Study Guide

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Dr. Frank-N-Furter, A Scientist (Tim Curry)

Advertisement - Guide continues below

Dr. Frank-N-Furter, A Scientist (Tim Curry)

Hot Diggity Dog

In your typical Frankenstein story, the monster is much more interesting than the doctor. But, seeing as how this Dr. Frank-N-Furter wears corsets and heels, Rocky Horror isn't your typical Frankenstein story. Frank is the most fascinating character in the movie, and boy, does Frank know how to make an entrance.

Or should we say, girl, does Frank know how to make an entrance?

Whatever gender you pick (not that you have to even pick—Rocky Horror' s no square) his dramatic entrance—descending on the elevator and busting into a song called "Sweet Transvestite"—has to be seen to be believed.

FRANK: 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. I'm just a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania.

Get it, Frank.

The beauty of Frank's character isn't just in the lip liner (which is fantastic, btw) it's in his frankness about his sexuality. (Frankness: pun!) He's living life the way he wants to live it, and that means not paying attention to any boundaries put on him by society.

Oh God, You Devil

Despite his boundless lifestyle, it's not all fun and hedonistic games for Frank. Having a sexual appetite that's like an all-you-can-eat buffet means he's difficult to satisfy, which is why he sets about trying to make the perfect man, a la Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein.

FRANK: He'll do press-ups, and chin-ups, do the snatch, clean and jerk. He thinks dynamic tension must be hard work. Such strenuous living I just don't understand, when in just seven days, oh baby, I can make you a man.

Frank is alluding to playing God here. In the Bible, God made Earth in seven days, and Frank makes something that's just as rock-hard and sturdy as Earth itself: Rocky.

And just as God created Earth for man to hold dominion over, Frank believes he's in charge of Rocky and should be able to control him. But, tellingly, he gets super-sad and jealous when Rocky sleeps with Janet. It seems like Frank's free-lovin' rules only apply to him and no one else.

Puts the Mental in Sentimental

Frank has a heart and soul beneath all that makeup, but he doesn't reveal it until the end of the movie. After catching Janet with Rocky, Frank throws a mini-fit and turns everyone into statues. It's hypocritical of him, considering he seduced Brad and Janet separately after creating Rocky. Regardless if his emotions are rational or valid (emotions rarely are), Frank is upset, and he expresses it.

FRANK: It's not easy having a good time. Even smiling makes my face ache and my children turn on me.

Magenta isn't impressed, accusing Frank of being "sentimental." Frank continues to fall apart, forcing everyone to sing "Rose Tints My World," a song in which Frank attempts to rationalize all of his hurtful actions to make himself feel better.

He has always wanted to live a life outside the norm, so he also sings "Don't Dream It – Be It."

FRANK: 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. Can't you just see it? Don't dream it - be it.

The sad part is that Frank's being what he wants to be, but it still isn't making him happy. He's hurting others, and he's beginning to feel bad about it. When Riff Raff says they're going home, Frank sings "I'm Going Home" and he imagines an audience applauding him and cheering him on. He feels loved and accepted, but only in his imagination.

By this point, Frank's façade is cracking. His makeup is running (do they not make waterproof eyeliner in outer space?). His stockings have holes in them. He's falling apart. Seeing Frank at his lowest isn't enough retribution for Riff Raff, who feels Frank has mistreated him for long enough. Riff Raff zaps Frank with a laser in cold blood. Frank's bad karma ends up being the death of him.

To add to the bitter irony, Frank, in death, doesn't get to witness how Rocky reacts to his death. Rocky's upset, and carries Frank's body away as if Rocky were King Kong and Frank were Fay Wray. Frank, who always wanted to be Fay Wray, would see this as a beautiful example of mourning. (Especially the part where Rocky dies. That makes it even more Gothic and romantically tragic.)

But leave it to Frank to have a theatrical, camptastic death scene. He doesn't just know how to make an entrance…he knows how to make an exit.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...