The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Tim Curry, Richard O'Brien, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Nell Campbell, Meat Loaf, Patricia Quinn
Extras: CCommentary Track, Multi-story UK or US Version, Audience Participation Tracks, Outtakes and Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, Sing Along and more

On one hand it is truly surprising that a film like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" enjoys the following and success it has 35 years after its theatrical release, but on the other hand it is not really that surprising, after all. The film is a menagerie of bizarre characters, fabulous rock tunes, provocative themes and pop art imagery. In short, it is a cult film that has grown over the years and has gotten almost more enjoyable the older it grew. To celebrate its 35th Anniversary, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has now prepared a Blu-Ray Special Edition of the movie that includes a wealth of informative extras, as well as truly gimmicky supplements to capture the phenomenon behind the film, and after giving it a good look, I have to admit that the studio has succeeded all the way.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" tells the quirky story of the young couple Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) who, in their almost asexual inhibitions, have never really experienced life at its fullest. All this changes when one night they are stuck in the rain with a flat tire, miles away from civilization.

With only a sinister looking castle looming nearby, the two decide to ring the doorbell to see if they can use the telephone and get some help.

From this moment onward their lives will never be the same. When Riff Raff (Richard O'Brien) opens the door, this ghastly and macabre looking servant allows the wet couple into the house where they become witnesses to one of Frank-N-Furter's (Tim Curry) parties. Dressed in straps and high heels, Frank-N-Furter welcomes his guests and immediately makes them part of the event. In the best Frankenstein manner he creates Rocky, the man of his dreams, and fights his inner demons with increasingly excessive behavior. But is it genius or madness that drives Frank? It is neither. Like many of his party guests, he is an alien from the galaxy of Transylvania experiencing earthly life for the first time, and Brad and Janet are suddenly trapped in a tempting circle of lust and vice beyond their wildest imagination.

Part comedy, part rock opera, part farce, part musical and part horror B-movie, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" effectively pays homage to and transcends styles and genres to create a very unique vision that is familiar yet at the same time radical, if not blasphemous at times. Combined, we get an amalgam that has been a singular success and a film experience that is beyond any other movie ever made. Screaming colors, pop-art decorations, lascivious costumes and incredible songs make out "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and it is hardly surprising the film has gathered such a devoted following. Although a box office flop initially, over the years, the film has become a midnight run phenomenon and is still playing in select theaters to this date. With audiences that are as raunchy and rowdy as the characters in the film, these screenings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" are an event all by themselves, as fans have every line of dialogue memorized, sing every song aloud and throw things at the screen, cheering for their favorite characters.

When 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment decided to bring this film to Blu-Ray, they knew they would have to not only capture the essence of this phenomenon where audience participation and fandom is just as important as the film itself, but also had to make sure to live up to the high standard set by the DVD version released 10 years ago.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is arriving here in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio in a 1080p high definition transfer on this disc that is absolutely breath-taking in its presentation. Perfectly cleaned up and without speckles or blemishes, the transfer is remarkable in so many ways as it brings the vibrant film to life, as a lot of restorative effort had to be put into polishing the film to this level. Given the movie's small budget and technical limitations, the sharpness and quality of this transfer is truly striking and will have fans salivating. The colors in the transfer could not be better. Bold and vivid, they literally leaping off the screen without bleeding or noise at any time. The blacks are very deep and solid giving especially the dark, gothic scenes in the film plenty of depth and atmosphere.

The Blu-Ray version includes the movie's original mono audio track but supplements it with a DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio track also to heighten the experience and give the audio a bit more oompf – though surround usage is noticeably limited still.

The release contains the US cut of the movie as well as the UK cut that includes the song "Superheroes" at the end, and a third version of the film, which was the original vision of the filmmakers, in which the opening 20-minutes of the movie are presented entirely in black and white, up to the point when Riff Raff opens the door to reveal the party during the song "Time Warp." This black-and-white opening is also accessible separately from the special features menu.

The commentary starring actor and writer Richard "Riff Raff" O'Brien and Patricia "Magenta" Quinn from the DVD version can also be found on the disc and to put it simply, this commentary is a gem. Offering a lot of very personal insight and comments, this contribution has a very intimate quality that is not very often found on such commentary tracks. Especially hard core fans of the film will love to hear all those little details and anecdotes the two remember as they go along watching the film, digging deep in their memories.

Filled to the brim with exciting features that help understand the phenomenon that is "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and offering some rare insight into the production as well as additional laughs, the Blu-Ray Disc features many of the bonus materials found on previousDVD releases. At its core is an over 30-minute documentary called "The Rocky Horror Double Feature Video Show," that gives viewers a look behind the phenomenon. The documentary covers the origins of the story, the stage play that eventually led to the movie, and of course the cult phenomenon that followed in its tracks. The documentary is highly informative and gives one an added appreciation for the daringness of the filmmakers that has resulted in such a unique movie. Larded with interview segments, this documentary is a must for all fans and fans-to-be.

Two deleted musical numbers can also be found on this disc. The first is "Superheroes," which was part of the UK version of the film, while the second one is "Once In A While," a reminiscing ballad that has been cut entirely from the film. And down the same alley, you can find 11 alternate takes from the film on the disc as well. For the most part, it seems that these are the takes from the different cameras that were later edited together for the final cut.

Like the DVD version, this Blu-Ray disc also contains the ending with an alternate credits sequence which uses "Time Warp" as the music cue. Interestingly, this is the ending that I remembered seeing when I first saw the movie in Germany many years ago. A misprint ending can also be found in the extras on the disc, which shows us an ending that has been edited incorrectly, showing us footage of Brad and Janet talking without the dialogue that would go with it. Very cool stuff indeed!

Among the new bonus materials is the Rocky-Oke: Sing It! feature and a segment covering iconic rock photographer Mick Rock in two separate short featurettes. The first one covers his work on the movie while the second is a slideshow of his photographs promoting the film.

All the audience participation supplements have received a major facelift also on this disc, now coming as picture-in-picture tracks with varying layers of involvement, from mere audience noises and a shadowcast of audience members all the way to your own hurling of items at the screen with your remote control, these tracks offer something for everyone.

Another real boon on this release is the booklet that comes in the packaging. Colorful and absolutely gorgeous, it adds even more background information to the mix and gives fans something to drool over.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is an eccentric and oftentimes artsy movie that is not be for everyone's taste, but once pulled in its spell, there is simply no letting go. This fascinating picture is coming to glorious life again on this Blu-Ray Disc, complete with insightful bonus materials that truly add to the overall experience of the film. No matter whether you are a true fan of the film, or if you want to find out what the hoopla is all about, this release puts the spectacle in your home viewing experience of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and allows you to give yourself over to absolute pleasure!