Halloween special: The rocky Gort Horror Picture Show

Commander's log, Stardate 31102012.2:

There we were, one night this week, sat around discussing the finer points of cult movies with Gort's girlfriend, Helen Cox of New Empress magazine, when we found ourselves besieged. Helen was insisting upon the genius of Grease 2, while Gort and I were protesting that all musicals suck.

"But, but, but... it's awesome! Cool Rider?! Do It For Our Country?! Who's That Guy?! How can you not like it?!" Helen proclaimed.

"Good taste?" Gort was heard to suggest before a loud clang sounded as Helen hit him round the head with the replica She-Ra sword she carries at all times.

At that moment, the doors to the Mothership's canteen burst open and Senior Galactic Alliance Commander Richard O'Brien burst in, accompanied by actor Tim Curry wearing full basque-and-stockings attire. With a snarl O'Brien raised a hand-held Medusa Transducer and froze all three of us to the spot.

"How dare you criticise the honourable institution of the musical? You call yourselves Galactic Alliance cinematic police officers!! Bah!" he bellowed and fired the Transducer. When we awoke, we found ourselves tied to examination tables in the medical lab, wearing lingerie.

"Now, allow me to give you an... educa-tion!" Curry purred, before slowly sliding a DVD into the player on the medical scanner, rolling the credits for cult classic musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Premiering in 1973, The Rocky Horror Show is regularly listed as one of the best examples of musical theatre ever written. This is even more impressive, given that the show was scripted and scored by out-of-work actor Richard O'Brien as a way to keep busy between gigs... and yes, that is Richard O'Brien who would go on to present The Crystal Maze...

The play was such a success that it only took two years to go from an experimental production in a space above a theatre to an international cinema release through 20th Century Fox. The film version stars many of the original theatre cast, including O'Brien himself, the infamous Tim Curry in his greatest role, Australian pop star Little Nell and rock legend Meat Loaf, alongside before-they-were-famous actors Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon, and the great Charles Gray.

Gray is a criminologist, telling us the gruesome details of a case he has investigated. A wholesome young couple break down in the middle of nowhere one night and seek help at a nearby mansion. Little do they know that this castle is owned by Curry, a transvestite alien from the planet Transylvania. A complete hedonist, Curry rules a house of Transylvanians through a combination of fear and seduction and is about to complete his greatest experiment - the creation of his very own Frankenstein's monster in the form of the perfect male specimen whom he intends to become his new paramour. Much bed-hopping ensues as Curry proceeds to seduce and corrupt our naive young heroes.

The B-movie scifi ridiculousness and the OTT musical numbers, combined with the overt sexuality and violent murder, create a perfect representation of two disparate aspects of O'Brien's personality. On the one hand, Rocky Horror is an ode to the 50s B-movies O'Brien grew up with and the title song Science Fiction Double Feature riffs on all his favourite films - "Michael Rennie was ill, The Day the Earth Stood Still, but he told us where we stand, and Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear, Claude Rains was The Invisible Man". Co-incidentally, O'Brien would go on to have a small role in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie...

Elsewhere, the film's liberated attitude is a metaphor for O'Brien's own struggles to determine his sexual identity. The final refrain of "don't dream it, be it" is a call to arms for people to throw off the shackles of societal pressure and open up about their sexuality. Whether the audience is aware of this or not, the now-traditional practice of fans showing up to screenings and productions of Rocky Horror in copies of the characters' sordid costumes manages to bring people out of their shells.

Likewise, while fans are encouraged to throw items at the screen and shout along with the dialogue at showings of the film, the movie takes itself far from seriously. Plot holes appear all over the place like in a door in Jack Nicholson's house, magical occurrences are explained away by switches on the wall with scientific-sounding names and the script is rife with gags Leslie Nielsen would be proud of.

Still, this is a cast of exceptional actors having a whale of a time hamming it up and chewing the scenery. The rock and roll soundtrack seems to sit hand in hand with the lurid costumes, garish sets and ridiculous setpieces. This truly is a film you can't help but love, no matter how cynical you are. It's fun, has a serious point about sexual repression and is the trump card that defeats the argument that all musicals suck. Not to mention, with the dressing up and scifi-horror cliches, it's the perfect movie for Halloween.

A ghoulish evening to you all. Mwahahahaaa!