Study Guide

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Setting

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Near Denton Texas

Everything is Weirder in Texas

The outlook is sunny at the beginning of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We open at a church, all bright, happy, and covered in crosses. It's the polar opposite of the sexily depraved castle we'll find ourselves in within the next fifteen minutes.

But if you're paying attention, almost everything in the church foreshadows Brad and Janet's arrival at the castle. Many actors, like Richard O'Brien, can be seen in the background. O'Brien and Patricia Quinn, who play Riff Raff and Magenta, stand still on the church stoop, looking like psychotic re-enactors of "American Gothic."

Plus, as Brad proposes to Janet, the Quaker-esque workers change the church from a festive wedding to a somber funeral. Brad and Janet's engagement might be the death of them.

American Gothic

Speaking of the painting "American Gothic," a copy of this painting hangs in the foyer of Frank's mansion, letting you know that the imagery you saw at the church wasn't entirely in your imagination.

This movie is an "American Gothic," even though the play originated in England. It's a peppy musical in the vein of Grease, mixed with Gothic horror, including mad scientists, creepy labs, and skeletons inside of grandfather clocks.

Grandfather, is that you? Riff Raff looks like the old guy with the pitchfork stepped right out of the painting, and his laser gun at the end is three pronged, like that scary-looking farmer's implement.

Yes, we said laser gun. Frank's house is so strange and unique, you might think it's out of this world. And you'd be right. The house ends up being a spaceship that returns Riff Raff and Magenta to their home planet. Nothing that crazy actually exists on earth…especially not in Texas.

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