It's a safe bet that pretty much every single Starburst reader will already be more than familiar with the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie adaptation of Richard O'Brien's 1973 stage play was first released in 1975 and holds the title of the longest-running cinema release in history, still enjoying regular screenings at independent cinemas around the world. Much has been written about this technicolour glam-punk thrill ride over the last 40 years, to the point where you'd almost think there couldn't possibly be anything left to say. With this FAQ though, author Dave Thompson has dug into countless hidden archives to compile a treasure trove of facts and figures that may well have escaped the attention of even the most hardcore Rocky fan.
Subtitled “everything left to know about the campy cult classic”, the first few chapters are dedicated to providing some historical context to the creation and development of the Rocky Horror Show through exploring how the current affairs of the time influenced various factors that would eventually shape Richard O'Brien's most heinously wonderful creation. On occasion it almost feels like there might be a little bit too much of this background information, but none of it is completely irrelevant and ultimately we're given a deeper appreciation for the many trials and tribulations that the show and its creators ran into, particularly during the early years.
Things really get interesting when we move away from the historical aspects and onto the subject of the Rocky Horror Show itself. Tracing the development of the show from its humble beginnings to the global sequins and glitter juggernaut that it has become today, this FAQ really proves itself as a fantastically exhaustive compendium of anecdotes and information. The author uses the opportunity to share his own archive of material, and has also clearly had a whale of a time rummaging around in a huge variety of drawers, coming up with all manner of interviews, photographs and memorabilia related to four decades' worth absolute pleasure. We're also given large amounts of information about the cast's other “outside ventures”, leading to an urge to investigate things further in our own time. Magenta was in Doctor Who? We'll be checking that one out later, for sure (even if she's currently in a big strop over not being invited to the official RHPS fan club picnic).
After the show itself has been given an appropriately thorough seeing-to, we're treated to a couple of astoundingly well-researched chronological appendices. The first of these attempts to list every major event in the RHPS timeline between 1975-2015, while the second covers the wealth of soundtrack variations that have been released as well as other musical output by performers associated with the show.
All in all, it's hard to find fault with“The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ”. The masses of behind the scenes information and interviews are sure to please long-term fans, while also serving as an eye-opening peek between the velvet curtains for those who may be more recently-acquainted with the world of Frank N. Furter and friends. With a new screen adaptation due later this year, here's hoping a brand new generation of sweet transvestites will stop dreaming it and start being it for many more years to come.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW FAQ / DAVE THOMPSON / PUBLISHER: APPLAUSE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW