"Not a sequel... not a prequel... but an equal."
is a 1981 movie musical from the makers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
, with many key cast members — but although Brad and Janet are once again major characters (albeit played by different actors), it isn't
a direct sequel and few characters aside from them return.
Denton ("The Home of Happiness"), the town that the now-married Brad and Janet Majors (Cliff DeYoung and Jessica Harper) call home, isn't what it used to be. It's now dominated by DTV, a TV station run by fast food mogul Farley Flavors, and most of its residents serve as a permanent audience for its programming. Indeed, the entire movie unfolds within the giant studio. Brad and Janet have lost the passion in their marriage, and when they're chosen to be part of Marriage Maze
by kooky host Bert Schnick (Barry Humphries), it doesn't take much convincing for Janet to allow her "emotional cripple" husband to be committed to the asylum/Soap Opera Dentonvale
to see if he can't be cured by Doctors (and siblings) Cosmo and Nation McKinley (Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn). Actually, Farley Flavors is manipulating these events from behind the scenes — he is interested in molding Janet into his newest star, and she's easily enticed into forgetting about Brad. The only people who see through the smoke and mirrors of Farley and his crew are Betty Hapschatt (Ruby Wax) and Judge Oliver Wright (Charles Gray), and they set out to find out the truth behind them and reunite the couple before it's too late...
The movie was not a success, and the makers were disappointed with how it turned out. It was
originally conceived as a direct sequel (Rocky Horror Shows His Heels
, which would have involved Dr. Frank-N-Furter being restored to life among other things), but for many, many
reasons ranging from Tim Curry
not wanting to play Frank again to the 1980 Screen Actors Guild strike, it was gradually transformed into a media spoof that is far removed from the kinky farce of the original. Within the Rocky Horror
fanbase it generates mixed reactions
, but it does have its own fan club, the presidents of which provided an audio commentary on the 2006 DVD release.
This film contains examples of:
- Acting for Two: Cliff DeYoung plays both Farley Flavors and Brad Majors.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Farley Flavors' Fabulous Fast Foods Feed and Fortify Families for a Fabulous Future!"
- Audience Participation: As with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "shadowcast" productions with audience props and callbacks have been mounted over the years. Aside from the film being less popular, a likely reason there haven't been more stagings is that far more performers are required.
- Also, in-universe, with the Studio Audience. They sing along with some of the songs, and even have a couple of dance numbers, along with getting prompted by the show hosts.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Duel Duet. Possibly.
- Bedlam House: Dentonvale.
- Call-and-Response Song: Duel Duet
- Call Back: The first thing that Janet says to Brad is "It's alright Brad - everything's going to be all right."
- Canon Discontinuity: No attempt appears to be made at all to tie the plot of this film in with Rocky Horror Picture Show. To be fair, it's presented as a Spiritual Sequel rather than a direct sequel, albeit with some of the same characters from the previous movie.
- Casting Gag: Most of the Expy characters are played by their RHPS equivalents. Cosmo and Nation not only share actors with Rocky Horror's Riff Raff and Magenta, but both sets of characters are incestuous siblings who are in the employ of the villain.
- Possibly Charles Gray as Denton's "foremost sociologist", Judge Oliver Wright. They don't say it. They don't imply it. But they know you're thinking it.
- Celebrity Is Overrated: Partially due to realizing this trope, it doesn't take much for Janet to choose Brad over Farley in the end.
- Character Name Alias: All of Cosmo and Nation's fake last names are those of U.S. presidents.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Farley Flavors.
- Crapsaccharine World: See Stepford Smiler and Eagleland.
- Crowd Song: "Denton U.S.A." Justified in that it's apparently the town's theme song.
- The Danza: Rik Mayall as Rest Home Ricky.
- Dark Reprise: The studio audience are now interned in Dentonvale wearing straitjackets, happily singing "Denton U.S.A.", while their "phony medics" drink champagne and trash the offices.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Farley Flavors' logo features five F's (standing for Farley, Flavors, Fabulous, Fast, and Foods) arranged in a circle, all joined at the tail. It was designed to be reminiscent of a swastika.
- The song "Breakin' Out" plays over scenes of Brad escaping from the asylum. But listen to the words, and it seems to be about another kind of coming out entirely... (This is not surprising, given that it was written when the project was a more direct sequel to Rocky Horror.)
- Eagleland: Denton is striving to be a commercialized embodiment of Type 1. "You'll find happy hearts and smiling faces/And tolerance for the ethnic races/In Denton."
- The Eighties: Very early Eighties, most notably in the new wave and punk stylings of the songs.
- The Eleven O'Clock Number: "Duel Duet".
- Evil Costume Switch: See The Little Black Dress below.
- Evil Twin: Farley Flavors is Brad's long-lost twin.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Duel Duet is just that, a duet with two characters in a verbal duel.
- Expy With regards to the Rocky Horror characters, we have...
- Doctors Cosmo and Nation McKinley for Riff-Raff and Magenta (who were supposed to impersonate doctors in the Rocky Horror Shows His Heels draft)
- Nurse Ansalong for Columbia
- Judge Oliver Wright for the Criminologist
- Farley Flavors for Dr. Frank-N-Furter
- Bert Schnick for Dr. Scott (Bert was Dr. Scott in the Brad and Janet Show draft)
- Fan Nickname: "Shocky."
- Some shadowcasts affectionately refer to this movie as a "thing" and an "abortion".
- Fanservice: Nurse Ansalong, see Panty Shot below.
- Guilty Pleasure
- Hannibal Lecture: Farley tries this on Brad in "Duel Duet". Brad doesn't go along with it.
- Heteronormative Crusader: Janet's father. "Thank God I'm A Man" is one giant "I hate" song, despite being rife with what is, arguably, Hard Gay imagery.
- I Am Song: "Thank God I'm a Man" for Janet's dad is all about his manly man philosophy.
- Incest Is Relative: Drs. Cosmo and Nation Mckinley are brother and sister and a couple.
- Jerk Ass: Pretty much all the characters in this movie apart from Brad.
- Little Black Dress: Provides the title of a song, as Janet gets this as part of her celebrity makeover.
- Old Shame: Richard O'Brien disowned this film.
- Ominous Multiple Screens: Farley's office.
- Opening Chorus: "Denton U.S.A." "Denton, Denton, you've got *clap* no pretention..."
- Panty Shot: Nurse Ansalong, many times through the movie.
- Reality TV: Parodied before its time. Instead of filming real life and using Manipulative Editing to make it more dramatic, they manipulate their actors into behaving in a way suitable for a studio audience.
- The Renfield: Bert Schnick.
- Separated at Birth: Farley and Brad. Their parents died in a car accident and they were adopted by different families.
- Show Within a Show: All of DTV's programming.
- Smug Snake: Ralph Hapschatt, who loves lording his success over his ex-wife Betty. He loses his new girlfriend Macy to Farley — that's the difference between the Smug Snake and the Magnificent Bastard.
- Stepford Suburbia: As a hybrid of a TV station and a town, Denton encourages its residents to be shallow, smiling consumers, or as "Denton U.S.A." puts it, "The acceptable face/Of the human race".
- Studio Audience: Implied to be the entire population of Denton.
- The Other Darrin: Of the four returning characters from Rocky Horror (Brad, Janet, Betty, and Ralph), only Ralph is played by his original actor.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Duel Duet is two of them at the same time, directed at each other.
- The Renfield: Bert Schnick.
- Trust Me, I'm a Doctor: Said by Dr. Cosmo Mc Kinley at the end of the movie trailer, when assuring "You'll be pathetically crazy about Shock Treatment.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Mostly averted (due to anticipating reality televsion by a couple of decades), but the Space Invaders machines hit this pretty hard.
- Viewers Are Geniuses / What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The seagull Vince brandishes threateningly at Betty.
- Villain Song: Farley has the aptly titled "Farley's Song".
- Villain with Good Publicity: Farley Flavors.
- Women's Mysteries: Betty can pick locks and fix cars with just her hair pin.
- You Look Familiar: The major returning cast members from Rocky Horror (Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, and Charles Gray) all play new characters here. Ralph Hapschatt is played by the same actor — he had a minor role in the first one, though.
"The sun never sets on those who ride into it!"