'Rocky Horror Picture Show' Audience Participation Guide


Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe Rocky Horror Picture Show is a film that has been loved by generations, so much so that it has its own cult following. And when I say cult, it truly is -- there are thousands of fan sites devoted to this 1975 classic.

Though it's not necessarily a Halloween-themed movie, theaters across America tend to play midnight screenings of the film on weekend nights throughout October. But don't think you're going to sit down with a box of popcorn. These screenings require audience participation, and if you don't at least attempt the Time Warp, prepare to be shunned by the cult followers.

Audience participation started when the film debuted in the late 1970s and has only grown stronger since. Viewers dress up as their favorite characters, shout out back lines to each and every scene, and do the Time Warp in the aisles.

Luckily for you, I witnessed my first ever RHPC cult screening, dressed up as Magenta, this past weekend. And while it may take several goings to get the lines down, I at least have a basic survival guide for all of the "virgins" out there.

Props: You may want to contact your local theater beforehand, as they may not allow some of these items to be used, but, for the most part, these are the props to use during the show. But please, for the love of all that is holy, do not throw it onto the stage if there are actors performing. You will suffer the cult's wrath.

  • Rice: Dry rice is thrown during the wedding scene between Ralph Hapschatt and Betty Munroe. As the newlyweds exit the church, you should throw the rice along with the on-screen wedding guests.
  • Water Pistols: When Janet and Brad arrive to the castle, it's pouring. Squirt water to simulate the rain.
  • Newspapers: Like Janet, hold newspapers over your head during the rain scene.
  • Lighters/Flashlights: During the "there's a light" verse of "Over at the Frankenstein Place," you should light up the theater.
  • Rubber Gloves: During and after the creation speech, Frank snaps his rubber gloves three times. Later, Magenta pulls these gloves off his hands. You should snap your gloves in sync each time to create a fantastic sound effect.
  • Noisemakers: At the end of the creation speech, the Transylvanians respond with applause and noisemakers. You should do the same.
  • Toilet Paper: When Dr. Scott enters the lab, Brad cries out, "Great Scott!" At this point, you should hurl rolls of toilet paper into the air (preferably Scotts).
  • Toast: When Frank proposes a toast at dinner, members of the audience throw toast into the air (preferably unbuttered ... things could get sticky).
  • Party Hat: At the dinner table, when Frank puts on a party hat, you should do the same.
  • Playing Cards: During the song "I'm Going Home," Frank sings, "Cards for sorrow, cards for pain." At this point you should shower the theater with cards.

Back lines shouted during the film are often changed to roll with the modern times (there were several Snooki references in my experience). Unless you're a regular participant, there's no way to learn all of these beforehand, but this website can give you an idea of how often they're used. The two lines that seem to have been kept universal for the last 30 years are calling Brad an "asshole" and Janet a "slut." Yeah, I wouldn't recommend bringing children to this.

And when it's time for the Time Warp, be prepared to stand up. For those of you that don't know the Time Warp dance, here's a good how-to video. Don't worry, even someone with no rhythm can get this down.

So now that you have a general idea of what to expect, I think you're ready for your first Rocky Horror experience. But beware, they may call out the virgins (volunteer virgins had to make orgasmic sounds in front of the entire theater in my group), but it's all in good fun!

Have you ever done the Rocky Horror audience participation? If so, what was your experience like?

Image via Official Star Wars Blog/Flickr




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poshkat poshkat

i have been dying to do to a midnight showing in the city for YEARS but havent gotten the chance yet :-(


Poshkat -- Clearview Cinemas in Chelsea has them every Friday and Saturday night, and it's only like $10!

jeann... jeannesager

The coolest movie experience ever was a Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing with fellow fans at an outdoor theater set up by a local town beautification group (they got legal permission). It was a gorgeous setting under the stars, and the fans were totally into it doing all the gags. I had so much fun!

madfoot madfoot

You just did this for the first time? I did this all through high school! We didn't have an organized show in my town but once I got to college i did start playing Janet and Columbia. Just recently- when i was pregnant wtih Penelope - I took Randy to his first Rocky Horror show and warned him NOT TO SAY YES if anyone asked if he was a virgin. Our rabbi's daughter is part of the crew that does the show here! SAY HELLO RIFF!

madfoot madfoot

OH And I saw it on Broadway with JOan Jett as Magenta and Dick Cavett as The Narrator! Even in a live theater there were plenty of people shouting along. It was SO much fun!

LoriA... LoriAnn87

Have been to servel midnight show of this movie and love it espcailly getting dress up and throwing things at the screen.

Marion McLaughlin

I'm going to see Richard O'Brien as the Narrator in Wellington, New Zealand, tonight (Dec 4th, 2010) at 9.30 pm, cannot wait! 3rd time to RHS live

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