`The Rocky Horror
Picture Show,'' the sci-fi/horror/musical saga that just won't
die - it continues to pack them in as a bit of midnight madness
at movie theaters across America, while the original stage version,
``The Rocky Horror Show,'' is still running in England and about
to reopen in New York on Oct. 20 - celebrates its 25th anniversary
with a just-released DVD special edition loaded with goodies.
And, sitting in his
London home, creator/co-star Richard O'Brien admits to being
semi-confounded by ``Rocky Horror's'' durability.
both on stage and on screen, has to do with the fact that the
story locked into a fairy tale,'' says O'Brien, who wrote book,
music and lyrics for both play and film, as well as playing
the butler/handyman Riff Raff in both incarnations and in ``Shock
Treatment,'' the lamentable 1981 big-screen follow-up.
``On the surface,
it's just a trashy, campy, fun night out,'' he says, ``but,
unlike a Chinese meal, you don't leave it thinking, `Well, that
was all right, but it hasn't satisfied on a deeper level.'
``I think `Rocky'
satisfies on a much more subliminal level, if you will,'' O'Brien
says. ``It's a variation on a well-known fairy tale, `Babes
in the Woods,' which itself was a retelling of the fall in the
Garden of Eden. You don't necessarily think about that, but
because it somehow pleases on that secondary level, it enables
you to go back again and again and to relive the story.
``I may be completely
on the wrong track, and I may be being exceptionally pretentious
and pseudo with that interpretation,'' he adds with a laugh,
``but it's my best guess.''
Now 58, O'Brien didn't
set out to make a classic, way back when. He simply wanted to
entertain people with the travails of recently engaged innocents
Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick), who - after
their car breaks down near an eerie castle - nearly succumb
to the outrageous charms of decadent alien transvestite Dr.
Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) and the quirky guests from the galaxy
Transylvania who've gathered at the castle for an annual convention.
Savaged by critics,
the film bombed upon its release in 1975. Nonetheless it became
a phenomenon, with participants at midnight showings dressing
up and performing as the characters, tossing rice, opening umbrellas,
tossing rolls of toilet paper, dancing to ``The Time Warp''
and talking back to the screen at appropriate moments.
When the midnight-movie
craze began to fade, ``Rocky Horror'' made the leap to video.
And now, via Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, it's
on DVD. The special edition restores the production number ``Superheroes,''
cut from the American release, and counts among its extras assorted
outtakes, alternate credits sequences, a subtitle track, footage
of an audience performing in a movie theater, rarely seen photos,
a trivia quiz and another deleted song, ``Once in a While.''
``I've not seen the
DVD,'' O'Brien confesses. ``I watched the movie and did a little
commentary for it, and I know about the extras. But I'm a technophobe
and a Luddite, so DVD will probably not see its way into my
``The DVD is not
my ball game,'' the actor/writer says. ``That's the producers'
and the film company's journey, not mine. My journey is to get
on with my life, really, not to repackage something from the
``I'm delighted it's
been done, but it's really nothing to do with me.''
Which is not to say
that O'Brien - whose other acting credits include ``Flash Gordon,''
``Dark City'' and the upcoming fantasy film ``Dungeons &
Dragons,'' with Jeremy Irons and Thora Birch - wishes to forget
``Rocky Horror.'' In fact, he's currently penning a stage sequel,
and comes to this interview straight from the house of Richard
Hartley, musical director on the original ``Rocky Horror Show''
``We're quite happy
with the first act, musically, and with the linear journey it
takes,'' O'Brien says. ``I was up to the third or fourth song
in the second act, but I'm going to have to throw those songs
away and write a new second act - we came up with a much better
idea for it, and I'll have to work on that.
``We don't have a
title yet, but we'll be revisiting old characters, which should
Spelling is a New York-based free-lance writer.)