Men in Drag: Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Campus Theater


The Campus Theater is one of Lewisburg’s and Bucknell’s most obvious hidden gems. It is by far the coolest place I have ever watched a movie. It is a visual relic of American history. It looks like what I’d imagine Jimmy Stewart and Marlon Brando pictured when they thought of a cinema. Offering a wide variety of films and events, the campus theater is truly an underappreciated attraction to many Bucknell students. But all that aside, there’s one event that defines the Campus Theater’s eclectic nature to me: Rocky Horror on Halloween. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an awful movie. It checks every qualification of a cheap 70’s B movie: gratuitous nudity and sex, dumb special effects, and of course ridiculous music. Rocky Horror follows newlyweds Brad and Janet as they go off for a honeymoon. They get lost in the woods, only to find a perfectly placed castle right before their paths. Inside the castle is truly the oddest assortment of characters ever written into a script. The one you really need to know is Frank N. Furter, played by a smashing Tim Curry. He is the man in drag which has become synonymous with the movie, and also the voice of Nigel Thornberry but that’s neither here nor there.

The music of Rocky Horror is a microcosm of the 1970’s. Songs range from power ballads, to heavy rock, to disco. There is an awful song for every genre, as if they tried to spread out the badness across as many different kinds of music. Some gems are “Sweet Tranvestite”, “Hot Patootie Bless my Soul”, and “Time Warp”. Meatloaf is in “Hot Patootie Bless My Soul” for no reason at all; he serves little to no purpose in the film. The music is all fun and dandy, but it’s not what cements the film in cinema history.

What sets Rocky Horror apart from other horrible movies is the cult that surrounds it. I do mean cult. The fans of the movie know every line, every cue, and every blooper. At screenings, they eagerly wait for the ridiculous lines to come, and shout them back at the screen. Props are also an integral part of the process. Some scenes feature absurd items, so why not have them when you watch it? The logic is there, just under some layers of subtext. The movie feature a few dance numbers, and boy do they get the audience moving. The “Time Warp” is the most fun (and more importantly the easiest) dance number for the audience to do. They even show the steps on the screen, so you have no excuse not to participate.

Rocky Horror played at the Campus Theater on October 30, the night before Halloween. It was a nearly full house, and but entirely full of interesting characters. A good portion of the crowd dresses as a character from the movie, others brought props, and one even dressed as a half-man-half-goat. Yeah.  I saw it last year on Halloween, so it wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew some references and when some jokes would be coming, but not enough. There is one man who goes to the show every year who has EVERY line in the show memorized. He will shout out a joke that makes no sense, only for the punchline to come as the next piece of dialogue was spoken. I sat in the front, so it was nearly impossible to hear most of his jokes. However, the experience is just overwhelmingly fun.

And not to mention our own Ian Colley won the costume contest as a Frank N Furter under a trench coat. His prizes were worthy of a man who just won a cross dressing contest…

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Bucknell NewsJason Hammett