The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy horror film directed by Jim Sharman.
The screenplay was written by Sharman and Richard O’Brien based on the 1973 musical stage production, The Rocky Horror Show, also written by O’Brien. The production is a humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1930s through early 1970s. It stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Royal Court Theater, Roxy Theater and Belasco Theater productions.
The film was shot at Bray Studios, and an old country estate called Oakley Court, in Berkshire, England. The estate is best known for its use in Hammer Horror productions. Twentieth Century Fox insisted on casting the two characters of Brad and Janet with American actors, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon. Some of the costumes from the film were originally used in the stage production. Props and set pieces were reused from old Hammer films. Although the film is both a send-up and tribute to many of the science fiction and horror movies from the 1930s up to the 1970s, costume designer Sue Blane had not conducted any research in designing for the film. Blane believes that the costumes in the film directly impacted on the development of punk music fashion.
Although largely ignored upon release, it soon gained notoriety as a midnight movie when audiences began participating with the film at the Waverly Theater in New York City in 1976. Audience members returned to the cinemas frequently and talked back to the screen and began dressing as the characters, spawning similar performance groups across the United States. Still in limited release nearly four decades after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history.
Today, the film has a large international cult following and is one of the most well-known and financially successful midnight movies of all time. It was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2005. The film’s creative team also produced Shock Treatment, a stand alone movie using the characters of Brad and Janet and featuring many of the same cast.