Filmsite Movie Review
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Pages: (1) (2) (3)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

The Dramatic Entrance of Dr. Frank N. Furter - "Sweet Transvestite":

Both of them were unaware that just behind them, a black-caped, god-like figure was descending from on high in a black elevator cage, while tapping one rhinestone or sequin-encrusted high-heeled boot. As the lift reached their level, Janet turned and saw the figure flip around and turn in her direction. She screamed and again fainted at the sight of a heavily-made up character with dark eye shadow, thick black eyebrows, and dark red lips - obviously the Master of the group.

[Note: The antique elevator was the main means of transportation in the castle, composed of at least a few levels: (above) the laboratory, main (the foyer and ballroom area).]

When the elevator's cage bars opened behind the couple, they experienced the dramatic, royal and majestic entrance of fishnet and heels-wearing drag queen Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry). As a greeting, the crazed, mad trans-sexual transvestite sang: "How do ya do-a" to Brad. As he stepped forward to Brad and Janet, he noted that they had already met Riff Raff: "I see you've met my faithful - handyman. He's just a little brought down - because when you knocked, he thought you were the candy man."

Then, he strutted boldly forward through a gauntlet lineup of the revelers to the stage (with an elevated throne) on the other side of the room, as he continued to sing about how his behavior entirely changed (to a life of sexual debauchery - when he became a "creature of the night") once the dark night arrived:

Don't get strung out by the way I look. Don't judge a book by its cover. I'm not much of a man by the light of day but by night, I'm one helluva lover.

Up on the stage in front of a banner reading ANNUAL TRANSYLVANIAN CONVENTION, he dropped his black cloak onto the throne behind him, to reveal his full transvestite garb. His sexy, skimpy, cross-dressed lingerie outfit was composed of a giant white pearl necklace, a leather laced draw-string fronted vest, a tight corset (with leather bikini briefs), torn fishnet stockings, black garters, and high-heeled stiletto boots. His face had heavy mascara, pale-white face makeup, and his lips were painted a deep red.

As he paraded around the room, obviously the leader of the cult, Dr. Frank N. Furter seductively sang the campy classic "Sweet Transvestite" to the newly-engaged couple, to identify himself as a transgressive and non-human alien: "I'm just a sweet transvestite, from Transssssexual Transylvania-hah-hah!" He strutted back to Brad and Janet who were both aghast - he circled around them, and forced them into the center of the ballroom as he sang:

Let me show you around, maybe play you a sound. You look like you're both pretty groovy. Or if you want something visual that's not too abysmal, we could take in an old Steve Reeves movie.

[Note: Body-builder Steve Reeves was the title character of many Italian-made sword & sandal pictures in the 50s, including Hercules (1958) and Hercules Unchained (1959).]

His right arm had a colorfully-tattooed word: "BOSS". The design heart was composed of a sword piercing the heart, with blood dripping down. On his upper right thigh was another ambiguous tattoo: the number 4711.

[Note: 4711 was the logo for a brand of 'Eau de Cologne' - a unisex cologne popular with gay men in the 1970s.]

When Brad mentioned they needed to phone for help for their car and were in a hurry, Frank finished his song:

Well you got caught with a flat, Well how about that, Well babies don't you panic. By the light of the night, it'll all seem all right, I'll get you a satanic mechanic. I'm just a sweet transvestite, from Transssssexual Transylvania-hah-hah!

As he finished his song, he sat on his throne, and threw his legs over the side of the throne-chair, and invited them to stay for the night:

Why don'tcha stay for the night?

The Unveiling of the Reanimated Rocky Horror:

Frank specifically invited them to remain so that he could show them his "favorite obsession" - an artificial creation of a flawless blonde Adonis - designed to relieve his sexual tension. In an unnatural move (for the mid-1970s), Frank had created a creature (of the same gender) for his own sexual vices:

I've been making a man with blonde hair and a tan, and he's good for relieving my ten - sion....

He strutted over to the elevator - and proposed having Brad and Janet visit his secret laboratory for an unveiling - before ascending:

So come up to the lab and see what's on the slab. I see you shiver with antici... pation.

[Note: Frank's name, Dr. Frank N. Furter, paid homage to Dr. Frankenstein from Mary Shelley's novel, who also created (animated) a man in a lab within a castle.]

But first, Riff Raff and Magenta forced Brad and Janet to strip down to their underwear, before they all stepped into the elevator to ascend to Frank's upper lab area. It was set up like a large, circular surgical observation theatre with pink tiled walls and bright red railings, with a raised mezzanine observation platform for spectators (the conventioneers, with noise-makers including party horns, blow-outs and spinning rattlers). Two tall white phallic columns (each topped with a replica of the Diskobolos or Discus-Thrower, by the famous sculptor Myron) reached up to the level of the balcony - emphasizing Frank's obsession with and worship of musculophilia.

Frank stood silently in the middle of the laboratory to greet them, wearing a green surgeon's outfit.

[Note: The red triangle pointing up on Frank's green doctor's uniform was used by the Nazis to signify a gay man, although in this instance, it symbolized gay pride.]

On one side of the open-floored area was a small pink curtained stage and a microphone on a stand. On either side of the stage were two matching replicas or cheap reproductions of the same famous male nude statue: 'David', by Michelangelo. The two statues (each adorned with lipstick and nail polish), mirroring each other, stood on either side of the stage (functioning in part as speaker supports for the PA system). Behind Frank was an odd-shaped lab table with a red fabric covering.

Janet and Brad were both given white lab coats to wear for hospitality's sake: (Frank: "And what charming underclothes you both have. But here. Put these on. They'll make you feel less - uh, vulnerable"). When Brad insisted on using the telephone, Frank complimented him on his aggressive masculinity: "How forceful you are, Brad. Such a perfect specimen of manhood. So - dominant."

Frank spoke into the microphone as he introduced his "breakthrough in biochemical research," and his discovery of the "secret to life itself."

Tonight, my unconventional conventionists. You are to witness a new breakthrough in bio-chemical research. And paradise is to be mine. It was strange the way it happened. Suddenly, you get a break! (He stretched and snapped his pink rubber gloves) All of the pieces seem to fit into place. What a sucker you've been, what a fool. The answer was there all the time. It took a small accident to make it happen. AN ACCIDENT! And that is how I discovered the secret. That elusive ingredient, that - SPARK that is the breath of life. Yes, I have that knowledge! I hold the secret to life - ITSELF!

And then Frank announced that it was a special night - the unveiling of his Frankenstein-esque humanoid creation: "You see, you are fortunate. For tonight is the night (he pulled at one of his gloves) that my beautiful creature is destined to be born!" He threw his head back and outstretched his arms - and a drum roll commenced.

Beneath the silky red fabric covering was a mummified, bandaged figure suspended and floating in a vat or tank of water. Frank gave orders to Riff Raff to activate two large control switches on a panel:

"Throw open the switches on the Sonic Oscillator. And step up the Reactor Power Input three more points."

Lights flashed on and off, and a chandelier descended from the ceiling to dispense different colored liquids into the vat.

[Note: The colored dyes put into the tank's liquid, providing the proper amniotic fluid, was a rainbow-tinted environment for the 'birth' of Rocky. This referenced the Gay Pride Flag or Rainbow Flag (a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride and LGBTQ social movements). The gay pride flag was conceived by artist/drag queen and gay activist Gilbert Baker for the San Francisco Pride Parade in 1978.]

The creature in the tank began to show signs of life - its bandaged hands trembled, rose up, and gripped the side of the chamber as it steadied itself to stand up. Frank and Riff Raff unveiled the bandages surrounding the figure's face and head. Frank exclaimed: "Oh, Rocky!" The whitish-blonde haired Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood) grabbed onto the chandelier as it was elevated. He expressed real terror, miserableness and unhappiness about being created ("My life is a misery") and would soon try to flee from his creator. He sang some verses as he dangled in mid-air and then was lowered:

The Sword of Damocles is hanging over my head. And I've got the feeling someone's gonna be cutting the thread. Oh, woe is me My life is a misery. Oo, oh. Oh, can't you see that I'm at the start of a pretty big downer. I woke up this morning with a start when I fell out of bed...And left from my dreaming was a feeling of unnameable dread....My high is low, I'm dressed up with no place to go. And all I know is I'm at the start of a pretty big downer.

[Note: Rocky's first words - sung in lyrics about 'The Sword of Damocles' - referred to a tale from Cicero about a slave named Damocles who was owned by a tyrant named Dionysus I of Syracuse. Damocles envied the life of his master. To teach his slave what it was like to be a happy tyrant, Dionysus placed Damocles on a throne with a sword (suspended by a single horse-hair) hanging over his head. Damocles then begged Dionysus to free him, because he didn't want to be happy after all. Rocky was comparing his situation to Damocles' plight.]

Magenta and Columbia removed the remainder of Rocky's wrappings, exposing his muscle-bound, beefcake body. Frank admired his reanimated, attractive new playmate sex toy - a newborn, heavily-tanned playmate, without a belly button, wearing a sparkling gold lamé set of briefs. He began to chase Rocky around the circular room a few times as he fled from his creator while singing his 'birth' song. When the musical sequence finally came to a close, Frank mildly reprimanded Rocky: "That's no way to behave on your first day out. (Frank grabbed Rocky's bare leg) Oh well, but hmm, since you're such an exceptional beauty, I'm prepared to forgive you." Frank chortled to himself: "Oh, I just love success!"

Desirous of praise for his creation, Frank asked Janet about her reaction to the muscular Rocky, and she answered: "Well, I don't like men with too many muscles." Frank retorted: "I didn't make him for you! He carries the Charles Atlas seal of approval!" Rocky was presented with a birthday-gift from Frank - a set of pink barbells - another excuse for Frank's song: "I Can Make You a Man" (to the shock and dismay of both Janet and Brad).

During the song (aka "Charles Atlas Song"), Rocky pumped the weights and performed exercises on a pink gymnastics pommel horse, as Frank chortled about creating a man in seven days:

A weakling weighing ninety-eight pounds will get sand in his face when kicked to the ground. And soon in the gym with a determined chin. The sweat from his pores as he works for his cause will make him glisten and gleam. And with massage and just a little bit of stea-eeam, he'll be pink and quite clean. He'll be a strong man, oh honey, but the wrong man. He'll eat nutritious, high protein and swallow raw eggs. Try to build up his shoulders, his chest, arms and legs. Such an effort, if he only knew of my plan. In just seven days, I can make you a ma-aa-a-a-an. He'll do press-ups, and chin-ups. Do the snatch, clean and jerk. He thinks Dynamic Tension must be hard work. Such strenuous living I just don't understand. When in just seven days, oh baby, I can make you a ma-aa-a-a-an.

[Note: Frank's megalomanical boast that he created a man in just seven days evoked God's statement in the Bible, in Genesis 1:26-27 ("Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness...So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them"); Exodus 20:11 also stated: "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day."]

[Note: The lyrics of "I Can Make You a Man" referenced the story of famed body builder Charles Atlas, whose fitness program reached its heyday from 1929 to 1948. His ads to transform oneself through "Dynamic Tension" portrayed a skinny 97-pound weakling at Coney Island Beach who had sand kicked in his face by a hunky beefcake guy, while his humiliated girlfriend stood by. The ads' quotes proclaimed: "Let Me Prove in 7 Days That I Can Make You a New Man!", "The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac", and "Hey, Skinny! Yer Ribs Are Showing!"]

The Sudden Arrival (and Murder) of Biker Eddie:

Suddenly, from behind a beeping door marked "DEEP FREEZE" that fell forward like a drawbridge, ex-delivery boy and biker Eddie (Meat Loaf), a former lover of Frank's and the current partner of girlfriend Columbia, escaped from cryogenic freezing and rode out on his motorcycle, with his saxophone strapped on his back. It appeared that he had recently had an operation - a red gash marked his forehead. (He had half of his brain cut out and transplanted into the mad doctor's newest Charles Atlas creation.) He began playing his saxophone and singing "Hot Patootie Bless My Soul" while dancing with Columbia and seducing her, and revving his motorcycle around the laboratory. The song's lyrics praised the early days of R 'n' R (and Buddy Holly), Saturday night dates in hot cars, greasers, and backseat sex.

[Note: He sported the tattoos: 'Love' and 'Hate' on alternate knuckles seen as he gripped the handlebars of his bike, homage to Robert Mitchum's psychopathic Preacher in The Night of the Hunter (1955)].

Clearly upset by Eddie's arrival, Frank pushed Rocky into the elevator cage - to briefly imprison him as a hostage or to protect him (?). From the icy interior of the cyrogenic chamber, Frank grabbed an ice-pick and threateningly approached toward Eddie as he fled into the refrigerated chamber - and there in the back of the deep freeze vault, he murdered him. During the gruesome killing, Columbia screamed in horror. Frank hacked Eddie to death (off-screen), and then returned with blood-stained rubber gloves, dropped the murder weapon, and uttered: "One from the vaults!" Eddie had presumably been Frank's first failed experiment in 'making a man.'

The homicide was to prove to Rocky that his former boyfriend Eddie meant nothing to him romantically. Frank tried to reassure and comfort the clearly-agitated Rocky by justifying the murder: "Don’t be upset. It was a mercy killing! He had a certain naive charm, but no - muscle."

Frank reprised the song: "I Can Make You a Man," to emphasize his desire for Rocky's flexing muscles: ("But a deltoid and a bicep, a hot groin and a tricep, makes me ooooh, shake...") as Janet unexpectedly piped up with:

I'm a muscle fan!

Frank was aided by Riff Raff and Magenta to remove his surgeon's gown, revealing his original transvestite costume.

On the soundtrack, the 'Wedding March' played as Frank and Rocky, arm-in-arm, were quickly wedded together in a mock ceremony. In a procession, they approached the stage with its open curtain, set up as an altar and bridal bed chamber (above the bed was a stained-glass window design of a bearded, muscular Titan Atlas straining to hold a globe of the Earth - the weight of the world - while in a position of servitude on one knee).

[Note: Rocky's suffering was to be equated with the pain and endurance of strong man Titan Atlas - and the 'Dynamic Tension' required of Charles Atlas.]

The guests in the laboratory lined up on either side to shower them with confetti as the two stepped into the bridal suite. The curtain closed as Frank jumped into Rocky's arms, and a gong sounded.

Dual Seductions of Janet and Brad by Frank:

The narrator prefaced the next sequence with a serious statement:

There are those who say that life is an illusion, and that reality is simply a figment of the imagination. If this is so, then Brad and Janet are quite safe. However, the sudden departure of their host and his creation (into the seclusion of his somber bridal suite) had left them feeling both apprehensive and uneasy. A feeling which grew as the other guests 'departed' and 'they' were shown to their separate rooms.

A transitional element (a keyhole) initiated Janet's seduction - it was the first of suggestive dual scenes of the engaged couple being debauched and tempted to commit infidelities. After Brad and Janet (symbols of traditional sexuality) were both separated from each other, Janet (in her underwear) was pushed into a reddish-lighted tent by Columbia and thrown a kimono. During the two subsequent sequences, nocturnal trans-sexual orgies, Janet and Brad were spied upon via a bedroom video monitor by Riff Raff and Magenta.

During Janet's heterosexual coupling, she thought she was making love to glasses-wearing Brad, but when the disguised male's wig came off, she discovered it was Frank! When she complained that she had been tricked ("Oh, oh you beast, you monster. Oh, what have you done with Brad?...You tricked me - I wouldn't have - I've never, never.."), Frank convinced her that the experience was indeed pleasurable: "But it isn't all bad, is it? I think you really found it quite pleasurable," and she succumbed to his kisses as they continued love-making. However, she still felt some regret: "It's your fault. You're to blame. I was saving myself." With a monetary metaphor - implying that Janet's virginity was a very valuable commodity to be bargained for and acquired, and that she still needed to unleash the full power of her sexuality, Frank responded: "Well, I'm sure you're not spent, yet."

Frank assured and promised her that Brad wouldn't be told of her indiscretions: "Cross my heart and hope to die," and they recommenced their hedonistic abandon.

In between the two seductions, Riff Raff approached Rocky (asleep and face-down on the bed in the bridal suite) who was chained by the ankles to Frank's bed. He tormented Rocky with lighted candles in a candlebra, causing the reanimated creation to break his chains, collapse the bed, and flee in a panic down the elevator shaft.

[Note: In the Frankenstein (1931) movie, the Monster (Boris Karloff) was often tormented by fire. He panicked and became violent when hunchbacked and twisted dwarf Fritz (Dwight Frye) entered and brandished a lighted torch. Later, after the Monster was manacled to the wall and locked up in the downstairs dungeon cellar, Fritz again took cruel delight in teasing, intimidating, tormenting, and torturing the creature. The hunchback, who presumably hated the Monster because it reminded him of his own mis-shapenness, bull-whipped the creature and waved a flaming torch in his face.]

Riff Raff and Magenta brought their hands together - he passionately kissed her, vampire-style, on the neck.

A second homosexual pairing occurred with Brad in bluish light - he was also pushed into a tent by Columbia and given a blue kimono. Similar to Janet's experience, he thought it was Janet making love to him, but when the disguised female's wig was dislodged, it was Frank! Brad was forced to admit by Frank that he enjoyed the homoerotic experience and the kisses: "But it isn't all bad, is it? Not even half bad. I think you really quite enjoyed it....Oh, come on Brad, admit it, you liked it, didn't you? There's no crime in giving yourself over to pleasure. Oh, Brad, you've wasted so much time already. Janet needn't know - I won't tell her!" Frank also assured him that Janet wouldn't be told: ("On my mother's grave").

They were interrupted when Frank was informed by Riff Raff via a TV monitor that Rocky had escaped: ("Master, Rocky has broken his chains and vanished. Your new playmate is loose and somewhere in the castle grounds. Magenta has just released the dogs"). Dogs were set loose to search for him.

Janet's Seduction of Rocky:

After cheating on Brad, the guilt-ridden Janet - a virgin who had planned on saving herself for her wedding night with fiancee Brad - was distraught, but was also seeking further sexual satisfaction. She took the elevator up to the laboratory, where she delivered a litany of "what ifs":

  • Oh, if only we hadn't made this journey.
  • If only the car hadn't broken down.
  • If only we were amongst friends or sane persons.

She discovered the hidden surveillance video camera and monitor, and even though she had just committed a similar indiscretion, she felt betrayed when she viewed the taping of Frank and Brad smoking a post-coital cigarette. She cried out to Brad while weeping and sobbing - "Oh Brad, oh Brad, how could you?"

Conveniently, she found Rocky moaning and groaning in the empty tank, hiding under a sheet from recent torment delivered by Riff Raff. She stripped off some of her petticoat to make a bandage to dress Rocky's wounds. Having been sexually awakened by Frank, Janet turned to Rocky for sexual gratification, and decided to aggressively pursue Rocky - she was determined to seek sexual revenge (and deliberately cheat on Brad a second time). Rocky was also being unfaithful to his creator.

The narrator commented about the definition of the term "Emotion" from a dictionary - and how Columbia and Magenta were watching via video camera to witness Janet's (and Rocky's) act of defiant sexuality:

emotion: 'Agitation, or disturbance of mind, vehement or excited mental state.' It is also a powerful and irrational master; and from what Magenta and Columbia eagerly viewed on their television monitor, there seemed little doubt that Janet was indeed its slave.

In a memorable seduction scene, while she was wearing nothing but an undersized white bra and panties (under her torn petticoat), she approached the bi-sexual, idealized love machine creation Rocky. She sang a song of sexual liberation and sexual predatory behavior: "Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me" as she showed Rocky what she had 'tasted' with Frank - "blood" (her broken virginal hymen) - she had been initiated into the pleasures of forbidden sexual abandon.

She invited him to experience her physically (and satisfy her "itch to scratch") - and to let him touch her breasts through her bra before they made love, and became "dirty" creatures of the night:

I was feeling done in, couldn't win, I'd only ever kissed before....I thought there's no use getting into heavy petting. It only leads to trouble and seat wetting. Now all I want to know, is how to go, I've tasted blood and I want more...
I'll put up no resistance, I want to stay the distance, I've got an itch to scratch, I need assistance.
Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me, I wanna be dirty. Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me, creature of the night...

Then if anything grows while you pose, I'll oil you up and rub you down....And that's just one small fraction of the main attraction, you need a friendly hand (she placed Rocky's hands on her breasts) Oh, and I need action.
Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me, I wanna be dirty. Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me, creature of the night....
Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me, I wanna be dirty. Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me, creature of the night...

The Momentous Arrival of Dr. Scott:

Frank emerged from the elevator, arriving at the laboratory level, where he whipped Riff Raff as punishment for Rocky's escape, as Brad watched behind him. At the video security monitor, Riff Raff viewed the arrival of a visitor outside the castle - a man in a wheelchair with an umbrella - recognized first by Brad as his science teacher at Denton High School, Dr. Everett Scott (Jonathan Adams).

[Note: The wheel-chaired Dr. Scott was a parody of the title character portrayed by Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove, Or: (1964).]

Riff Raff interjected - "You know this earthling?" - providing a clue to his own alien heritage. Frank was immediately suspicious of the rival Austrian scientist - claiming he was a government researcher on UFOs. Dr. Scott was allowed to enter, and then was transported up to the laboratory through the interior stairs of the castle via electro-magnetic power. He crashed through the pink tiled walls of the lab in a dramatic entrance. Brad exclaimed: "GREAT SCOTT!"

Frank accused Dr. Scott of being sent there as a spy, to intrude on the castle, by Brad and Janet - although Brad denied it. Dr. Scott claimed he was only looking for his missing nephew, Eddie - who, of course, had just been murdered by Frank:

Frank: It was part of your plan, was it not, that he and his female should check the layout for you? Well, unfortunately for you, all the plans are to be changed. I hope you're adaptable, Dr. Scott. I know Brad is.
Dr. Scott: I can assure you that Brad's presence here comes as a complete surprise to me. I came here to find Eddie....You see, Eddie happens to be my nephew.

Suddenly, Janet and Rocky emerged naked from under a red satin sheet in the tank where they had been making love. Everyone was shocked to be in the same room, and each one of the characters exclaimed names in a hilarious dialogue (Rocky was mute):

Brad: Dr. Scott.
Dr. Scott: Janet!
Janet: Dr. Scott!
Brad: Janet!
Janet: Brad!
Frank: Rocky!
Rocky: …
Dr. Scott: Janet!
Janet: Dr. Scott!
Brad: Janet!
Janet: Brad!
Frank: Rocky!
Rocky: …
Dr. Scott: Janet!
Janet: Dr. Scott!
Brad: Janet!
Janet: Brad!
Frank: Rocky!
Rocky: …

Frank immediately threatened revenge against Rocky: "Rocky! Listen, I made you and I can break you just as easily!"

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