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The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25th Anniversary Edition

Yeah, we've done it. Years ago, when we were a lot younger. We stayed up until midnight, gathered our squirt-guns and toast, and headed over to Portland's Clinton Street Theater for a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In fact, we did it a few times. Not like 200 times mind you — the audience participation thing grew tiresome after a few outings, and by the end of the movie the urge to nod off was undeniable. But Rocky Horror was a small rite of passage many summers ago, even if we thought it was just a campy low-budget film. And now, after a brief period of being out of print on home video, Fox has released a "25th Anniversary" edition of RHPS on DVD, and it's absolutely loaded. Based on Richard O'Brien's hugely successful London stage production, the 1975 Rocky Horror Picture Show gathers together a variety of pop-culture items, including awful sci-fi, cheesy horror, rock-and-roll, sexual liberation, and a certain novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly. Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick star as Janet Weiss and Brad Majors, newlyweds who are stranded in a storm and take refuge in a strange castle inhabited by folks from the galaxy of Transylvania and their leader Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). After Frank invites the couple to "come up to the lab and see what's on the slab" (the doctor demands a playmate, it seems), a broad bedroom farce ensues until Frank's extravagant ways lead to his eventual downfall. Of course, Rocky Horror is not a masterpiece of plotting. Rather, it's an endless rush of song-and-dance numbers that have become soundtrack favorites. Probably best known are "Dammit Janet," "Sweet Transvestite," and the signature "Time Warp." But we've become partial to less-upbeat numbers like "Don't Dream It, Be It," "I'm Going Home," and the opening tune "Science Fiction." Not that it matters — O'Brien is such a clever songwriter and lyricist that there isn't a clunker in the bunch (it's sort of like how every song in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut is worth a sing-along). And while it must be admitted that Sarandon is a far better actress than a singer, Tim Curry's go-for-broke performance in Rocky Horror is probably his best ever, which is saying something since it was his first film. Solid anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) from a clean, colorful source print, and the new DD 5.1 mix really gives the soundtrack a boost. Both the U.S. and U.K. cuts are on board (the latter has an extended ending), and supplements on this massive two-disc set include a commentary track with O'Brien and costar Patricia Quinn (Magenta); a documentary on the RHPS phenomenon; on-the-fly links to live performances of popular numbers; an audience activity prompt as a subtitle track; an additional audio track with RHPS fans screaming their guts out (a disappointing feature, as it's mostly unintelligible and more than a little belligerent); two deleted songs, "Once in a While" and "Superheroes" (the final song on the UK cut); 11 outtakes and alternate takes from four set-ups; interviews with O'Brien, Sarandon, Bostwick, Quinn, and Meat Loaf, taken from VH-1's RHPS marathon; VH-1's "Pop-Up Video" version of "Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul," sung by Meat Loaf; an alternate credit ending (with "Time Warp" rather than "Science Fiction"); two trailers; a "misprint ending" (the U.K. ending with the U.S. audio, which seems a little pointless); a photo gallery; and the songs "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" and "Sweet Transvestite" in karoke format (you'll have to get your own fishnet stockings). Died and gone to heaven yet? The whole thing comes in a nifty dual-DVD folding digipak with paperboard slip-case, which looks pretty cool.

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