Memories: Then at a Deadly Pace, It Came from Outerspace

Goody Goody lived a few houses away from us when we were very little. She was my older sister’s age, but she was also a little immature and I was at least as close to her as my sister. Closer, perhaps. Her mother was divorced, with two children, didn’t work and had a live-in maid. She came from a wealthy family. I wouldn’t understand this for many years. She was different from the neighboring adults, but her children didn’t seem any different and I was far too young to see adults the way they saw one another. Why she lived in our lower-middle class neighborhood of small houses, I will never know. She didn’t stay very long. Soon, husband number three came along. This one would last. The first was a handsome, womanizing actor. The second was a mad genius mathematician, and the third was a grumpy accountant, a widower with three children of his own. They married and moved to nearby town where the houses were bigger and which had a reputation for snobbishness, anti-Semetic prejudice and academically excellent schools.

Despite the move, Goody Goody and I remained friends. Since she lived in another town, when we’d go to visit we’d usually stay over night. Her mother was always very welcoming and encouraging. Now, they were a family with five children, all in their teens except for the oldest who was about twenty, living in a sprawling house with many bedrooms and many parties. (Just to be clear, since the parents were welcoming and usually around, although the parties were lively, they weren’t the out-of-control parties some kids have when their parents are away.)

One weekend when we were staying with Goody Goody, she wanted to go see a movie at a theater in a town some distance away, at midnight. Her eldest brother would have to drive us. This struck me as unusual. Being a night owl since the day I was born, I didn’t care about the hour much, but why were we driving so far? She tried to explain to me the plot of the movie.

“These people go to this castle that makes everybody inside it horny!!!!” She balled her little hands up into even littler fists and pulled them into her body, her elbows held close to her side, and shook them excitedly.

“What does ‘horny’ mean?” I asked.

Goody Goody, with her large blue eyes and limp, wavy, dirty blond hair bore a faint resemblance to Susan Sarandon, a coincidence I was about three hours from noticing. “It means you want to have sseeexxxx!!!!!” She waved her hands back and forth even more excitedly, squeezing her tits into surprisingly ample, and quivering, cleavage in the process.

So Goody Goody, Sis and I piled into the back of the car and Goody Goody’s eldest brother, a cutie pie I haven’t yet named, and another person sat in the front as we drove some distance to see this Rocky Horror Picture Show.

How does a person describe a revelation? I wouldn’t have a similar experience watching a movie until I saw Scorpio Rising. (Is there anything hotter than a guy’s denim encased crotch with the song “Blue Velvet” in the background? – But I guess that’s another post.) How do you describe something that isn’t so much a matter of introducing new ideas as taking inchoate ideas that are already in your brain and giving them form?

When worlds collide

How does a person begin to explain living in a small, self-contained, suburban world and suddenly realizing that there is something more out there? “You are not alone.”

There’s a light, a light

In the darkness of everybody’s life

Truthfully, I wasn’t yet old enough to know much about life’s darkness, but if darkness can be a metaphor for ignorance, then certainly The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a light.

The first real jolt in the movie is when Richard O’Brien appears as Riff Raff.

I remember doing the Time Warp
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me
And the void would be calling

This is where the oh-so-famous Time Warp begins. It’s just such a beautiful build up of tension and release.

Next we have what might be one of the most notable performance in film history, Tim Curry as Frankenfurter.

Don’t get strung out by the way I look
Don’t judge a book by its cover
I’m not much of a man by the light of day
But by night I’m one hell of a lover

That is fine advice for any young woman, and probably most young men as well.

Later in the movie, the sweet ingenue, played by Susan Sarandon, is making love to the “creature” created by Frankenfurter. Watching, on close circuit teevee are two female characters, Colombia and Magenta. This is the first that I recall seeing two women in a sexual situation with one another. It put ideas in my head. The ideas didn’t go very far as of yet… yet.

From the day he was born
All he wanted
Was Rock and Roll porn
And a motorbike

Where do I even start. I’ve described elsewhere how during my early adolescence, “serious” popular music had become a narrow genre of stultifying art rock. I’d seen some glimpses of other things around the edges, but they were not yet mainstream by any means. The music in this movie was a breath of fresh air.

The, ahem, if you will pardon me, climax of the film is a sequence called the “floorshow.” Four of the characters perform in corsets and feather boas. Finally, Frankenfurter takes the stage and sings,

Whatever happened to Fay Wray?
That delicate satin draped frame
As it clung to her thigh, how I started to cry
‘Cause I wanted to be dressed just the same

What could be more normal than that?

Give yourself over to absolute pleasure
Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh
Erotic nightmares beyond any measure
And sensual daydreams to treasure forever

Then he jumps into a pool.

Don’t dream it, be it

I may have taken this part a bit too much to heart.

In the end, after the aliens have returned to their home planet, we see our protagonists lying on the ground.

And crawling on the planet’s face
Some insects called the human race
Lost in time, and lost in space
And meaning

That evening, I learned that men could look really hot in women’s clothes.  I learned that women could look hot in women’s clothes. The movie was fascinating for me in that it treated men as sex object. It definitely went a long way to making my sense of sexuality and gender more flexible.

And it would resurface in my life later.

  1. I’ve never seen it. Loved the clip though. Maybe one day I will. I don’t know what I thought it was about but it certainly wasn’t that!

  2. Great read on a great movie. I used to go see it at midnight showings on Friday nights when I was in my 20’s. Excellent post. Sexual kinks and great songs! How can you go wrong there?

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