Wednesday, June 06, 2012

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Music on Film" Marks a Strange and Beautiful Path: A Book Review

*full disclosure: a review copy of this book was provided by Limelight Editions.

Limelight Editions has recently launched Dave Thompson's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Music on Film." This small title of 148 pages was released May 1, 2012 and the novel covers the evolution of one of the most renowned stage plays and films. Originally shown in England, this play would show for over two thousand performances before moving to Los Angeles and later New York. There have been few plays that have been quite as successful as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Author Thompson does a great job of immersing the reader into the world of this bizarre phenomenon which continues to thrive even to this day.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Music on Film" covers many items of trivia. For instance, certain musical numbers were lost or added as the production shifted from a play into a feature. As well, the story acknowledges stunt performer Richard O'Brien's contribution to the play. He was originally an actor who transitioned to stage director in order to fill houses in the Royal Court of London. He even sang a musical number or two. Other performers would also become a part of this stage play. Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Joan Jett and many others contributed to the mystique of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which took some of its influences from glam' rock and a burgeoning sexual revolution.

The musicography developed by Dave Thompson is in-depth and extensive. Fans of the show will recognize songs such as "The Time Warp," "Sweet Transvestite," "Superheroes" and a few others. Thompson evens credits who sang each song during the play's performance and the run of the midnight picture. This novel chronicles the limited singing career of Tim Curry and the developing musical force known as Meatloaf. Many of these musical numbers and performers seemed to capture the science fiction and the fantasy of the '70s and of b-movie filmmaking.

This book is a must have for fans of film. Even fans of stageplays will enjoy the backstory to the slowly built success of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Music on Film" is a compressed novel, but there is enough information here to get readers throwing hot dogs at the film's next showing. Or, you can throw rice on cue and shout the correct obscenities at the right time with a little guidance. After all, this is The Rocky Horror Picture Show where strange things can and will happen!

Overall: 7 out of 10 (well researched, thorough, lots of backstory to the many productions).

Another review of this novel is available here:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Reviewed at Blog Critics (Jack Goodstein)

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