The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Overrated or Underrated?

When someone sings Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, are you eager to sing along…or eager to flee the scene?

Spawned from the 1973 stage musical The Rocky Horror Show, the enduringly popular 1975 cinema adaptation starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick is a staple of midnight screenings. If you had to choose a movie to represent the “dictionary definition” of cult film, this one would probably top most lists…whether you adore the film or loathe it. Even if you are a Rocky Horror “virgin”having never attended one of its famous interactive screenings, where crowds of fans who have the dialogue memorized show up in costume, talk back to the screen, throw toast in the air, shoot water pistols, and so onit’s nearly certain you know something about the movie. Or  maybe you know everything about the movie.

Where does Movie Irv reside on this love-hate continuum? 

Should The Rocky Horror Picture Show be ranked as one of the greatest filmic phenomena of all time? Fans, share the particulars of your love for Rocky Horror; detractors, feel free to make the case for why decades of sold-out showings have represented an unsightly boil on the beautiful body of movie history.


  • Blair Kramer

    I don’t know if it’s over rated or under rated, but if you weren’t there, you can never understand the impact of the midnight screenings on the college crowds 25 to 30 years ago. It was rather like the New Orleans Mardi Gras times ten.

  • wade

    yes the great experience of the midnight screenings are unforgettable

  • Movie Fan

    I knew people who went to midnight screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show. They’d wear costumes, bring things to throw at the screen, look forward to it for weeks. I finally got to see the movie on television. It aired in the 1990s, to great fanfare, but I can’t remember why. I loved the weirdness of the movie more than anything. I thought it was a very good bad movie. I think the appeal of Rocky Horror is that you can experience being a nonconformist without consequences. Once the show is over, you take off the makeup, hang up the costume and go back to being a good little cog in the big wheel of life. Reality usually sucks, but not in the Rocky Horror universe. That’s what makes it fun.

  • mike

    Very much overrated!

  • Slam256

    It is neither! It is a lot of great fun. Not for Preservative Conservatives crowd. It has memorable music and it will be loved and cherished by a lot of people for a very long time. Sorry, the guy who’s doing this critic falls in the Preservative Conservatives unimaginative crowd… and that’s a fact.

  • rocky-o

    movie irv needs to lie down and rememeber what dreaming is all about…’rocky horror’ is an experience…tim curry’s performance is brilliant…the music is memorable…(far better than whatever has been released in the last twenty years)…and the ‘original’ midnight experience had purpose…a deeper understanding of the film and film in general…

  • williamsommerwerck

    My problem with the film is that I find the subject matter not only uninteresting, but repulsive. Granted, it’s not about normative behavior (!!!), nor is it in any way supposed to be “realistic” — on a certain level, it’s /intended/ to offend conventional sensibilities — but if you categorically dislike (say) westerns, you can’t very well offer a useful opinion about the quality of any of them.

  • carondelet

    Unusual story, great music, clever lyrics and brilliant performance by Tim Curry — its got to be under rated. No other movie has this dialogue “I’ll get you a satanic mechanic”, “come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab..” I just cannot stop seeing this movie at east once a year I guess I just can’t get enough….. we will probably find out some day that it was subliminal messages and we were all adicted….

  • Jan

    Apparently it is overrated because I have never been able to sit through more than about the first 20 minutes of the film without remembering that I have something else I need to get done. Oh – and for you that argue that you had to be there to appreciate the movie – I was 25 when the movie came out.

    • X

      Too old, alas, too old!

      • Louis Martinez

        I was 31 when I saw it and now at 69 I still enjoy watching it. But, hey, that’s just me.

  • wa

    Underrated. The soundtrack and performances (especially Tim Curry) are fantastic. That said, it’s obviously not for every taste, just like any cult film. But it has obviously touched a nerve with a great many people.

  • SeBADo

    I so don’t agree with you. This movie is great, it’s funny and the songs are great. I’ve been to a few screenings with some friends and we all love it! It is a cult classic!

  • X

    By definition,every cult classic is overrated, but who wants to spoil the fun?

    • williamsommerwerck

      One might argue /underrated/. Many cult classics aren’t appreciated by the mainstream audience — which tells us exactly nothing about their quality. (I assume “quality” is what we’re talking about?)

  • Suzanne Scherrer

    I think that it is a little of both. I think that there are aspects of the film that are severely underrated such as the set design with it’s references to film and art. But the story is oversimplified. The performances are excellent, as is the music. But what really made it worth seeing was the audience experience. This is not a film that works well for someone at home alone on the couch. It needs to be seen with an enthusiastic crowd to really get the whole experience.

  • tim

    Over and Over Rated

  • The G-Man

    I’ll agree with X, by their nature, cult films are overrated…but we still need to watch them over and over again. I have a collection of about 1,000 films…the best of all genres; and yes, RHPS is in the collection. Its entertaining; the first half is great…the second half drags…but I still put the dvd in now and then and watch it….because its a cult film. Susan Sarandon, Meatloaf, Tim Curry…its intriguing how many future stars were in the ultra-low budget flick. Kind of like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, Jullianne Moore, William Macey, et al, et al…in Boogie Nights.

  • little lulu

    It is a bad movie. It is soooo bad that people have to see it, just to see how bad it is. You are watching it, and it pulls you in because you are in awe of how rotten it really is! Nothing redeeming – like a porno camp skit with bad makeup and bad costumes.

  • Lanatic

    I loved this film before it became a cult classic (via the original stage version, which I saw at the ripe old age of 16!) The songs are great, the performances excellent & the overall look tacky & very stylized. It’s a great film, so I would say that no, it is definitely NOT overrated!

  • Laurakkc

    To watch at home on TV, naah . . . To watch in a theatre with a crowd of crazies with raincoats and newspapers, great fun. I still can’t see Susan Sarandon without saying “Janet Weissssss.”