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Tim Curry
Dr. Frank-N-Furter
(A Scientist)
Like God, whose minister he portrays in the wedding of Ralph and Betty Hapschatt, Tim Curry in the role of Frank-N-Furter has the ability to create life itself. But the mad scientist has made his discovery by accident. His is the underbelly, the dark side of creation; and it should come as no surprise to us when he suffers satanic ruin.
Before he dies, however, Frank is the joy of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. All the film's earlier scenes are directed toward his entrance; every character in the movie responds to him principally; and the picture is virtually over when his life ends.
In a simple, stylized manner, Frank is a study in contrasts. He is a ruthless master who has no qualms about committing murder, whipping his supposedly "faithful handyman" for an apparently slight infraction, serving Dr. Scott's roasted nephew to him for dinner, or seducing both a male and a female virgin in a single night. Yet, it is he who engages our affections when he is triumphant, and our sympathies when he faces disaster. As a sweet transvestite with a penchant for muscle-men, he is as macho as John Wayne ever was. He is the richly charactered magus who dies for our imagined sins, and redeems our fantasies as he lives out our hidden dreams.
Like any hero-villian of mythic proportions, Frank has his blind spot: In his monumental egotism he mistakes his true enemy. Whatever their past relationship may be - and a dire, competetive one is suggested - Frank is wrongly suspicious of Dr. Scott, while his trusted servant, Riff Raff, hovers in the background, biding time until his coup can take place. His lifestyle is "too extreme" according to Riff Raff. There is no forgiveness for Frank and his fondest illusions must come to nothing. He fails not because of his ignorance, but because he is overtaken by his own talents.
But along the way he reminds us of our possibilities and leads us in the movie's anthem, exhorting us, "Don't dream it - be it." For his willingness to live out his own dreams, we love him. And it is Frank, more than any other character, that we return to the theater again and again to see and, in our hopeful way, to be.
Richard (Ritz) O'Brien
Riff Raff
(A Handyman)
Among the outrageous characters in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, none is so bizarre as Riff Raff, and probably none so difficult to portray. While everyone else in the movie works from a single set of character traits and develops in a linear fashion that can be anticipated, despite occasional lapses, the hunchbacked handyman and his sister Magenta are duplicitous. They appear to be menial servants, when in fact they are powerful undercover agents waiting for the right moment to take over the Transylvanian leadership on Earth and return to their native planet of Transexual.
Riff Raff is insolent in his lack of power, cruel when he holds it, and insanely paranoiac in its exercise. It is he who works most closely with the mad scientist in charge of the Transylvanian mission; he who releases Rocky from bondage, creating pandemonium in his master's heart; and he who wields the laser gun that kills Columbia, Rocky, and Frank at the movie's end.
Susan Sarandon
Janet Weiss
(A Heroine)
Innocence that is not educated will surely be defiled. It is difficult to say which happens to Janet Weiss, the ingenue's ingenue in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, since she takes to her defilement with such enthusiasm.
Actually, Janet's is the true-life story of many American girls raised in towns much like Denton, where the story takes place. An innocent child- hood and adolescence leave them ill-prepared for the horrors of the larger world, and the discovery of those horrors can only be traumatic. Instead of curling up and dying of anguish or embarrassment as some girls might, however, Janet uses her initiation into the darker side of life as a means of educating herself.
Deflowered by a mad scientist from another planet, and finding her fiance in Frank's thrall, she turns her attentions to the handsome hunk of beefcake Frank has created, taking solace in Rocky Horror's arms. As Frank has told her, it isn't all bad.
Barry Bostwick
Brad Majors
(A Hero)
No matter how much we may love and adore the weird Transylvanians and their leader Frank, we Earthlings always find a certain amount of attraction for Rocky Horror's romantic leads, Brad and Janet. We are attached to them at the beginning of the movie; we are greeted with them by Frank in the laboratory; we live on, as they do, after Frank has died and his castle has been beamed back to the galaxy of Transylvania. In a way, they are our insperation on this mad journey: They get our kicks for us.
At the same time, it is difficult in our sophisticated age to see these horribly innocent kids as our representatives. It is hard, after all, to imagine a greater scion of straightness than that knight in tinfoil armor, Brad Majors.
From his first appearance at the Hapschatt wedding, it is obvious that Brad - commonly dubbed "Asshole" by most audiences - is a young fool. And every move he makes, every line he speaks, every note he sings in the entire movie makes his idiotic position more secure and more sincere. Brad is entirely laughable, but deep down we know that we are more like Brad than we are like Frank, and that is Brad's saving grace for us.
Still, as the Rocky Horror straight man, Brad cannot possibly escape our condemnation. He cannot even enjoy his debauchery, dirtied, and thrilled, Brad can only cry out, "Help me, Mommy!"
Patricia Quinn
(A Domestic)
Playing the role of Magenta is a severe test for any actress, because the character is so largely engaged in the art of supporting others. She helps undress Brad before he and Janet are taken to Frank's laboratory; she stands beside Frank during the delicate, final moments before Rocky is born; she announces the film's ghoulish dinner; she throws the Medusa switch at Frank's command, turning Brad, Janet, Dr. Scott, Columbia, and Rocky Horror to stone. It is wholly fitting that she is defined, both in the movie's credits and in Frank's rambunctious household, as "a domestic."
More than any other character, Magenta supports her incestuous brother/ lover Riff Raff. And in their scenes together - singing and dancing the "Time Warp," and confronting Frank with his imminenet doom - she is most visible and most vibrant.
Little Nell
(A Groupie)
As Frank's in-house female ex-lover, Columbia is permitted a certain latitude in her actions appropriate to her identity as "a groupie." She appears to have had time for a fling with the former delivery boy, Eddie, and she is the first member of the household to call Frank down for his selfishness. She is also the first person killed when Riff Raff seizes power in the castle, and it is her death that makes Frank understand that his danger is real.
But what Columbia will best be remembered for is her glittering Ann Miller-like tap dance across the ballroom floor during the "Time Warp," and her impossibly Betty Boopish voice.
Peter Hinwood
Rocky Horror
(A Creation)
Except that he is tall, broad-shouldered, and largely incapable of articulate speech, Rocky Horror - Frank-N-Furter's creation - bears virtually no resemblance at all to Frankenstein's classic monster with his screws loose and his brain unhinged. Though this monster has but half a brain (Eddie has the other half), he has a body straight out of an aging queen's most delirious wet dream. Blond and boyishly handsome, with his deltoids, triceps, and whatnot most engagingly in place, he is happy lifting weights, doing press-ups, and accomidating the first two sexual objects he encounters - Frank and Janet.
For his creator, Rocky Horror is unquestionably a thing, albeit a male thing, rather than a person. He is not supposed to sing, dance, or find Janet an attractive piece of adventure.
As it happens, things go wrong from the very start of Rocky's extremely short life. Fresh out of his swaddling bandages, he is hoisted up on high by an overeager Riff Raff who returns the chandelier, with Rocky clinging to its rim, to its appointed place above the operating theater. Once again on the ground, Rocky finds this bizarre man in a dress and high heels chasing him up and down a ramp full of outer-space creatures in fright wigs and sunglasses. Dancing to the beat of a rock 'n roll sax, Rocky is imprisoned in a deco elevator. He's then waltzed off to a bed that's situated in front of a floor-to-ceiling stained-glass picture of Atlas holding up the world; presumably seduced in the night; terrified by Riff Raff bearing a candelabra with thirteen flaming tapers; chased outside in the rain by a pack of snarling Alsatian hounds; introduced to the female anatomy by Janet; dressed down by Frank for accepting the introduction; turned into a statue; forced to watch the murder of his lover; and finally zapped by a laser gun, "capable of emitting a beam of pure antimatter," which kills him. All in the space of about eight hours.
(Ex-Delivery Boy)
Eddie is the former delivery boy greaser for whom Frank jilted Columbia. While Eddie and his motorcycle repose in a cryogenic nightmare, Frank has taken half of his brain to animate Rocky Horror. But for some unexplained reason, the freezer door fails to contain Eddie, and revving his cycle, he rips through the wall of ice like a bat out hell, sax slung back and boots kicking, just as Frank and Rocky Horror are beginning to get to know each other. In his very few minutes on camera, Eddie casts his lust-filled eyes on both Columbia, his former flame, Rocky Horror, and Janet; sings a single song, the fifties-style hot teen anthem, "Whatever Happened to Saturday Night," and gets the whole set rocking; then finally is silenced by an ice pick wielding Frank, enraged at being upstaged. Nevertheless, Eddie's nearly irrelevant and all too brief appearance is one of the high points in the movie.
Jonathan Adams
Dr. Everett V. Scott
(A Rival Scientist)
Dr. Everett Scott (or von Scott, should I say?) is the former high school science teacher whom Brad and Janet set out to visit when the course of their journey is altered by a blowout and their subsequent search for a telephone. Miraculously, Scott turns up at Frank-N-Furter's castle the following morning.
But if Brad and Janet recognize Dr. Scott from school days, Frank recognizes him from somewhere else. He knows that Dr. Scott is employed by the government, investigating the phenomenon we call UFOs. Dr. Scott's appearance at Frank's castle comes as a surprise to everyone, but Frank refuses to believe the meeting between Scott, Brad, and Janet is accidental.
Dr. Scott's disclosure that he is looking for his nephew, Eddie, unsettles Frank still further; and though he participates sporadically in the doctor's moving rendition of "Eddie's Teddy," he concludes the song by unveiling to the assembled group the decomposing remains of what had been Dr. Scott's nephew.
Up in the lab, Frank turns all his guests to stone. When he releases them for the floor show, they are transformed. Even staid, solid, staunch Dr. Scott turns out to be prepared to live his life "for the thrill." But Dr. Scott - known to California audiences by the affectionate nickname "Kissass" - has his finest moment when Riff Raff enters the auditorium to stage his murderous vendetta. Then, three times in less than two minutes, Dr. Scott cops out, sells out, backpeddles as best he can in his wheelchair, and makes every conceivable effort to save his own neck - which is never really endangered. What a guy. Makes you cry.
Charles Gray
The Criminologist
(An Expert)
How much of what they witnessed would Brad and Janet willingly have shared with the world they knew? Would Brad have wished to speak of these things? Or Dr. Scott? In all probability "The Denton Affair" would never have been revealed to us had it not been for the dogged investigations of the Criminologist, who, with his black leather-bound dossier, infolds the matter of this case as the aristocratic, Time Warping Narrator of Rocky Horror.

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