Perhaps it is becoming an annual event now? Those who own the Embassy Cinema, in their infinite wisdom, decided to hold another interactive screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Actually, they decided to show two.
I attended last year, as per the posting at the end of this link. Uncertain as I was last year as to the nature of how other Wellingtonians would treat the occasion, I dressed fairly conservatively and went unburdened by props. This time though, I knew more what was expected.
Or at least, I thought I did. While in general, those that take the opportunity to get dressed up decide to don small golden hot pants or sparkly ring-mistress outfits or fishnet stockings and bondage gears, there are a few outfits that do not require the exposure of too much flesh and I am of the latter inclination. So I dressed up in a fairly bright but unrevealing outfit inspired by Columbia, minus the nipple-revealing rip. I was therefore quite surprised when a rather loud woman who I took for either a very bold moviegoer or one of the usherers stopped before me, critically eyed me up and down, drew herself back and hands on hips growled, “Who do you think you are supposed to be?”. I was stunned into a moment's silence, as I was surprised that anyone attending would not know who I was meant to be emulating, but then I revealed my source to my inquisitor, after which her brow furrowed for a few minutes, and then she seemed to accept my explanation, even if I was not convinced that she really understood. So shocked was I by this gross lack in costume knowledge, I was once again flummoxed when this woman grabbed a microphone and proceeded to MC the whole event. My companions were very kind as awards for outfits were presented by pointing out that I was the only one to have chosen this particular inspiration and so should be up for an prize, recognition instead went to those who had braved the cold, wet Friday evening dressed only in high heels and lace and who would therefore have to head home so attired – and deservedly so.
Once everyone was in their seats (or at least, near them), a man from MoreFM stood up, claiming the night for that radio station – and then promply vanished to wherever unwelcome DJs go when the radio is switched off. Our Lady of Ignorance took the pre-screen position to present awards and get everyone practicing their Timewarp steps, and then we settled back and down all ready to get forward and up once the movie got underway…
…only to be greeted by a giant advertisement for the Michael Jackson concert movie. It was big, and loud, and seemed wholly inappropriate (in a way) so there were immediate cat calls for it to be removed and tacky 1970s film stock to be displayed again. But the preview ground on, the laziness inherent in recycling an advertisement for a movie that was only supposed to last for 2 weeks at the cinema in 2009 further destroying any sense of antici… that the MC had tried desperately to foster earlier… pation.
But then, once that overly long preview was over, the movie started – and the madness began. There was yelling and screaming, people invoking the dialogue and others contributing to it. Again, my call of “Bullwinkle” was heard (possibly) above the din when Rocky’s image appeared, but it was a quiet voice in the Transylvanian wilderness. The Timewarp came and most people jumped up and danced about, and when Frankie showed up in his fish-netted glory, the audience erupted into a cacophony of absolute pleasure. For some, the excitement was too much, and they ran around the cinema, some skidding on the toilet paper and streamers as they careened down the stairs, their buttocks becoming their saving grace as their feet gave way from under them. There actually was an intermission – at first booed, but then utilised for the handy toilet break opportunity it created – and then, after a fairly dire original trailer for the show, the movie continued to its floor showed conclusion.
Pity the poor cleaners though, who had to contend with not only the Friday show’s mess, but another on Saturday as well…
Verdict: Always huge amounts of fun, even when the MCing is not as good as it was the year before. Here's hoping this becomes annual fun. 9 timewarps out of 10.