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I will never again go see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". It's not that I was shocked when I saw it for the first time, I have seen it dozens of times. In fact I was part of a group (we called ourselves "The Hot Groins") that dressed up and engaged in audience participation during the movie. I was there in the first row shouting "Asshole" or "Slut" whenever Brad's or Janet's names, respectively, were mentioned and all the other stuff; so it's not that. I will never again see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" because several years ago I was scared shitless by an incident that happened during the first screening of this movie in my hometown. This is my story. First an intro, I will keep it brief. I come from a boring small town in America's heartland where the economy has been depressed for as long as anyone can remember. Upon hitting their late teens young people that grew up with the promise of the American dream would begin to question whether the dream was within their grasp. When they graduated from high school a select few who had good enough grades or family funding would go to college right away. But most would linger, alternating between working at odd jobs or in the family business and having a good time. Eventually, despite the opposite sex and other distractions, it became obvious to many that their lives were going nowhere. Some then joined the armed forces while others moved to the city or other towns seeking their fortune and seldom came back. A few however, would stay and become their parents developing a fierce sense of pride about it during the process. Now that I have given you an idea of the setting where this story takes place let's get down to business.
I discovered "Rocky" during my senior year when I went with some friends to a screening of the movie in the city. We all thought it was a riot and quickly managed to find a copy of the movie. We began recruiting others, rehearsing the audience participation lines and even inventing some of our own. Thus the "Hot Groins" group was born. For the next "Rocky" screening in the big city a total of 12 of us showed up en masse and we were able to hold our own against some of the diehard "Rocky" fans at the place. We made a handful of these trips on weekends but it was not easy to get there. Our town is sort of isolated, many miles away from the nearest highway; it was really complicated to organize an outing, getting people with wheels and all that stuff. So it was during the summer after graduating when I got a job working at the only movie cinema in our town that I had a great idea. "Why not show "Rocky" here?" I talked to the manager and explained that my friends and I could talk to other kids and get him a crowd big enough to make it worth it. He said that he thought it was a great idea and then he just said "but" and remained silent. There was no need for him to say anything else; I knew what he was thinking: "Reverend Foley". Reverent Aaron Foley had been a fixture of the life of our small town for decades. His lanky body frame and his face as old as the hills were recognizable by everyone in town. Over the years he used his particular brand of fire and brimstone preaching to wage a war against obscenity and immorality molding the city's politics and spawning many ordinances. In theory he did not have any formal powers but he held sway with the town's social and political centers of influence. Rubbing the reverend "the wrong way" was just not worth anyone's bother and it was certainly not good for business in a town where this commodity was limited. Because of this,
groups, businesses and individuals just caved in to him when they had a disagreement, a few out of conviction, but most did it to be spared an uncomfortable quarrel. However modernity was catching up with the good reverend. Although he was still going strong for his ninety years of age, his stranglehold on the town's spirit had been slipping. In the old days it was the paved roads, the radio, the telephone and the television which struck the first blows for freedom connecting the town to the world bringing in new ideas and activities. In more recent years it had been the internet. Now people could read, buy things and socialize or exchange ideas with complete strangers in the privacy of their homes away from his prying eyes. The reverend knew full well that his days of leading the town down the straight and narrow (or at least his version of it) were over. But like a proud dinosaur standing up to the incoming asteroid he held his ground willing to put up one last fight. In his case this asteroid was "Rocky". We got most of teenagers in town to sign a petition for the town's cinema to show the movie and we also convinced a few parents to lobby the manager until he finally acceded. After all, many of us had already seen the movie; we just wanted a large venue for audience participation. Here it must be said that the cinema in recent years had gotten bolder and bolder in its programming showing movies with increasing amounts of sex and violence. However, we were all concerned that the antics of Frankenfurter, the sweet transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania and his band of fellow alien misfits would cross a line: it did.
Foley, of course, had never seen the movie but it was easy for him to learn all about it. The "Rocky Horror Picture Show" had been an American cultural icon for decades. Where other movies had been forgotten by new generations, "Rocky" kept going strong. In terms of actual sex, gore or violence content other movies may have ranked higher but they did not show up on radar screens. However, in terms of name recognition "Rocky" just stood out like a bonfire in the night. It was an ideal target for an oldfashioned moralist like Foley. No sooner had he learned of the plan to screen it in the town's cinema he denounced it from his pulpit and gave interviews to the regional newspaper. He mobilized his supporters including his much feared army of old ladies who quickly organized anti-"Rocky" bake sales and Tupperware parties. Within a week the town was buzzing with the controversy and had pretty much split evenly along the over and under the hill generational divide. One of the things that emerged from all the debate is that a "private" screening of the movie would be arranged for Foley and some of his followers as well as some "Rocky" supporters. I never understood why the cinema manager agreed to this. If Reverend Foley and company did not flip out as soon as Frankenfurter appeared in his corset, or during his wedding processional, I was certain they would leave during the seduction scenes or when Susan Sarandon playing Janet got started on her "touch-a, touch-a, touch me" song. But so it was that on that Friday night "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" was screened for the first time in my home town and me and my friend Stan (also a co-Hot Groiner) had the honor, or as it turned out the misfortune, of being in the projection booth.
In the interest of full disclosure I want to state that we were so nervous that before the show we took a few swigs of some liquor I had "borrowed" from my dad's stock. This got us into a relaxed mood and by the time Foley and his entourage made their way to the front row Stan and I were cracking jokes and laughing. We were given the signal and started the movie. The lips appeared on the screen and proceeded to sing "Science Fiction Double Feature" while Stan and I engaged in our own audience participation antics. The projection booth was shielded from the audience by a large thick window so no one could hear us but we could see the whole movie theater below. When the brighter parts of the movie came up I could see the white tuft of hair of Reverend Foley in the front row. From the way his shoulder and head moved he seemed to be scribbling something. So on it went. Brad and Janet sang "Dammit Janet" took off and had a flat tire while Nixon claimed in the radio that he was not a crook. They made their way cold and wet to Frankenfurter's castle singing "Over at the Frankenstein Place." They were received by Riff Raff and Magenta who then proceeded to perform "The Time Warp" along with the Transylvanians. Tim Curry barged into his iconic gender bending performance as the wacko Dr. Frankenfurter singing "Sweet Transvestite" and then they all made their way up to the lab to see "what's on the slab." Once here Rocky, the creation, was born, sang "The Sword of Damocles" and then showed off his muscles for Frankenfurter during the first "I Can Make You a Man" song. This was brusquely interrupted by the great Rocker Meatloaf in his role as Eddie breaking out of the vault and belting out "Hot Patootie-Bless my Soul." During all this time Stan and I were having a ball doing our audience
participation bit and guessing at the faces of moralistic outrage that the good reverend would be making in the front row. It was then that it happened. As Frankenfurter picked an ice pick and headed towards Eddie with murderous intentions the colors of the movie started changing and bulges seemed to appear in the surface of the screen. Stan and I looked briefly at each other and then at the projector but we didn't see anything wrong. When we looked back at the movie we saw a green-colored swell emerge from the screen. A leg materialized and then another followed by a body, two arms wielding an ice pick and a face with a malignant grin framed by a dense mat of black hair. It was like in that movie "The Purple Rose of Cairo" where a character leaves the screen. The ice pick-wielding Frankenfurter in his green lab coat and pink gloves had left the movie and was headed straight for the front row of seats. It all happened very fast. I got a glimpse of Foley as he lifted his arms above him to protect himself from the apparition which begun delivering blow after blow with his ice pick upon the reverend. As Columbia screamed in the movie still running in the foreground Stan said "fuck" and raced out of the projection booth; I followed him. We both entered the theater and headed for the front row. The Frankenfurter apparition was nowhere to be seen but there was a commotion there and people were racing in that direction. A handful of persons were yelling over and over "Oh my God!" A few women cried and screamed hysterically while others had fainted. With my back against the movie screen I stood in front of Reverend Foley. The old man with his arms still trembling at his sides had sank deep into his chair. His face was contorted into the most grotesque shape I have ever seen with eyes bulging white and mouth agape.
It was a face of sheer terror, like if he had just peered in the very bowels of hell. I felt I was going to be sick but just at that instant there was an unusual moment of silence. I don't know how it happened, maybe it was a coincidence, people just stopped screaming and talking at the same time. It was then that we all heard a voice behind us say "oh, don't be so upset." Startled we all turned around to see Frankenfurter's face filling the screen while talking to Rocky who was off camera. He added "it was a mercy killing; he had a certain naive charm but, no muscle." The manager screamed at Stan and me to turn off "that thing" and went to call the police. We cut the movie off in the middle of the reprise of the "I Can Make You a Man" song. The autopsy of the reverend revealed he had died from a burst aneurism in his brain. All the plans to show "Rocky" disintegrated, the cinema manager returned the movie and to my knowledge it has never been shown again in our town; so Foley did win this one. Stan and I learned that, apart from the reverend going into seizure-like spasms, nobody saw anything unusual. By the time we were interrogated by the police we had agreed not so say anything about what we had seen. It was just too unbelievable and since we had been a little drunk, at first I though it had been some sort of hallucination. For my friend Stan it was no big deal, he soon seemed to forget the whole thing. However, unlike Stan, the experienced affected me terribly. For many weeks afterwards I was haunted by dreams from which I would wake up screaming and bathed in sweat. I abandoned my work at the cinema and became reclusive, refusing to see my friends or leave my parents house. My folks just thought that I had been shocked by Foley's death but I never told them the truth. Thankfully, my family decided to send me away to
live with my grandparents for a while and this had a magical effect on me. I got my act together, enrolled in a community college, completed my education and got myself a job. It is only now that I have gathered the courage to write about my experience. Today I still ask myself what happened that day during the screening of "Rocky"? Was I witness to a supernatural event? Did Foley finally come face to face with the evil against which he had preached all his life? And if he did, why did it happen in this particular venue? With all the movies out there that dwell explicitly on Satanism and the supernatural why did this happen with "Rocky" which is just a humorous parody of Science and Horror fiction and a musical at that? In case you think I am making much ado about nothing, especially after admitting that I was drunk during the screening of the movie, there is something else you should know: Stan and I were called back to the movie theater because the police wanted to reconstruct what had happened. This was three days later so I was not drunk; I was in total control of all my faculties. The manager asked us to roll the movie which we did and then joined the rest of the crowd down at the theater in the front row. As the movie rolled on and we arrived at the crucial scene I became aware of a detail that no one else seemed to notice, not even Stan, something that I am just revealing now. As Frankenfurter approached Eddie sporting his satanic grin and brandishing his ice pick, I saw that the surface of the tool was covered in blood; I even
saw it dripping. Of course in that particular scene the tool ends up stained with Eddie's blood, but this occurs at the end AFTER Eddie is attacked. What I noticed is that the tool was already stained with blood BEFORE Frankenfurter had even attacked Eddie. In all the times I had previously watched "Rocky" I had never seen this. When I had the chance I went back to the projection booth and checked those particular frames in the movie. Sure enough, the exterior of the tool was indeed crimson red with a substance that looked like blood. It was so localized to the upper surface of the ice pick that it was impossible that this could be due to some discoloration of the movie or other damage. When I got home I checked my copy of the movie and, as I had expected, the metallic surface of the ice pick was not bloodied in that frame. This realization was the source of my nightmares and still haunts me to this very day making me tremble at night when I am foolish enough to dwell on it for too long. I know that Foley did not die a natural death that day, he was murdered, and his blood somehow became absorbed permanently into the film.
This is a non-commercial work of fan-fiction intended as a commentary or parody of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" for the educational purpose of promoting increased awareness of this great movie and its story line. As such it is covered under the United States Copyright Law of Fair Use (Title 17 of the United States Code, Section 107). If you liked this story you may be interested in: Visiting my website: Phantomimic's Website Following me on Twitter: Phantomimic on Twitter Liking my Facebook Page: Phantomimic on Facebook Thank you! : ^ )