Doing the Time Warp: Rocky Horror Picture Show to explode onto campus tonight

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

For the first time in recent memory, Swarthmore will take part in a distinguished tradition: there will be a screening of the cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, famous for its obsessive fans and elaborate screening rituals, tonight at midnight in Science Center 101. The screening is sponsored by QSA and SWIL.

For the uninitiated, “Rocky Horror” is a monumental achievement of the B-movie genre, a 1975 film still shown in movie theaters everywhere. Did we mention that it’s a musical? The catch: like Charles Darwin, it has a posse. Audience members are encouraged to dress up like characters from the film, the favorite being Dr. Frank N. Furter, the “sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania.” The less adventurous may wish to choose Brad or Janet, the hapless newlyweds who end up marooned at Frank’s lair. When viewed alone or in small groups, it seems like merely a stranger than average B-movie, but in large groups such as the one that will hopefully materialize tonight, it becomes a phenomenon.

During the film, the audience traditionally yells many comebacks at the screen. No prior knowledge is required, says organizer Emmanuelle Wambach ’08, as “you’ll get the hang of it.” Eminent Rocky Horror authority Abby Graber ’08 also organized the screening. Unfortunately, the second interactive element will be prohibited due to respect for our fine Science Center space. Usually, objects are thrown at the screen, such as rice at Janet and Brad’s wedding and toast when a toast is proposed, but this will be prohibited tonight. There are still opportunities: bring a flashlight in lieu of a candle, newspapers, and noisemakers if you want to get into the action, Wambach advises.

The event was not planned to coincide with Coming Out week- “this week just seemed to work,” Wambach said, citing its proximity to Halloween, but “the movie fits really well with it [Coming Out Week].” This is the first screening at Swarthmore that Wambach is aware of, though Bryn Mawr holds them occasionally.

Wambach promises explanations for first-timers. To give you a head start, here are a few things to remember before you lace up that corset for tonight. Lines to scream vary highly, so we’ve suggested some key props to make the experience a bit more lively.

Newspaper: To be worn over your head when Brad and Janet do so during the rainstorm.
Flashlight: Wave during the “There’s a light” verse of “Over at the Frankenstein Place”
Rubber Gloves: When Frank snaps his rubber gloves, you should too.
Toilet Paper: In honor of our loyal patron the Scott family, throw (and catch or otherwise clean up after yourself) a roll of toilet paper when Dr. Scott enters and Brad says “Great Scott!”
Bell: Ring it when Frank says “Did you hear the bell ring?”

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