What is the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’
The Rocky Horror Picture show is a musical comedy horror movie that was first released in 1973 and is still on limited release today. As the longest running theatrical release in film history it tells the story of a couple whose car breaks down and they seek refuge in an old house on the hill. They are introduced to a range of unusual characters as they happened to have arrived during the Annual Transylvanian Convention.
This Pan-sexual collection of oddballs proceed to sing and dance their way through the movie, led by Frank N Furter who invites the unfortunate Brad and Janet into his science labratory so he can unveil his latest creation, a man, designed to be perfect and whose purpose is to be Frank N Furters sex toy.
There are 9 main characters in the show with various extras who are known as ‘The Phantoms’. For this project we will be required to take photographs of all of them, with each person being given a specific assignment.
Frank N Furter played by Tim Curry stole the show with his debut performance as the mad scientist. A role which sent him into instant stardom and a character he continued to play on stage after the movie release.
Richard o’ Brien played Frank N Furters faithful assistant and butler role. O’Brien was the writer and creator of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and subsequently went on to write a spin off and a sequel.
Brad Majors played by Barry Bostwick was the clean cut all American guy who was engaged to be married to Susan Sarandons character Janet Weiss.
Janet Weiss was the naive and gullible finance of Brad Majors. She began as a shy and innocent person but during the movie her character changed to abandon her morality and embrace her sexual nature.
Magenta is the appointed servant to Frank N Furter and brother to Rif Raf. She is from the planet Transexual and longs to return home.
Columbia is one of the few human groupies than has attached herself to the Transylvanians. She falls madly in love with both Eddie and Frank N Furter and is torn between them until Eddie is murdered by Furter with an ice pick.
Dr Everett Scott was a rival scientist and UFO hunter. He was drawn to the Transylvanians and challenged Frank N Furters project. He was eventually killed when he was turned to stone by one of Frank N Furters weapons.
Eddie was a former delivery boy who had fallen for Columbia. He gate crashed the unveiling of Rocky Horror and Frank N Furter killed him with an ice pick.
Rocky Horror was played by Peter Winwood. He played the creation of Frank N Furter and is meant to represent the perfect specimen of man. Peter Winwood was not a trained singer and his voice had to be dubbed when singing.
The movie is interrupted by the Narrator, played by Charles Gray who tells the story from a book. Later he joins in the song and dance and can be seen wearing a similar costume to the rest of the cast. Vincent Price was originally offered the role but turned it down due to other commitments.
The Phantoms made up the rest of the cast. They were all experienced actors and trained singers and dancers. Some of them were the understudies for some of the main acting roles. including Frank N Furter himself.
What style of images would be needed to work with the production.
The original movie was based around the style of the hammer house of horror which was a popular series from the 1950’s to 1970’s. However it was a comedy and needed to bring a lighthearted feel yet still remain dark and gothic.
In order to represent the original movie and the college production fairly then a low key style of image would be needed. A black background would be the best colour to work with but grey could also be used.
The lighting is very important, making a dark sinister image would be quite easy using a single light but the client requirements means that we need to have well lit outfits and makeup and although some shadowing will be acceptable if the images are too dark then they will not be usable.
These images by Kenny McCracken are excellent examples of low key atmospheric lighting without making the subject to dark. Here the lighting is even across the majority of the subject but still works due the the models pose, the grainy feel and the high contrast. The image has also been converted to black and white giving the image a deathly feel to it.
The light falls away very quickly too. These images would have been shot in a studio and the aperture would have been quite small, around f/16. The lights would have been placed close to the subject so the light would fall away quickly and the model would be placed a few feet away from the background to ensure it looks black.
The pose is also a key factor in creating an image that has atmosphere. The images above work well in creating a dark mood but Rocky Horror has a comedic element and the characters are vibrant and exhibitionist. The style and pose also needs to reflect the characters but the pansexual nature of the show means there is an underlying effeminate feel throughout the show.
The above image from a popular stock website is low key and quite well lit but would not work for the rocky horror picture show. The pose is too aggressive and although there are violent scenes in the movie there is always a comedic, almost tongue in cheek element. There is a gritty realism to the above image which would not fit with the production style.
The above image from another stock website shows a pose that would work better. The image is not as confrontational and the models body language is open and more inviting. The image has been nicely lit and although the mood is not quite what I want the detail and clarity would be sufficient.