a love letter to the rocky horror picture show
first of all, this movie was intentionally created for and advertised to freaks, queers, and social misfits. so, there’s that.
second of all, besides some archaic trans* terminology (i forgive y’all, it was like 1975) this movie has everything. drugs. aliens. incest. cannibalism. s&m. burlesque. a mansion spaceship that is super wheelchair-accessible. need i go on?
i love janet and brad as these wholesome small-town naive kids, one hiding in the closet and the other just really wants to get down with her sexy self. frank is not just performing in drag, either. he asserts his trans* identity throughout the movie and offers zero apologies for it.
magenta and riff raff are all mad at frank because he is mad controlling and they are jealous of rocky - but frank is just, like, real stoked on having a big old spaceship mansion as a safe space for all the partying and sex and gay marriage to rocky and all the other things that no one wants to acknowledge as socially acceptable! of course, he gets mad drunk with power, and as an aside, as long as i’m doing character analysis, frank isn’t all innocent. he killed eddie - who was also great, and his relationship with columbia was so obviously her loving someone who was “bad” and “unloveable” - which is terribly ironic. so like, this movie is also great at commenting on cycles of violence and how they are perpetuated within marginalized communities.
also. there is so much sex in rocky horror. this movie taught me about sex, i am so serious. it introduced the idea that sex can exist without shame, and can be defined however one chooses. frank is murdered first out of jealousy, but also because he is too radical, too slutty, too sexual. this is something that resonates deeply with so many folks i know, the fear of being hurt or killed by someone who is afraid of you, of your confidence, your sexuality. his singing plea for his life in “i’m going home” is the saddest shit of all time. you know he’s going to get killed, and all he’s singing about is how he wants to be loved and accepted for who he is. come on. come the fuck on. i’m crying just watching it now. and dr. scott sells out being all like, “society must be protected.” the messages are clear.
also the floor show and pool orgy: they are like something out of frank’s dreams, and likewise, were incredibly enthralling to my 14 year-old closeted queer ass. everyone finds confidence here, under frank’s sexy alien mind-control spell. everyone articulates desires, needs, feelings. everyone has fun and gets real sexy. and susan sarandon. girl. werk.
underneath all the kitsch and silliness and science-fiction references, this movie speaks some serious truth. “don’t dream it, be it” was the inner mantra that kept me going on my worst days as the most awkward teenage genderqueer homo. so, rocky horror, i love you forever. thank you for existing.