Category Archives: Musical

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

cult film rocky horrorDirector: Jim Sharman

Writers: Richard O’Brien (original musical play), Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien (screenplay)

In 1973, an Australian named Jim Sharman directed a musical called The Rocky Horror Show. The musical was a success and, in 1975, was made into a film that soon gathered a cult following.

Brad Majors and his fiancee Janet Weiss (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon), having just got engaged and seemingly destined to lead a very conventional life together, have a flat tyre during a thunderstorm and seek shelter in a rather eerie castle. Here they meet Dr Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), self-proclaimed ‘Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transsylvania’ and alien scientist, his servants Riff Raff and Magenta (Richard O’Brien and Patricia Quinn), groupie Columbia (Nell Campbell) and a host of other odd and interesting characters. Frank N. Furter has created a ‘muscle man’ and, to applause from his guests and servants and to Brad’s and Janet’s dismay, brings to life the ‘beautiful creature’, Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood). This is followed by a violent intermezzo with Frank’s and Columbia’s former lover Eddie (Meat Loaf), a wedding between Frank and Rocky, a large amount of seduction, a bizarre floorshow and extra-terrestrial encounters.

The film is a parody of old horror and sci-fi films replete with all the stock ingredients – mad scientists, spooky castles, aliens, sex, gore, romance – with catchy music and remarkable costumes thrown in. It shows reckless abandon, decadent danger and carnal enjoyment, contrasted beautifully by Janet and Brad’s polite, repressed behaviour. Playing with identities and gender roles, and with the idea of taking risks and letting go, it brought together people who liked to do something different and not follow the rules. ‘Don’t Dream It, Be It’, as the song goes. Costume designer Sue Blane claimed that the musical, with its ripped fishnet stockings, glitter and dyed hair, influenced the punk movement, and we’re inclined to agree. Provocative, camp and funny, it still rocks today.

Singalong now!

SL-R

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The Blues Brothers (1980)

Blues-Brothers

Director – John Landis

Writers – John Landis, Dan Aykroyd

I don’t feel as if I’m exaggerating when I suggest that The Blues Brothers is a contender for the best film ever made. Here’s why. It epitomises everything that film was made for – art and sound in motion. It moves along at one heck of a pace, but it’s such an enjoyable thrill ride with so many spectacular views, a scorching script and a rip-roaring soundtrack on top of that. And massive car pile ups. That’s what film was made for!

Did I mention it was funny? It’s funny. Not just “titter every few minutes or so” funny like most comedies you watch are either. It’s laugh out loud funny almost every single line, or even visually without words for most of the time. It throbs with resounding one-liners and immaculate, immortal quotes, such as, “We’re putting the band back together,” “We’re on a mission from God,” and, “It’s 106 miles to Chicago. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses”, “Hit it!” It drips with absurd brilliance, jaw-dropping stunts and sequences, and a screamingly ridiculous, yet compelling plot. Dan Aykroyd is on superb comedy form as the steely Elwood Blues, opposite the blisteringly excellent, and taken from us way too soon, John Belushi as the smooth-talking, fresh out of prison ‘Joliet’ Jake Blues, who embark on a cross country trial to put the band back together and raise money for the orphanage that they grew up in that’s facing the threat of imminent closure by the board of education unless they can put on a show and put things right. The magic they create is phenomenal. Then there are the delicious cameos from Frank Oz, Charles Napier, Steven Spielberg, John Candy, Paul Reubens, Henry Gibson, Carrie Fisher, Kathleen Freeman, Twiggy, all joyous in each and every way.

But it’s the music that really holds it together and makes the film ripple with life. Many soul and blues legends feature playing bit parts in the movie. Who’s that sitting on a stool playing an old guitar? Really? Who’s that preaching at the pulpit in the church? No freaking way! Who’s that working at the cafe? You’re kidding me?! And that can’t really be HIM working in the old second hand music store… can it? So cool!

If you haven’t seen it, what have you been doing with your life? See it! If you have seen it, see it again, and again, and again! They’ll never get caught, they’re on a mission from God.

TL-R

The Blues Brothers is available on DVD at a very reasonable price here!