Bell Theater to host “Rocky Horror”

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is said by many to be one of, if not the most, well-known and beloved cult films of all time.

According to an article on filmsite.org, a cult film is defined as one that is usually weird, offbeat, bizarre and does not appeal to a wide demographic of people. They are often dismissed by critics, only to later be reevaluated at some point down the road — usually with more favorable reappraisal.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the perfect example of what a cult film encompasses. Originally written as a stage play by Richard O’Brien, the show made it’s debut in London in 1973, and become a motion picture in 1975.

Audience participation was pioneered with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Fans dress up as the characters from the film, bring props and reenact certain scenes and lines from the film as they happen. In some screenings, live performers take the stage to act out the film in tandem with what’s on screen. For over 40 years, the popularity of the film has yet to wane as it’s traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

Pineville is the next town in America to carry on the tradition of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The Bell Theater will be hosting its own showing, complete with live performers, audience participation and a costume contest on Oct. 26. at 10 p.m.

Performer Julia Higginbotham landed the lead role of the show as the iconic character Frank N. Furter — the transvestite mad scientist from outer-space made famous by famed character actor Tim Curry.

Higginbotham is an art student at the University of the Cumberlands and this upcoming performance is her first foray into stage acting.

If there is one thing “Rocky Horror” performers have in common, it’s that they are all massive fans of the film.

“It’s been a growing obsession over the past couple of years. Every year I find someone, a friend or someone I go to school with who has no idea (about the film) and I like to take them to a midnight showing to see how surprised they are by the end. I’m slowly converting people,” said Higginbotham.

Higginbotham describes the personal appeal of the film as “involved” in various different ways.

“There are several different references in the movie that are hidden away and tucked away in this musical format. It’s interesting to see how the characters play and transform into something that’s so out of key…it’s just a shock when you see it. It really sticks with you,” she said.

The character of Frank N. Furter in the film is widely known for being garish, in-you-face and unapologetic in who he is. This openness of character is what attracts Higginbotham to him.

“There’s this freeness that Tim Curry takes on…it’s completely apart from me so for me to get into character it’s very difficult to step out and try that sort of thing. I’m not normally a Frank N. Furter type personality. But in a way I can still identify because there’s this sense of putting your best face forward,” she said

The first time Higginbotham saw the film live was two years ago. The show didn’t having live performers on stage, but the audience participation was in full swing.

“I think that was really special that you had these people that had such a deep connection to it they felt compelled to come out and really get into character that way,” she said.

Some of the information for this article was found at http://www.filmsite.org/cultfilms.html and http://www.rockyhorror.com/history/howapbegan.php.