There was hardly a virgin in attendance — a virgin being, in Rocky Horror lingo, anyone uninitiated into the weird midnight rituals that accompany every showing of the cult megahit The Rocky Horror Picture Show. On October 20, nearly 2,000 fans paid $25 each to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the movie at Los Angeles’ Twentieth Century Fox studios — and, not incidentally, to plug Fox’s release of the Rocky Horror video on Nov. 8. Some brought memorabilia to drop into a Rocky Horror time capsule. Many came decked out in fishnet stockings and garter belts in the style Dr. Frank N Furter, who, as played by Tim Curry, is the ”sweet transvestite from Transexual, Transylvania.” And at an 11 p.m. screening they shouted the traditional obscenities at Brad and Janet (the young couple, played by Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon, trapped in a perversely haunted castle), threw rice at their wedding, squirted water during the rainstorm, and danced the wacky Time Warp until they were carted away in chartered school buses.
The movie’s stars, including Curry, Bostwick, and Meatloaf, arrived according to an older tradition, by limo. The most notable absentee was Sarandon, the most notable guest Jack Nicholson, and the most notable costume coproducer Lou Adler’s ”Gary Hart for President” T-shirt. ”I think the movie’s so successful because it’s like Jackie Gleason or Lucille Ball,” Meatloaf said. ”It helps you escape reality and it’s goofy.”
Adler recalled that nearly two-thirds of the audience walked out in disgust during a 1975 sneak preview in Santa Barbara, but since then the film has grossed $150 million. That is, thanks to insomniacs like Sal Piro, president of the international Rocky Horror fan club, who boasted at the party that he’s seen the movie 1,375 times. Will the new at-home version, which contains eight minutes of footage taken at rowdy midnight showings around the country, inspire the same rituals that have made the screenings infamous? Says Adler: ”Who knows what they’ll do behind closed doors?”