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Photo illustration of Columbia, played by Abbie Ogilbee, for The Lost Flamingos Theater Company's production of Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oct. 6, 2023.

What We’re Watching: ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is THE cult classic

In the early 1970’s in London, an out-of-work actor by the name of Richard O’Brien found himself extremely bored while trying to find stable work to keep himself afloat on broadway. In the midst of his boredom, he began writing and composing music and story by the name of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Then, after completing some songs and writing a framework of a script, some of his work was produced and turned into a small theater production that was shown at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square in Chelsea, London. 

Through endless work and editing, O’Brien’s work eventually was completed and put onto broadway as a fully-fledged musical production. This is where Tim Curry, the actor who would be globally known for his iconic portrayal of the transvestite scientist Frank-N-Furter, came in. Curry — who already had somewhat of a name made for himself through his voice acting work and small broadway presence — was introduced to O’Brien’s composition, as they were already friends in the business. O’Brien mentioned the project to Curry and nudged him to audition for a role. After being on Broadway across the UK for a few years and receiving praise for their work, O’Brien, Curry, and the rest of the cast thought about taking the next step and translating the production to the silver screen. 

In 1975, about two years after the first broadway performance, the wild story of “Rocky Horror” was brought to UK Theaters on August 14th, and then US theaters on September 26. Since then, it’s become known as the film that defined the cult genre, one of the greatest horror films of all time and one of the most well-known musicals of all time. Despite coming up on its 50th anniversary, it has stood the test of time and remains one of the most talked-about films around this creepy time of year. 

By what is it that makes this film stay relevant, even after so many other films in the similar genre have been released? “Rocky Horror” has something that most films will never have: a devoted cult of fans who, throughout history, have created an entire tradition for the film. Since its first showing, people have shown up to watch the film in elaborate and accurate costumes, makeup and would get up out of their seats to stand on the stage and perform as if they themselves were a part of the film. 

These showings gained prominence across the world, and it became a tradition to dress up to party like you were in “Rocky Horror.” Now, there’s not a real beginning to these performances and it’s not like this was planned; however, because the messages portrayed in the film were progressive for the time, it’s believed audiences felt comfortable to publicly express themselves without the fear of being in the minority. These midnight showings were where people could be who they wanted without fear of showcasing their personalities to the fullest. 

In the current day, people still bump the addicting soundtrack, but there are still live shows of this film that play across national and local theaters alike. The revamped 48th-anniversary tour, while featuring the original Brad Majors, and a new cast, is still bringing the live spectacle and energy the original cast had in the ‘70s. 

Even in Athens, Ohio, there is a performance bringing people together to still enjoy themselves and explore their own sexual identity and urges in a free and open space without fear of being judged or mocked. It’s a night of absolute horror and pleasure at The Union Bar, 18 W Union St. If you haven’t taken the time to sit down and watch the original film, I can not recommend it enough. Even if you’re not an enjoyer of cheesy, cult flicks I can guarantee this film will either shock, entertain or creep you out– maybe all at once. It’s a delightfully confusing horror-show filled with intoxicating songs, eccentric characters and amazing entertainment value. 

If you finally watch the film, or you’ve already seen it, consider checking out the live “Rocky Horror” performance taking place Oct. 19-21 at 8 p.m. at The Union Bar in Athens. It’ll be a night to remember! 

Mia Ashby is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Mia by emailing her at

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