Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Go To

What is so damn important about Brad and Janet?
It's almost explicit that Frank and company caused their blowout to trap them there. No reason, implicit or explicit, is ever given for this. In fact, Riff Raff, who was almost certainly involved, seems downright irritated by their presence. Why the hell did they lure them in there?
  • Obviously because they're innocents — who doesn't love corrupting the innocent?
  • These are aliens from a different plant where the societal norms didn't allow for the type of sexual experimentation Frank wanted to conduct, he was sent there for a "mission" but used it as his sexual playground trying each of the "flavors" of sexual appetites our society had for his to choose from (thus the different types of people, slutty girl, sex drugs rock and roll guy, virgin man/woman, then ultimate masculine rocky).
  • Advertisement:
  • 'Cause Dr. Frankenfurter was horny and fed up with waiting for Rocky, so he decided he needed some company. And who better than a couple that was just engaged, at least one of them bisexual (in denial?)?
  • This is Rocky Horror we're talking about. It goes better if you don't even try to make sense of it.
  • It was all Frank's idea, and he did it for the lulz. What livens up a party more than getting a couple squares to revolutionize their perceptions of sexuality? Frank probably forced Riff Raff to get Brad and Janet there, and Riff Raff's annoyance about this is one of many contributing factors towards his rebellion against Frank.
    • Er, this troper has never seen reason to believe Riff Raff, Frank N Furter, or anyone at the castle, had anything to do with Brad & Janet's car breaking down. Of course, she's only seen the movie, and not the play... so...
      • " 'bout that." The look he gives the camera says it all.
      • "But maybe the rain, isn't really to blame" - Frank N Furter, on Brad and Janet's car flat during the "Sweet Transvestite" song.
      • Watch the movie again: Riff and Frank are at the wedding at the start!
      • This even gets referenced in one of the callbacks. "I see something the virgins don't!"
      • Not to mention the motorcyclist at the beginning was clearly a Transylvanian (observe the motorcycles parked near the front door) and he/she/it must have been the one to put up the Dead End sign ("Then where did that motorcyclist come from?")
    • Advertisement:
    • There's also the way he knew the problem was a flat tire before they told him.
      • This and "How 'bout that" are better explained as Genre Savvy. If you're a mad scientist and you're performing a scientific breakthrough at a creepy castle in a thunderstorm, you can expect an innocent hero to suffer a burst tire and show up at your doorstep.
  • Seeing as we never really get to know much about how Transylvanians think, it might just be that they're doing what is considered 'culturally polite', although, it seems Riff Raff and Magenta disagree by the end... so, maybe, it's Frank's twisted take on societal norms?
    • Uh, but, Brad has to back up to cause the tire damage, are we also now suggesting that Frank, and Riff Raff are precognitive?
      • The road was blocked, which is why Brad had to back up. Hence, you only need to add the roadblock to the plan to make it work.
  • Maybe Frank wasn't after Brad and Janet specifically; he just leaves sharp things on the road (or has a Tire Exploder Ray) in order to get new playthings from time to time.
  • He wanted witnesses. I mean, it's hard enough for a person who isn't as self-absorbed and show-offy as him not to want as many people as possible to see him creating life. And on the side, he also thought they were both kinda hot and wanted to see what might come of it.
  • My opinion? He eventually wanted Rocky to be full-brained. Brad and Janet were just a repeat of the Eddie and Columbia incident, albeit it didn't work out right.
    • I don't think he'd want Rocky to be full-brained. If Rocky was full-brained, then he'd know of "[Franks'] plan", which is presumably to use Rocky as a living sex toy, and with the knowledge that his entire life is just to make love to a crazed alien transvestite and nothing more, I'm pretty Frank knew that Rocky'd get pissed. I think Frank just wanted some new partners to add to the gang of misfits, as I assume something very similar occured to Columbia and Eddie (Except on a motorbike, hehe).
    • Stage Rocky really IS aware of these things, though; he has much more personality and what seems like full awareness of his situation despite being "half-brained". So in that scenario, this theory could work.
  • It is quite possible that the minister of the wedding and his assistants knew what was going on between Brad and Janet and where they planned to go, and merely diverted them.
  • Mac Phisto read a fanfic where Ralph & Betty were the original targets (which is why they were at the wedding in-disguise), but after witnessing Brad proclaim his love for Janet, they changed their minds in wanting someone even more "innocent".
    • Is the theory here that Riff Raff and Magenta used mind control to convince Brad and Janet to drive to Dr. Scott's house, which happens to be conveniently located on the same road as the castle, or that they move the castle to pick up new victims?
    • The only problem with setting up Brad and Janet would be that it would have already been known that they were affiliated with Dr. Scott, except when he arrives at the castle later, they all express surprise that they knew him. Riff Raff even slips up and asks "You know this earthling?"
  • Right before they come to the road block that forces Brad to back up and blow out the tire, a motorcyclist (who is implied to be a Transylvanian,I think, since they all appeared to have arrived on motorcycle) comes whipping by them coming from the direction that is blocked off. Janet, as I recall, even wonders where the motorcyclist could have come from if the road was blocked off. Frank's castle was the only civilization for miles. It was a trap. Probably not for Brad and Janet in particular, and they may not have been the first victims of it.
    • Putting up a road closed sign may cause someone to back up, but it doesn't cause a burst tire. Even if the cyclist threw something sharp on the ground, the odds of Brad running over it would have been slim. This would be such a low-percentage plan that it's not a likely explanation (especially as it relies on a damaged spare tire which the Translyvanians couldn't have known about). And we have no evidence that Brad or Janet saw a tire-puncturing device on the ground when they got out of the car. Sometimes a coincidence is just a coincidence.
    • You seem to be under the impression that Rocky Horror is some gritty, sensible thriller, rather than the silly, faintly ridiculous film it is, and as such are posting on all the points about Frank being responsible. Frank all but admits to doing it, and Riff Raff and the others are at the wedding. The clear implication is that there is a plan there, to lure somebody in. Are we ever told the specifics of the plan? No. Are we ever given details? No. But are we given hints (and sometimes outright statements) that there was something more afoot, and with the sort of the movie/show Rocky Horror is, you can assume there was something there.
  • Nothing is important about them exactly - Frank's just a sociopath who enjoys taking young couples and turning them into playthings. He took his minions to a local wedding hoping to find some young love to ruin for his own amusement, and found it in Brad and Janet. Luring them to the castle was just closing the trap around them. The fact that Brad knows Dr. Scott is a total coincidence - which is why Frank flips out when he learns they know each other: he didn't plan on it, when he planned almost everything else about the evening.

Who is the dope Columbia loves?

She says "The only thing that gives me hope is my love for a certain dope." At that point, Eddy is dead, she's no longer a Franky fan, and she never really seemed to have a thing for Rocky, so who is she talking about?

  • Maybe Magenta? They seem to have something going on between them during Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me. Or maybe by dope she means drugs.
  • I always thought the dope was Frank, in an "I want to hate you, but I can't" kind of way.
  • I think it mentions in the Fridge Horror entry for this that they were controlled by Frank for this particular song. So, I think that "But it was over when he had the plan/To start working on a muscle man" is Columbia almost breaking this control, then "Now the only thing that gives me hope/Is my love of a certain dope" is Frank gaining control again and making her flatter him.
  • She's referring to Eddie. Her lyrics in Rose Tint My World talk about how she was once Frank's devoted groupie/lover before he dumped her for Eddie and she ended up falling in love with Eddie...though she still was extremely devoted to Frank. Then, when Frank (well, mostly Riff Raff, but still) started working on Rocky, Frank tossed Eddie aside (literally, into the freezer...and stole half of his brain too) and Columbia started to realize that Eddie was the one that loved her and that she lost him to Frank who really didn't give that much of a damn about her either way. She's basically singing about how she viewed the world through "rose tinted glasses" (hence the title of the song) and now that the metaphorical glasses have shattered, all that's left of her optimism and joy is her love for Eddie.
    • Likewise, Rocky's verse is about how he cannot control his sexual urges, Brad's verse is about his insecurities about his newfound sexuality, and Janet's verse is about how Frank's seductive nature has taken control of her and caused her to embrace her lust.
  • It always seemed to me that she meant dope as in...dope. Weed. Marijuana. Her drugs are the only refuge she feels she has left to her in her depression. The idea of the "dope" being a person has never even occurred to me until I read this JBM.
    • Agreed, especially since, when the movie was made Colombian marijuana was considered some of the most potent. One of the audience lines was:
      Audience: What's your favorite color?
      Frank: Magenta!
      Audience: What's your favorite reefer?
      Frank: Columbia!
      • I always believed that she used a name (misspelled though it was) as an homage to the "certain dope" she loved.
    • In at least some versions of the play, Columbia is on drugs. Before I saw the movie, I was familiar with the soundtrack recorded by some theatre company that added in bits where she was obviously inhaling something, and instead of taking a level in badass by confronting Frank before being Medusa'd, she had a section where she just flailed around while high for a bit before presumably passing out. If you don't want to take that as canonical, you could always just interpret the line as a metaphor for being "addicted" to the decadent lifestyle she has in the castle.
  • Word of Saint Paul: Nell Campbell's belief is that the dope is Eddie, as her previous song says.
    • Is everyone forgetting the scene where Dr. Scott (Nazi!) finds the bowl with all the (Look Mommy, this house has... ) ROACHES?!?!?!?!?! (A "roach" is the tail end of a mary juana cigarette)

Riff Raff's disappearing hump
Where did Riff Raff's hump go when he reverted to his native uniform? Was it fake the whole time he was dressed as a butler?
  • This troper assumed the hump was meant to be fake in cannon, as a part of the human "costume" he was wearing.
  • "What hump?"

Why is Shock Treatment considered an "unofficial" sequel?
It had some of the same characters (albeit played by different actors), some of the same actors (albeit playing different characters), the same writer, same director, and same studio
  • Honestly? Because it sucked. The story bore little resemblance to the original Rocky Horror, was very poorly received, and was significantly different from the sequel that was originally planned (involving Frank's mother coming to earth or taking a spaceship to the planet Transsexual).
    • Shock Treatment isn't considered a true sequel simply because the story has nothing to do with Rocky. That's it, plain and simple. And the story you're talking about is the plot of Revenge of the Old Queen, which would have been the third in the series, but never ended up being made.

Why do Brad and Janet never fight androids?
Well, if you use the term "android" loosely, I guess you could say Frank, Riff, and Magenta are androids because "andro" means man... since they're from a different planet and not technically human, I guess this could count as androids? Also, Rocky, since he was built and not born, is somewhat of an android himself, although he doesn't really fight Brad or Janet.
  • Perhaps Rocky is a Dragonball Z style android. And he fights with his penis.
  • I figured that the lyrics referred to two different sci-fi movies (androids fighting, Brad and Janet) thrown in with the other movie references.
    • That's basically all it is, a reference to a movie with two other protagonists named Brad and Janet. That song's basically one long stream of references.
  • I always assumed it was "See androids fighting. Brad and Janet."
  • Richard O'Brien wrote the song Science Fiction/Double Feature before he had the story worked out. "I'd written Science Fiction/Double Feature without a musical in mind, but it has the line: "See androids fighting Brad and Janet." Those names seemed to exemplify a clean-cut, boy-girl relationship."

Magenta's "Time Warp" verse
In the original play, she sings the whole verse by herself. Why does Riff get half her lines in the movie version? It's the same actors, so you would think they would keep it the same.
  • Well, Magenta's actor sings Science Fiction in the play version, but that's Richard O'Brien's voice in the film version, as well. Perhaps Richard O'Brien wanted to showcase his voice more, or someone involved in production wanted to tone down Magenta's role since she has the least plot influence of any character.
    • It might very well be because Patricia Quinn was high or drunk through most of production, and boy, does it show. Her performance on both the original cast album and in the occasional bootlegs of her return to the role in the 90s is far perkier and less spaced-out.

How do Eddie and Rocky manage to function properly with only half a brain?
  • It is possible to survive while missing large parts of ones brain, just with severely impaired functioning (depending on which part is missing.) I thought they actually made it pretty plausible to, since Rocky is capable of only basic functioning and has no personality where as Eddy seems to have just a personality (he seemed kind of like a singing, dancing zombie) but not even enough actual presence of mind to know where he is, what's going on around him or how to react to it...or maybe I read too much into Eddies one and only scene.
  • I'm fairly sure that it isn't literally half of a brain. Maybe Rocky got some movement, sexual, and very few language parts of the brain, while Eddie still kept most of it. I mean, most of the song "Hot Patootie" Eddie seems to just be miming what he used to do without really having any realization of what's going on, similar to Rocky in "Sword of Damocles".
  • A head isn't able to stay alive without a heart or lungs, and yet we have multiple old horror movies present us with that exact scenario of a talking, disembodied head. Hell, Frankenstein did it too by having a full-on brain transplant, despite the fact that the brain in question was pickled and had been deprived of oxygen for God knows how many years. Rocky Horror is an intentional send up of those old horror movie tropes which involved fantasy science with ridiculous notions like surviving with "half a brain."
  • A person can survive with half a brain, provided "half a brain" is only one of the two lobes. Of course, this works much better if the person is a child and not a grown man, but still...
  • Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you the real life Man Who Lived with Almost No Brain.

The Clock Chimes Seven Times...
But the clock reads 6 o'clock!?(Just before the Time Warp starts.)

Why doesn't Brad just leave Dr. Scott in the dining room?
When Frank is chasing Janet (after striking her), instead of running to help her, he grabs Dr. Scott and starts pushing him. If he'd left him behind, I'm pretty sure he could have caught up and tackled Frank in a matter of seconds. Doesn't make much sense to me, other than the obvious reason: he's an asshole.
  • Maybe he thought something terrible would happen to Dr. Scott if he was left there, so he wanted a chance to try and save them both. However, Dr. Scott is perfectly capable of moving around on his own, so at the very least Brad is an asshole for patronizing him.
  • I always thought it was foreshadowing Brad's emotional breakdown over his new-found bisexuality, specifically the "help me" line of Rose Tint My World. It felt like he was instinctively dependent on having his teacher and close friend near in such a high strung situation now that his world was shaken up. And he's an asshole, in the cares more about his feelings than another's kind of way, which had been showcased throughout the whole movie.
    Janet: Brad, let's just leave.
    Brad: Now, Janet, let's just ask for a phone.
Dr Frank-N-Furter is from a place where everypony is a transvestite?

"Dr. X will build a creature"
The film Dr. X doesn't contain a creature, unless you count the living body parts, and Dr. X wasn't responsible for those. Considering how accurate "Science Fiction Double Feature" is otherwise, this rather glaring inaccuracy is inexplicable.
  • Isn't the lyric "Dr. F" as in Frank-N-Furter?
    • No, it is, in fact, "Dr. X".
    • Yes, but the Humphrey Bogart 1939 movie The Return of Dr. X does involve the Bogey's character as a human resurrected as an Undead creature. Then again, the good Dr. doesn't build himself. So my best guess is O'Brien got confused.
  • I always figured it used "X" as a placeholder, like "insert your own mad, god-playing doctor here." After all, Frankenstein wasn't the only doctor to build a creature.

How did Dr. Scott get to the house?
This bugs me, how did Dr. Scott get to the house during the rain even though we see on a map that his home is serval miles away from the castle. Did he drive himself or is there an assistant we don't see poking around the grounds?
  • I always imagined he had a driver.

How did the Transylvanians get into the lab
The commentary on the DVD even discusses this. There is no entrance to the lab other than the lift, apart from the door leading into Frank's bedroom. When Scott enters he literally smashes through the wall.
  • Frank does chase Janet up the stairs and they both end up in the lab at the same time that Brad and Dr. Scott arrive in the elevator, so apparently there is a door somewhere. Dr. Scott smashing through the wall earlier may have just been for comedic effect.
    • Frank and Janet enter the lab through the hole in the wall that Dr. Scott made previously though. So the Transylvanians' entry is still a mystery

How did the Transylvanians get to earth?
Frank has invented space travel and come down to earth on a mission. Doesn't explain how all his countrymen that he meets for the first time during the film came to be there.
  • In the script for Revenge of the Old Queen, the Transylvanians had a network of teleporters on Earth disguised as showers in various Holiday Inns, including one in Denton.
How did Eddie communicate with Dr. Scott?
Eddie sent Scott a note written in blood. The logical assumption is, although not a hundred percent certain, that he sent it after his head was hacked open... and yet he was kept in a freezer during that time.

Who knew Columbia first?
Just something I'd be interested to know. She speaks of a man in a pick-up truck. Was that Frank taking her into his mansion where she brought Eddie with her, or was it Eddie who later introduced her to Frank? Or did she not even know Eddie yet at that time?
  • Maybe she got kidnapped by Frank when she was a child?
    • I don't think so. In the song "Time Wrap", Columbia sings about Eddie. If you pay attention, she sings about a guy with a pick up truck, while Eddie sings in "Hot Patootie" that he got in the back seat of his car with a girl who was into him: "I used to go for a ride with a chick who'd go / (...) You climbed in the back seat, you really had a good time". So I would say that Columbia and Eddie met each other first, and then they got caught in the trap that Frank left on the road. The same trap that caught Brad and Janet.

What is the relationship between Dr. Scott, Frank, and Eddie?
Frank says of Eddie: "my children turn on me... Rocky's behaving just the way Eddie did". Metaphorically this might identify Eddie as one of Frank's creations. But we know Eddie is Dr. Scott's nephew, and we hear details of Eddie's early childhood. What is the relationship between Dr. Scott and Frank? Is Eddie merely some guy that Frank randomly stumbled across? Does removing half of Eddie's brain make him one of Frank's children?
  • anyone who Frank seduces becomes one of his children as they would all willing be back with Frank if Frank wanted them, except for Rocky and Eddie, Eddie is the only one who spurned Frank for Columbia and that's why Frank used his brain and put him in deep freeze, Rocky spurned Frank for Janet. Thus the two who "turned" on him.

Why did Frank serve dinner after everyone went to bed?
They were all up again anyway, but still...
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the original stage play, there is no dinner scene. "Eddie's Teddy" begins almost as soon as Dr. Scott enters the castle.
    • Word of God mentions in the commentary that Frank gives everybody random, inappropriate cutlery and glasses because he's trying to imitate an Earth dinner party but has no idea how to do it. Maybe that's the same reason he does it at night.

How does the Criminologist know that Magenta and Columbia were spying on Janet and Rocky?
The Criminologist is telling the story based on police statements from Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott, Columbia's dead and Magenta is back on the moon drenched shores of her beloved planet. So how would he get that information?
  • Maybe Columbia didn't die?

Why was Eddie that afraid of Frank?
Sure, Frank was coming at him with an axe. But Eddie was built like a tank whereas Frank is a twig in comparison. It should have been trivial for Eddie to just bodyslam Frank and turn his axe on him.
  • He's a lover, not a fighter?
    • Some of the lyrics for "Eddie's Teddy" seem to contradict this ("When he threatens your life/With a switchblade knife"...)
  • He is afraid of the power of this alien who already took half of his brain, probably by axing his head in half, and then created life. They should all fear Frank but don't, to their own demise or downfall.
    • Being an alien Frank may be much stronger than he looks and Eddie already knows it.
  • A little WMG, but perhaps his half of the brain didn't have the right escape instincts to fully make a clean getaway. Rocky tried escaping and made it all the way outside; maybe the part of the brain he had controlled stress responses.

Why did Columbia get killed? She did nothing wrong! I know in the original play, she was SAVING Frank! But what about the movie? Personally, I think she either faked dead or fell into a coma, since they couldn't kill Rocky with the gun.
  • I always assumed it was a knee-jerk reaction because she screamed. Word of God says Riff Raff was furious because he did most of the work on Rocky while Frank partied and had sex, while taking all the credit. He may blame her for this.
    • Columbia wasn't to blame for Frank being oversexed! It was Frank's fault! Why couldn't have Columbia beat Riff Raff up instead? What could've Frank done instead at that point so Riff Raff couldn't have killed him?
  • I had the idea that perhaps it was a mercy kill. Columbia was a human kidnapped and seduced by Frank. Brad and Janet had only been there one night so they weren't as "corrupted" and could therefore eventually function in society again, but Columbia was so long gone that she couldn't be saved? A bit of a WMG though...
  • This bothers me too, especially because Columbia and Magenta previously had a friendly (and possibly more) relationship, but Magenta doesn't seem bothered by Riff Raff casually killing her.

Brad is quite the Forgetful Jones
Seriously, putting aside that he was morally outraged at Frank's death at all, how did he just forget what Frank did to Eddie, or the fact that Frank raped him and his fiance? If anything, he should have been saying a smug Pre Mortem Liner on Riff-Raff and Magenta's behalf.
  • Because he doesn't care about any of that? He enjoyed what he did with Frank so as far as he's concerned it's all good.

Where did all the Transylvanians go after the Hot Patootie scene?
  • Again, Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole. The stage play (or at least the original one), has no actual "Transylvanians" (they're merely back-up dancers). One could argue though, maybe they're all a hallucination of Frank's, given what we see during the "I'm Going Home" sequence.
  • If they were Frank's hallucinations, how could Brad and Janet see them, even when Frank wasn't around? This troper was under the impression that the party more or less ended after the Hot Patootie scene and they all just went back to Transylvania.
    • I used to think that the people who fade in when Frank sings "I'm Going Home" were transylvanians teleporting in but Word of God confirms in the commentary that they were just Frank's hallucinations.
  • If you consider Revenge of the Old Queen canon, it says they have a Portal Network of teleporters hidden across America. Including one hidden in a hotel in Denton, so they probably took that home.

"His lust is so sincere"
What does that even mean? Like seriously? Is lust an emotion that people often have to fake? It seems more likely people would hide having lust than pretend to have it. Why is Janet, even Janet maybe not used to people being openly sexual like that, marveling that this guy who is coming off as very lustful is in fact extremely lustful?
  • It doesn't mean anything, and that's the point. Janet just wants to indulge in hedonism because she enjoys sex, but she's convincing herself that there's a deeper meaning to this, when there really isn't. Riff killing Frank and them right after Janet says that line almost feels like a rebuttal of the idea that Brad, Janet, etc. living their lives to bang Frank has any real significance.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: