by describing the temptation of these dark and mysterious nights and its potential pleasure.
The film stresses the idea that, inside all of us, pleasure slumbers and waits to be woken. And it is only on certain, wild nights like the one our main characters find themselves in where we see that come true. It’s as Dr. Frank N. Furter says, “I’m not much of a man by the light of day / But by night I’m one hell of a lover.” With this mindset, these frightful and absurd nights are something to look forward to instead of just focusing on its terrifying qualities. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” ushered in a tempting side to life and what better time to give in than Halloween itself? Halloween is already a time where we put on different masks and meet the night with excitement, so why not go full force and approach the strangeness with no holds barred? “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” will always remain an unforgettable experience open to all the freaks inside us all. And if you haven’t already seen it, next Halloween or any other strange night you find yourself involved in is the perfect time to “Give yourself over to absolute pleasure.”