'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' Participation Guide (Part 2)
So many film fanatics relish The Rocky Horror Pictures Show (1975) every year, particularly at Halloween, and there is nothing like seeing this iconic, cult classic with a theater full of people. Participation is the name of the game and it is an exhilarating experience whether you’ve seen Rocky Horror 20 or 200 times.
A new generation of movie fans are discovering TRHPS, and to those newbies we bid you welcome. This is the second of two entries dedicated to helping fans participate in Rocky Horror motion picture events around the world. Bless the 1973 source material, but we are going to focus on the film and not the play for the time being.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or TRHPS virgin, the purpose of this article is to maximize your enjoyment of Rocky Horror midnight shows by familiarizing yourself with which props you will need when attending Richard O’Brien’s musical masterpiece.
Remember, be considerate of your fellow theatergoers when using all of the following props. Also, check out TRHPS Participation Guide, Part I, so you can reference all the songs' lyrics.
Here comes the bride, baby! You will need a handful of rice to throw at newlyweds Ralph Hapschatt (Jeremy Newson) and Betty Monroe (Hilary Labow) during the first scene of TRHPS. As the happy couple exits the church, join both the on-screen guests and theatergoers surrounding you and hurl rice at the bride and groom.
2. WATER GUNS
Bathing suits are optional. The cold rain starts to pour as Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) drive in the darkness after Ralph and Betty’s wedding. Things go from bad to worse when our hero and heroine’s car suffers a blowout. They will have to brave the elements on foot to find help. When the couple exits their car, draw your watery weapons and let it rain! Note: this is only the first of three props you will need during the musical number “Over at the Frankenstein Place."
Hopefully, you don’t have the same disposition as a cat – meow – because it’s time to get wet. Prepare to use the second of the three props you’ll need during the “Over at the Frankenstein Place” number. Brad and Janet leave the comfort of their car and journey toward the old castle down the road. When Weiss puts The Plain Dealer periodical over her head, or whenever the other theatergoers start firing their water guns, put your newspaper over your head.
It’s time for the third and final prop during the “Over at the Frankenstein Place” scene. Pay attention to the song’s lyrics. When you hear the verse “There’s a light, over at the Frankenstein Place," light up your smartphone and slowly sway it back and forth over your head. It is perfectly acceptable to only light up the screen or use the flashlight function. Depending on the theater, the old mainstays of Rocky Horror past may still be employed: flashlights, candles, glow sticks and lighters. Check with theater management, but the safest and most convenient prop here is your smartphone.
5. COLORFUL SUNGLASSES & PARTY HATS
Let’s do the Time Warp Again!
One of the most thrilling participation experiences occurs during the “Time Warp” scene. If you choose not to wear a costume, you can still look the part as you sing and dance to arguably the film’s No. 1 musical number. Pull out some brightly colored sunglasses and snap on your party hat. “Put your hands on your hips!” And you’re going to need a party hat later anyway when you celebrate Rocky’s (Peter Hinwood) birthday.
6. TOWEL Time to get comfortable and dry off. When our hero and heroine are stripped down to their underwear, feel free to dry off from the water blitz which occurred earlier. Preferably, your towels will be large and loud: bright, outlandish colors which reflect the film’s tone and color schemes. And bonus points if your towel is Rocky Horror-related. Be creative. Surprisingly, this is one of the props which is often MIA at screenings.
7. RUBBER GLOVES
Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) has great style, but he won’t be clicking his heels three times like Dorothy (Judy Garland) in The Wizard of Oz (1939). However, he will be sporting bright-pink latex gloves and snapping them three times. When Frank does his thing, make sure you have your gloves on so you can snap them, too. Magenta (Patricia Quinn) will help get Frank’s gloves off him, at the end of the sequence, so snap your gloves once more here.
8. FOOTBALL RATTLE (NOISEMAKERS)
“I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!”
Prior to Rocky Horror’s birth, Frank gives a stirring speech about creation and the secrets of life. Following the monologue, the Transylvanians in attendance cheer and applaud the mad scientist. Join them by clapping, screaming and using whichever noisemaker you choose to employ... the louder the better.
It’s time for Rocky Horror to become a man. At the conclusion of the reprise of the song “I Can Make You a Man," Frank and his beautiful creature head to the marital chambers. The Transylvanians celebrate by throwing confetti at the doctor and Rocky. Do the same! You can substitute bubbles here, too, or stand out and employ both.
10. TOILET PAPER
Watch out for huge, fluffy rolls of toilet paper falling from the sky. This is the one prop moment almost everyone participates in. Watch out as Dr. Everett Scott (Jonathan Adams) is drawn into the lab by a giant magnet, and he crashes through a wall! When Brad screams, “Great Scott,” hurl your toilet paper toward the movie screen! Of course, the toilet paper of choice should be the Scott brand.
Meatloaf: It’s what’s for dinner.
Dr. Frank-N-Furter makes a toast with his glass at the dining table. This is the moment when you throw your piece of toast at the movie screen! Now, bringing a loaf of bread and tossing multiple un-toasted slices is perfectly acceptable. If you want to take the time to toast your prop, go for it. But, please, no butter or jelly.
12. PARTY HATS
Michael Rennie was ill the day the Earth stood still, and you might be too when you find out what Frank’s serving his guests. It is time to break the party hats back out. During the dinner scene, Dr. Frank-N-Furter will put on his party hat. You do the same. It’s time to celebrate Rocky Horror’s creation with the only dish possible: Meatloaf. Ah, the Delivery Boy goes down smooth.
Jingle all the way during the song “Planet Schmanet Janet." Following dinner, Dr. Frank-N-Furter is fed up with his beautiful creature’s amorous affection for the heroine Janet Weiss. During the song, listen for the lyric: “Did You Hear a Bell Ring?” At this moment, started ringing your bell. See, if you choose a cowbell as your noisemaker, you kill two birds with one stone.
14. DECK OF PLAYING CARDS
Sadly, for the theater staff, this is the largest game of 52-card pick up ever.
Once Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) and Magenta interrupt the floor show, everything falls apart for poor Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Saddened to leave Earth, Frank sings the song “I’m Going Home” thinking he too will return to Transylvania. Listen for the lyrics “Cards for sorrow, cards for pain." At that moment, have your playing cards ready and shower the theater with the whole deck!