Study Guide

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Director

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Jim Sharman

Director Jim Sharman is probably the only person on this planet (or, probably, others) whose Wikipedia page introduces him as the "son of [a] boxing tent entrepreneur." In addition to letting us know that "boxing tent entrepreneur" is a valid career choice, Jim Sharman also brought us The Rocky Horror Show, the 1973 musical that would eventually be adapted into The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Yep, this movie started as a stage musical, and Sharman appears to be much more at home in the Australian theatre, directing over four dozen plays over a forty-year career. As for moving pictures, Sharman directed only five films. His first, Shirley Thompson vs. the Aliens, was a schlocky throwback to 1950's horror movies, even though it was made in 1972.

Clearly, being the son of a circus man influenced Sharman greatly…and we don't mean that Jim is a dude covered in tattoos or a fan of sword-swallowing. Rocky Horror' s a mix of vaudeville and freak show, featuring performers who live not just on the fringes of society, but in fact live on the fringes of the galaxy. (Fringe festival indeed.)

Besides Rocky Horror, Sharman directed a couple other sci-fi/suspense flicks. His last film was Shock Treatment (1981), a follow-up/reunion of sorts to Rocky Horror. It starred different actors as Brad and Janet, and featured Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, and Little Nell as different characters.

But Sharman's still as quirky as he was in the 1970's. In 2012, he directed the "visual art film" ANDY X, a tribute to Andy Warhol released digitally on the 25th anniversary of Wahol's death, at the exact minute he died. (Source)

We wouldn't be surprised if someone did the same for Sharman, a cult figure himself, on a future anniversary of his own death. (Or perhaps on the return to his home planet?)

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