Film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
aka: Rocky Horror Picture Show
Those nylons never had it so good.
I see you shiver with antici...note
"I would like, note if I may, note to take you note on a strange journey..." note The Rocky Horror Picture Show
is a 1975 musical film written by Richard O'Brien and directed by Jim Sharman. It's most famous for still
being played in theatres all over the world once a week, and for having a fanbase that dresses up, throws stuff at the screen, re-enacts the scenes and generally indulges in Audience Participation
. The film is based on The Musical
/Stageshow The Rocky Horror Show
, also by Richard O'Brien (who played Riff Raff both in its original staging and this film).
The story: Brad note
and Janet note
are two lovely, naive virgins from Denton, note U.S.A.
, who get engaged and drive off to tell Dr. Scott note
, their former teacher. However, on the way there, they get a flat tire
and find themselves outside a spooky castle house ("It's probably a hunting lodge for rich weirdos" note
)... and that's where things get really, really, reeaaaaaaaaalllly
They meet the servants, Riff Raff and note
Magenta, and groupie note
Columbia, who live with Dr. Frank-N-Furter... a "Sweet" Transvestite Mad Scientist
, to be specific (from Transsexual, Transylvania). After being stripped down to their underwear, they are invited up to Frank-N-Furter's lab where he unveils his creation — the Brainless Beauty
They are interrupted by biker/ex-delivery boy Eddie note
, Columbia's lover, whom Frank-N-Furter had kept in the deep-freeze. Brad and Janet are then shown to separate rooms, and Frank-N-Furter deceives the two into sleeping with him via both Paper-Thin Disguise
and the fact they're both horny enough. Both victims are horrified afterwards, and Janet wanders the castle till she finds Rocky (cowering from Riff Raff, who's been tormenting him). Realizing she's been cheated on by Brad, she takes an interest in the monster...
At this point, Dr. Scott appears looking for his note
Eddie, and Janet and Rocky are found together. Frank-N-Furter invites them all to dinner note
There is a pseudo-sequel, Shock Treatment
(1981), focusing on the bizarre turns Brad and Janet's lives take upon their return to Denton after their adventure in Rocky Horror
, but it was not as popularly received as its predecessor and is thus both obscure and hard to find. The fact that the makers weren't happy with how it turned out, due to many compromises made during its production
, such as character recastings and a drastically cut budget, doesn't help. (It's also harder to stage as an Audience Participation
show due to a bigger cast of characters.) Although it was released on DVD in 2006.
MTV planned a remake of the film in 2008, without the involvement (or approval) of Richard O'Brien. Unsurprisingly, the attempt was cancelled
. Another remake attempt
went into development in 2012, but also seems to be going nowhere fast.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show contains examples of:
- Accidental Pervert: Columbia is supposed to come across this way. Emphasis on supposed - most plays and the movie just turn her into an outright pervert, with the film's actress deliberately sexing her up and purposefully putting in nipple slips when she could.note
- Adaptation Distillation: Some music was cut from the original show, including a whole song for Brad and a verse or two from other songs. Also, the original character of Rocky had some actual dialogue and personality, and was aware that he was created to be a living sex toy... and hates it.
- Adorkable: Brad.
- An Aesop: Deliberately left ambiguous as whether or not their new-found sluttiness left them worse or better off.
- Affectionate Parody: Twice over: the film itself spoofs horror/sci-fi, and the audience participation grew from the initial fans being familiar enough with it — especially all the dramatic pauses — that they saw opportunities for verbal callbacks to tease the characters.
- All Take and No Give: Frank's very selfish, as Columbia so blatantly points out. His greatest scientific achievement was simply so he could be lauded as a genius (and for a sex toy he could keep all to himself).
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Damn it, Janet!
- Anti Matter: A laser! Made of pure antimatter!note
- Fun fact: the idea of an antimatter laser is completely redundant because photons are their own antiparticles. note
- Anything That Moves: Frank-N-Furter.
- Artificial Human: Rocky note
- Aside Glance: Often, and always intentional.
- When Frank says "How nice!" in the lab.
- And during "Sweet Transvestite," Frank raises an eyebrow at the camera as he says "So you got caught with a flat note how 'bout that?"
- A Storm Is Coming: There's thunder in the background during "Dammit, Janet", and then the Criminologist invokes the trope directly: "It's true, there were dark storm clouds note - heavy, black, and pendulous - towards which they were driving..."
- Attention Whore: Frank. To the point where even accidentally stealing his spotlight causes him to go into a jealous rage (Poor Eddie).
- Audience Participation: The gold standard. The audience at a showing of Rocky Horror will have some sort of response (mostly yelled comments, sometimes actions to match) to virtually every line or action in the film; at this point the cult phenomenon of Rocky Horror is far more about the audience participation than the film itself. Most theaters will give you a bag of items to be used during the movie (most getting thrown).
- Inverted audience participation. Where the cast will make callbacks to the audience's callbacks. For example, there's a callback where people poke fun at Dr. Frank-N-Furter standing at attention by depicting him as a Drill Sergeant Nasty. Rocky will be variously referred to as a Marine through the rest of the film.
- When they tried to stage the musical in the US, of course the audience yelled the callbacks. Apparently, in the first performance, they were studiously ignored until Frank N Furter got to "antici..." "SAY IT!" The actor then snapped back with "bait me, why don't you?", and promptly continued on with the song.
- Furthermore, new callbacks are invented all the time. A Halloween 2010 viewing added "Ten points from Gryffindor!" after Frank admonished Rocky that "That's no way to behave after your first day out!"
- Likewise, after Fight Club, a popular call back following the revelation of Eddie's corpse has been, "HIS NAME WAS ROBERT PAULSON! HIS NAME WAS ROBERT PAULSON!"
- Many older callbacks get updated references but otherwise remain the same. For example, when Riff-Raff shows Brad and Janet the skeleton near the start of the film, it's customary to shout out "SHOW US" and the name of whatever celebrity has most recently died. Bonus points if it's someone people really liked, especially if they had an early or especially tragic death.
- Take Thats are common, usually involving Magenta's name, or dead things. A few:
"DESCRIBE [widely disliked celebrity]!" "A weakling / Weighing 98 pounds..."
"DESCRIBE [said celebrity]'S PERIOD!" "Magenta..."
"SHOW US [recently dead celebrity]!" [Riff Raff reveals a skeleton.]
"WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT [recent film/show/this audience]?" "Could be better."
Some get fired back at the audience
: "WHAT THE FUCK IS AN 'UNT'?"
"THREE FOURTHS OF A CUNT!
...And that's more than you'll ever see!"
- For this reason, it's a good idea to watch the movie once by yourself before you go to a midnight screening—because at the midnight screening, you may not be able to hear any of it. The (extremely loud) audience commentary is not funny unless you've had the opportunity to actually hear the dialogue and music at some point, and in Shadowcasts, it's much better to see what the live-action cast is doing when you have everything memorized.
- On the other hand, in a venue where the film has been running for long enough to develop a crowd of regulars as well as a live shadowcast, the discipline of the audience can be astonishing. It truly does seem like an interactive experience.
- Ax-Crazy: Frank when he sees Eddie stealing attention away from him, and goes to chop him up. With an ax.
- Bad Boss: Frank is sometimes shown yelling hysterically at his servants when they make mistakes (especially towards Riff Raff - he even whips him when he finds out he let Rocky escape).
- Bed Trick: Frank does this to both Brad and Janet, which sends them spiraling into being sex deviants.
- Berserk Button: Though slightly more subtle than most other examples, it is a very, very, VERY bad idea to make Frank jealous. Just seeing Rocky with Janet was enough to drive Frank into a blind fury and chase Janet around the castle. And then there's Eddie who just busts out of the vault with his motorcycle to sing his song.
- Big Bad: Frank N. Furter is at least the closest there is to one at least.
- Big Entrance: Dr. Frank N. Furter's first appearance, during "Sweet Transvestite".
- Bigger Bad: Whomever sent him from Planet Transsexual of the Transylvania Galaxy by default.
- Big "NO!": Dr. Frank N. Furter, right before he is killed. Also Columbia, after she leaves the dining room.
- Black Comedy Cannibalism: This interchange that leads to Brad, Janet, Columbia, and Dr. Scott refusing to eat anymore.
Dr. Scott: We came here to discuss Eddie.
Frank N. Furter: (after threatening Columbia with an electric knife) That's a rather tender subjectnote . Another slice, anyone?
- Black Comedy Rape: The seductions of Brad and Janet are all played completely for laughs.
- Blatant Lies:
- Blank Slate: Rocky in the film, who never says anything and doesn't really do much.
- Bowdlerise: FUSE Network (the so-called "Extreme Network") edits out almost all instances of male-on-male innuendo. The Glee version also had some edits (justified In-Universe, because Mr. Schuester had to make it appropriate for a high school play).
- Book Ends: Both the musical and film open with the song "Science Fiction Double Feature" and close with its reprise.
- In the musical, the first act starts with the wedding of Ralph Hapshatt and Betty Monroe, and ends with the "wedding" of Rocky and Frank.
- Brainless Beauty: Rocky's only got half of a brain.
- Break the Cutie: Janet and Columbia both fit this trope. Brad may as well.
- BSOD Song: Frank gets "I'm Going Home"note as he faces death by anti-matter at the hands of Riff-Raff. Most of the floor show also seems to count.
- Catch Phrase: In the audience participation, "Thank you!", "SAME THING!", "Fuck (noun)!", "ASSHOLE!", "SLUT!", and "Where's your fucking neck?"
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Only a name drop, when Dr. Frank N. Furter says of his newly-finished creation Rocky that "he carries the Charles Atlas seal of approval". Near the end of the movie, it does take quite a number of shots from Riff Raff's "anti-matter laser" to bring down Rocky. In the original musical, the song "I Can Make You A Man" and its reprise were both originally called "Charles Atlas". However, it bears mentioning that the trope is only dubiously in play, since Rocky did not in fact become strong through exercise.
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Considering that "Cheshire Cat" is one of Tim Curry's nicknames, take a wild guess who uses this.
- Clingy Jealous Boy: Frank-N-Furter. Sure, he flirts with nearly everyone. But, if he sees anyone with his beloved Rocky, he unleashes his jealousy-induced rage upon them. Janet Weiss had to find this out the hard way.
- Closed Circle: Heroes driving, flat tire, flat spare tire, rain coming down, thundering, spooky castle, Mad Scientist, critical phase of scientific breakthrough, heroes can't get away and then don't want to get away and then can't get away again, and everything goes horribly wrong. Yup, textbook case . . . naturally, since it's a parody of exactly those kind of stories.
- Cloudcuckooland: The castle.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Rocky in the original play - he's eccentric, but it's implied it's stemming from the fact he's a grown adult/sex toy for a crazed megalomaniac, according to his dialogue with Janet.
- Comic Book Adaptation: This movie had a condensed three-part comic book adaptation that also included a section of popular (at the time) callbacks used in Audience Participation screenings.
- Commedia dell'Arte: Not a direct example of this genre, but most of the characters are decent matches to those stock characters:
- Brad and Janet are the Lovers.
- Eddie makes a passing Arlecchino.
- Columbia, fittingly, is a Colombina.
- Frank-N-Furter has elements of both The Captain (obviously "not from around here," interested in Anything That Moves) and Pantalone (abusive of Eddie, his Arlecchino, hints of a relationship with Columbia.)
- Riff Raff is a dead giveaway as the Pulcinella, hunchback and all.
- The Criminologist is perfect as the Doctor.
- The others are a bit of a stretch - presumably Rocky as the Pierrot, Magenta as the Brighella, and Dr. Scott as the Tartaglia.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Janet note
- Covert Pervert: All of Columbia's nipple-slips were done intentionally by Nell Campbell.note
- Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: On this "late November evening", Brad and Janet are found listening to President Nixon's resignation speech... which was delivered in August.
- Creating Life: The whole point of Frank's experiment is to do this.
- Creepy Monotone: Riff Raff and Magenta.
- Cut Song: "Once in a While," featured in the stageshow. For the film the song was to have been sung by Brad after his... erm... encounter with Frank. Footage was shot for it but left out of the film; a "reconstruction" using the footage and other bits from the movie has appeared as an extra feature on every home release of the film since the 1995 LaserDisc edition.
- To a lesser extent, the American print of the film had the exposition song "Super Heroes" all but cut out except for the final verse (the Criminologist's "And crawling..." speech). You can optionally restore it in the DVD release.
- To an even lesser extent, verses were removed from "Over at the Frankenstein Place" and "The Sword of Damocles." These were apparently never even shot.
- Dance Sensation: "Let's do the Time Warp again!" It's interesting to note that Richard O'Brien has said that he wrote that song as a bit of a parody of a Dance Sensation.
- Dark Reprise: Of Science Fiction Double Feature at the end.
- Dead Man's Chest
- Deadpan Snarker: Riff Raff, as some sort of defense mechanism for having his work stolen by Frank-n-Furter. Also, any audience member familiar enough with the show to use the callbacks will become this during a viewing by default.
- Depraved Bisexual: Frank.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Brad, hilariously, early in the film.
Brad: This is my fiancee.
(Frank looks at Brad.)
Brad: Janet Veiss.note
Brad: (clears throat.) Weiss.note
- The Dog Bites Back: Magenta betrays Frank after realizing that he has no plans to go back to Transsexual anytime soon, while Riff Raff betrays him because he was jealous of Frank for taking all the credit for making Rocky, even though HE did most of the work.
- Don't Explain the Joke: A recent Broadway revival had Dick Cavett as the Narrator, and would sometimes interrupt the show to discuss some of the audience riffs, such as the "describe your balls!" directed at him. In this case, Cavett was hilarious.
- Dull Surprise: During "Dammit Janet", Riff-Raff, Columbia and Magenta deadpan their chorus deliberately. (eg, "Oh, Brad.")
- Dumb Blonde: Rocky, thanks to only having half a brain. He can't even speak properly in the film. In the musical, he's more aware of it, but unfortunately can't do much about his situation.
- Dissonant Serenity: Out of context, Frank's song, "I'm Going Home" is a beautiful and melancholy song. In context? It's really fucking eerie.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Kids, don't have lots of sex, or you might end up in a fabulous musical. It's ultimately left up to the audience if Brad and Janet embracing their desires has left them broken. (This is less ambiguous if one accepts Shock Treatment as canon, as they definitely start that film as broken, and it is only over the course of that film that they relearn how to be functional people.)
- Downer Ending: Columbia, Frank, and Rocky are dead, Janet and Brad are shaken at least and traumatized at the worst, and by the way, we're all a bunch of insects adrift in a meaningless void.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- During "Dammit Janet", you can see Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Tim Curry, and Little Nell in the church.
- Most of the wedding guests are clearly recognisable as the Transylvanian party guests at the Frankenstein Place. Particularly obvious are Henry Woolf (who plays the official wedding photographer) and Christopher Biggins (clearly seen running at the front of the pack seeing off Ralph and Betty's car). While this was fully intended to be clever, it was also done to reduce costs.
- The Eleven O'Clock Number: Frank sings about how well-meaning and misunderstood he is.
- Escape from the Crazy Place: Good luck with that plan, Brad and Janet.
- Even Evil Has Standards: This is ostensibly the reason Riff Raff and Magenta turn on Frank — "Your mission is a failure/Your lifestyle's too extreme..."
- Even the Guys Want Him Frank and Rocky.
- Everyone Is Bi: Except for Riff, Dr. Scott, and the Criminologist, every major character has at least one heterosexual and one homosexual encounter in the film or in the Backstory, though in some cases this is indicated only briefly.
- Originally, while intoxicated, Richard O'Brien had come up with the idea that while Frank was out chasing down Rocky, Riff would get some action with Brad. Upon coming to his senses after the filming of this scene, Richard O'Brien demanded it to be cut and never mentioned.
- And Riff-Raff becomes furious when he remarks that Rocky didn't like him, although he seems fairly calm during the rest of the scene. One could reasonably infer that he had feelings for Rocky. Of course, there's that whole Brother-Sister Incest going on with Riff-Raff to begin with...
- As well as the subtext from the original play (cut for the movie) that the process of creating and animating Rocky was almost entirely Riff Raff's work, and Frank was stealing both the credit for and the fruits of Riff's labor.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Riff Raff, both his singing and speaking voices.
- Failure Hero: Brad and Janet. If the opening credits hadn't told you they were "a hero" and "a heroine," you'd never guess.
- Fangirl: Columbia, for Frank, then for Eddie then for Frank again...I think.
- Fiery Redhead: Magenta some of the time, mostly when she calls Frank out on his Transylvania bullshit.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Janet bandages Rocky's wounds with strips from her own slip. Afterward, they do more than just kiss.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main Transylvanians. Frank is Choleric, Riff is Melancholic, Magenta is Phlegmatic, and Columbia is Sanguine.
- French Maid: Magenta.
- Funny Background Event: Take a look at Frank's expression as Janet sings "God bless Lili St. Cyr"
- Gainax Ending: It's an understatement to say the film is weird from the start, but around the Floor Show things go straight to Eleven, as a completely out-of-nowhere (even for Rocky Horror) burlesque cross-dressing number descends into random swimming, and then it's revealed Frank-n-Furter, Riff-Raff, and Magenta are all aliens from Planet Transsexual in the Galaxy of Transylvania, the latter who kill Frank-n-Furter and leave Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott in the dust as the mansion takes off into space. The Criminologist reaffirms that we're just insects adrift in a meaningless void of time and space, and the movie ends.
- Genius Cripple: Dr. Scott.
- Genre Savvy: Within moments of being brought to life, Rocky is already singing about how he suspects his story will end. He's right.
- Give My Regards in the Next World: Riff Raff tells Dr. Frank N. Furter before he kills him, "Say goodbye to all of thisnote ...and hellonote to oblivion.note "
- Given Name Reveal:
- Glove Snap: Twice: "I snap my glove and scare myself!" and "I snap my glove and don't scare myself!"
- Groin Attack: Janet to Frank N. Furter in "Planet Schmanet Janet".
- The Hedonist: Guess who! Brad and Janet, after their sexcapades with Dr. Frank-n-Furter.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Rocky, who is beautiful, strong, and innocent... in a "I was made just five seconds ago" and Dumb Muscle sort of way.
- Hair Trigger Sound Effect: despite a number of common group shout outs, nothing approaches this trope quite like Brad (ASSHOLE!) and Janet (SLUT).
- Herr Doctor: Dr. Scott.
- "Go on, Dr. Scott. Or, should I say, Dr. Von Scott!"note
- Interestingly enough, Dr. Frank N. Furter himself originally had a German accent in the early days of the stage show. For reasons unknown, the idea was quickly dropped.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal:
Magenta: "You killed them! But I thought you liked them. They liked you."
Riffraff: "They didn't like me! They NEVER liked me!!
- Historical In-Joke: Almost immediately after Goebbels surrendered to the Russian Army, the US and Soviet governments began smuggling Nazi scientists out of the country for their knowledge about rocketry and launched missile weapons. Werner von Braun is one of the most famous examples. The American plan to recruit former Nazi scientists was called Operation Paperclip. This is why Frank calls Dr. Scott out on his accent.
- Human Aliens: Frank, Magenta, Riff Raff, and all the other Transylvanians look like human beings.
- I Ate WHAT?: The Reveal of Eddie's corpse, showing the group had been snacking on him the entire time.
- I Can Explain: Frank says this right before singing his final song. Too bad Riff Raff and Magenta aren't convinced of his story. They shoot him anyway.
- And "I'm Going Home" doesn't explain a damn thing.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: FRAAAANK-FURT-EEEEER!. A rare use of this line by two men who are not in any position to threaten Frank-n-Furter at all.
- The Igor: Riff Raff.
- "I Am" Song/"I Want" Song: Sweet Transvestite can count for both. Frank's describing himself as a sweet transvestite, yet he's also asking (or demanding because he never gave them the option) Brad and Janet to "stay for the night."
- I'm a Humanitarian: Meat Loaf again?
- "HE'S STILL GOOD!"
- His name is Robert Paulson!
- You can't refreeze meatloaf, it just goes bad.
- Incest Subtext: Riff Raff and Magenta give a strong impression of this.note
- Incoming Ham: "You're lucky, he's lucky, I'm lucky, WE'RE ALL LUCKY!!!"note
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The majority of the callbacks.
- Intermission: Being a musical, most productions of the stage show are two acts with a short intermission. (See Book Ends above.)
- It's All About Me: It becomes extremely clear Frank is an attention whore who only cares about people if they A) pay attention to him, or B) are of some use to him. And even then... in the musical, when Columbia takes the first anti-matter shot for Frank...
Frank-n-Furter: You did that for me...?
[Columbia nods yes.]
Frank-n-Furter: Stupid bitch. note
- I Want My Mommy: Brad Majors in "The Floor Show": "It's beyond me/Help me, Mommy!"
- Large Ham: Several, with a lot of Curry.
- "A laser! Made of pure antimatter!"
- There's also Long Pig, but that's another story...
- A Light in the Distance: "There's a light... over at the Frankenstein place."
- Long Runner: It entered the midnight circuit in 1976 and has never been officially withdrawn from theaters, making it the longest theatrical release in film history.
- Love Triangle: It's implied that one of these may have happened involving Frank, Eddie and Columbia.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The Sword of Damocles and Eddie's Teddy are pretty upbeat.
- Lyric Swap: Not present on most prints, but Science Fiction - Double Feature Reprise at the end of the film swaps the classic SF movie lyrics from the title sequence tune for lyrics that summarize the movie.
- Mad Love: Columbia is hopelessly devoted to Frank despite the fact that he considers her to be nothing more than his "groupie".
- Of course, this is later subverted when Columbia (after witnessing Frank brutally murder Eddie, another man she loved deeply) realizes that Frank doesn't love her back at all and berates him for being such a heartless jerk.
- "You're like a sponge! All ya do is take take take!"
- But she's back supporting him a scene later.
- Well, she didn't really have a choice.
- Mad Scientist.
- Manipulative Bastard: Frank's very good at convincing people to sleep with him...
- He is, after all, "a man of little moralsnote ... and some persuasionnote ."
- The Master: Frank.
- Mind Screw: This is a weird one, folks.
- Mind Screwdriver: The original play, The Rocky Horrror Show, paces out its exposition a little more neatly.
- Mocking Sing-Song: In the Audience Participation album for this movie, a member of the audience goes "nya nya nya nya nya" after Frank N. Furter uses the "sonic transducer" to freeze Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott so that they couldn't move their feet (or wheels)note in the laboratory.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Janet and Rocky upon Frank N. Furter's discovering them. Justified in that they were surrounded by people at the time.
- The Musical
- Mysterious Middle Initial: The "N" in Frank N Furter. "Frank" is his first name and "Furter" is his last name. "N" is his middle initial and it's never revealed what it stands for, or even if it stands for anything at all.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Let's just say who's coming to dinner is more than expected.
- "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Frank, sleeping with Brad and Janet.
- Not So Different: Richard O'Brien has stated that Riff Raff and Frank are very similar to one another. In fact, the only real differences between the two is that Frank is more outgoing and flamboyant while Riff is more reserved and introverted. That...and Riff is less likely to seduce people. But, both are intelligent, scheming, easily jealous, and willing to kill others in blind rage.
- Off Model: The drawings in the comic book adaption look very poor, and due to this, the characters look off model at some points.
- The Paid-For Harem: The party-goers (or unconventional conventionists) who hang around Frank's parties.
- Pietà Plagiarism/Touch of the Monster: Rocky and Frank-N-Furter, before Rocky goes into rage mode.note
- Pinball Protagonist: The only thing of note that the protagonists do is get laid and survive the evening.
- The film is very much about how Brad and Janet are either sexually liberated or corrupted.
- Precision F-Strike: "A mental mindfuck can be nice!"
- Pun: The Sweet Transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania.note
- Puny Earthlings: Frank views himself as superior to the human protagonists.
- Punny Name:
- Dr. Frank-N-Furter, especially considering the pre-Time Warp appetizers. Lampshaded with an Incredibly Lame Pun when the characters call him a "hot dog" during "Planet Schmanet Janet".
- Janet Weiss's name is a double Stealth Pun, since it's a German name which is pronounced much like the English "vice" and means "white" no less, a traditional virgin color. She's a virgin, and spends most of the movie wandering around in white underwear.
- Pygmalion Plot: Frank and Rocky.
- Raised Lighter Tribute: Done during Audience Participation in the song "Over At The Frankenstein Place", with the cue being "There's a light..."
- Really Gets Around: By the time all is said and done, Frank has slept with over half of the main characters.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Columbia gives one to Frank N. Furter, telling how he's All Take and No Give, right before she's Taken for Granite.
- Rocky Roll Call: Trope Namer. See Say My Name, below.
- Rule 34: If you're surprised by this one, you really need to watch the movie.
- Say My Name:
- note "Janet!" "Dr. Scott!" "Janet!" "Brad!" "Rocky!" Three times. Audiences like to scream "BULLWINKLE!" or "AUDIENCE!"note after. note
- "YOU'D BETTER NOT TRY TO HURT HERRRR, FRANK FURTER!" Continued somewhat by Riff-Raff in the ending, where he dramatically belts out Frank's name as he comes to kill him.
- Screaming Woman: Columbia after Frank's death. Riff Raff, either startled or annoyed, immediately kills her too.
- Seemingly Wholesome '50s Girl: Janet, oh, poor Janet. Columbia may have been this before she met Frank and Eddie.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains
- Sex Is Liberation: Played with. It is unclear if being freed from their inhibitions has helped or hurt the human characters.
- Shout-Out: To various Hammer Horror films as well as film companies and 1930s-50s sci-fi/horror efforts.
- In fact, the opening song "Science Fiction Double Feature" is built around this. The intro was supposed to contain film snippets of the relevant songs, but it would have cost a fortune in royalties. The shout-outs are, in order:
- To Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- And to the painting American Gothic.
- Magenta sports the infamous Bride of Frankenstein beehive hairdo near the end of the film.
- The disembodied lips were inspired by Man Ray's painting A l'heure de l'observatoire, les Amoureux ("Observatory Time, The Lovers").
- Rocky is called "a triumph of [Frank's] will". Triumph of the Will is a Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl.
- "Wound up like an E (or first string)/When we made it, did you hear a bell ring?" in "Planet, Schmanet Janet" appears to be a reference to Chuck Berry's song "Johnny B. Goode" which contains the line "He could play the guitar just like a-ringing a bell."
- The black stockings and garters everyone ends up in by the end of the film may be a reference to Cabaret.
- Columbia's daybed scenes evoke similar ones from the once-notorious 1956 film Baby Doll.
- Slasher Smile: Again, Frank. Been nice knowing ya, Eddie.
- Slouch of Villainy: Dr. Frank-N-Furter during the 3rd verse of "Sweet Transvestite." It's also found on the 25th-anniversary movie poster.
- Smoking Hot Sex:
- Brad, after getting laid by Frank in the movie. note
- Janet and Rocky.
- And even Magenta and Columbia, although whether or not they actually had sex is ambiguous.
- Sound-Only Death: We don't see what happens to Eddie... but we sure do hear his screams and Frank's pick-axe hacking him to pieces.
- Stealth Pun: What's for dinner? Meatloaf, again.note
- Stockholm Syndrome: Columbia and possibly Rocky, although Rocky especially might instead be Too Dumb to Live. Even after Frank discards her for Eddie and then Rocky, kills her boyfriend and serves him for dinner, Columbia is still devoted to Frank. The final scenes reveal that Rocky cares deeply for Frank, even though (or maybe because) he chains him up in their 'bridal suite' and he has half of Eddy's brain.
- Tablecloth Yank: Frank N. Furter does this after the song "Eddie's Teddy" to reveal Eddie's unfortunate fate.
- Tag Line: From the trailer: "Let there be... LIPS."
- Taken for Granite: The "Medusa" switch that's conveniently installed on Rocky's life-bringer machine thing. It also has a reversal switch, so.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Dr. Scott is implied to be one by Frank.
Frank: Go on, Dr. Scott. Or should I say... Doctor Von Scott!note
Brad: Just what exactly are you implying?!note
- Oddly enough, in the original stage show, Frank himself had a stereotypical German accent (Most likely to go with the classic Mad Scientist genre). However, this was quickly dropped and Frank ended up with the smooth British accent we all know and love today.
- Too Dumb to Live: Brad and Janet make some really stupid mistakes throughout the film. There's a reason why their call-and-response names are "Asshole" and "Slut"...
- Too Funny to Be Evil: The source of Frank-N-Furter's Misaimed Fandom.
- 24 Hour Party People: How do those party guests know Frank, anyway? They're unconventional conventionists.note
- He's a well-known scientist back on Transsexual, Transylvania. Plus, one of the scrapped sequels (Revenge Of The Old Queen) revealed that he's the prince of Transsexual.
- Up to Eleven: Riff declares Frank's lifestyle "too extreme", suggesting that he's a bit of a weirdo even by Transylvanian standards, where incest and open promiscuity are apparently common.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Guess.note
- Villainous Lament: Frank right before Riff Raff zaps him.
- Villain Song: "Sweet Transvestite".
- Villains Want Mercy: Frank-N-Furter tries to desperately to get Riff Raff and Magenta to take pity on him in the ending. It doesn't work, and Riff Raff kills him.
- Riff even asks for it verbatim when Frank is whipping him in the elevator.note
- Riff Raff and Magenta watching Frank seduce Janet, then Brad.
- Columbia and Magenta watching Janet seduce Rocky.
- We Have Been Researching Phlebotinum For Years:
Dr. Scott: This sonic transducer... it is, I suppose, some kind of audio-vibratory-physio-molecular transport device?
Brad: You mean...?!note
Dr. Scott: Yes, Brad, it's something we ourselves have been working on for quite some time.note But it seems our friend here has found a means of perfecting it.note A device which is capable of breaking down solid matternote and projecting it note through space... note and who knows, perhaps even time note itself!note