On Halloween night last week, dozens of students at the University of Rhode Island did the “Time Warp” again.
The RKO Army, a shadow cast performance group based in southern Rhode Island, held its annual showing of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Edwards Auditorium on Oct. 31. The film is about a recently engaged young couple who get caught up in a world of scientists, aliens and “unconventional conventionalists.”
Despite a poor reception on its original 1975 release, the movie later developed a cult following. Today, audience members participate by shouting lines of dialogue at the screen, dancing the “Time Warp” and using props during certain scenes to correspond with the movie.
The event was free and started at 7 p.m. Prior to the film, audience members could purchase bags containing props for the audience participation scenes. The contents of the bag included newspapers, party hats, playing cards and tissues.
The pre-show events included choreographed dances by the shadow cast members to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Bang Bang” by Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J.
After that, it was time for the newcomers’ ritual. People who have never attended a showing of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” are referred to as “virgins.” Upon entering the premises, “Rocky Horror” virgins are typically marked with the letter V on their cheek or forehead in red lipstick.
During the virgins’ ritual, anyone with a V on their face was called onstage where each person was given a balloon. They all then had to blow up their balloons and put the balloon in between their legs. If the balloon did not pop before that point, RKO Army members had to pop the balloons themselves.
The movie began after the virgins went back to their seats. During the film, audience members put newspapers over their heads during the “Over at the Frankenstein Place” musical number, threw bathroom tissue when Dr. Scott appeared, wore party hats during the dinner scene and threw playing cards during the “I’m Going Home” number.
In addition, many audience members engaged in the long-standing “Rocky Horror” tradition of yelling lines back at the screen, generally referred to as “call backs.” Though the exact lines of dialogue tend to vary depending on location, traditional callbacks include shouting obscenities when the characters of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss appear and poking fun at the narrator’s lack of a neck.
This year’s “Rocky Horror” showing was the RKO’s tenth event at URI since 1982. In addition to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” they also host events for films including “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”