Ask any fan. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is not just a movie; it is an experience.
When confronted with someone who has not seen the movie, they can’t simply give a synopsis of the plot. They will simply say, “You just have to watch it.”
The movie stands the test of time. After nearly 40 years, it still continues to be a cult classic, and that love and devotion from its fans is evident through the annual showings at the Hattiesburg Saenger Theater. People from all walks of life come out to let down their inhibitions and have a night of fun.
When I arrived there half an hour early, people were spilling out the doors and onto the street waiting to be seated. From what I saw by the time the movie started, the house was packed. Considering this is a movie anyone could find on DVD, this shows how attending a showing is completely different than just watching it at home.
Usually held the weekend before Halloween, the showing starts with a costume contest.
The contest is divided into the categories of sexy, funny, scary and the best representation of a “Rocky Horror” character. This proves to any newcomers, or virgins as the hardcore fans like to refer to them, that the showings are a place of letting your wild side come out. It’s a place where one of the most masculine men you know can don a garter belt with fishnet stockings and no one bats an eye.
You quickly realize that you have left the real world, if only for a short amount of time.
Props are passed out to audience members to be used at specific points during the film. From newspapers to cover your head during the thunderstorm to party hats for Rocky’s birthday dinner, everything makes you feel like you are living the movie.
Fans very well versed in the showings will also scream things all throughout the film to add some lighthearted cheer to the experience, even though most of the things they say I can’t repeat in this story. There may be children reading.
The best part is when the audience stands up and collectively dances to “Time Warp,” arguably one of the most well-known songs in the film. People sing along to many of the songs in the film, but this is the one everyone looks forward to most. It’s just all about having fun and stepping into a place unlike any you have been to before, which describes “Rocky Horror” perfectly.
The way to have fun at the showing is to get into the experience. Don’t sit there and think you can watch it like any other movie, because you will surely become quickly annoyed by all of the people shouting during the show and squirting you with water guns.
Realize you don’t have to be anyone while you are here. If you are usually the quiet type, scream at the top of your lungs any commentary that pops into your head. If you don’t usually wear outrageous clothes, pull out the corset and the stilettoes.
More than anything, these showings are about having fun and forgetting about the stress of real life, all while watching a cult classic film.
If you ever have the chance to catch a showing, whether it be in Hattiesburg or in any place you happen to find yourself, check it out. I recommend watching the movie at least once before a showing so you know what to expect. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be your taste, at least it’s something you can say