Study Guide

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Summary

On a beautiful, bright, sunshiny day, Brad and Janet attend the wedding of their good friends. The happy couple drives away, and Brad, overtaken by rapturous joy, declares his love for Janet and proposes to her.

It's sweet enough to make you sick.

On a dark, sinister, stormy, night…wait a minute, are we still in the same movie? Yes, there's Brad and Janet, and they're driving through a thunderstorm when a tire pops. They don't have AAA, so they head to the nearby creepy castle on a hill to call for help. What could possibly go wrong?

If you were expecting werewolves, vampires, or ghosts, you're completely wrong. Instead, it's a dance party—let's do the Time Warp again. Janet's so freaked out by this bawdy dance party, like she's a nun watching a Katy Perry video. (And you know how nuns feel about Katy Perry.)

But for all her pearl-clutching, Janet doesn't know the meaning of freak out until a glamorous transvestite, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, descends in the elevator and welcomes Brad and Janet to his secret laboratory. His minions, Riff Raff and Magenta, strip Brad and Janet down to their panties and herd them onto the elevator. (Is this going to a secret lab or a sassy photo shoot? Both Brad and Janet are in phenomenal shape.)

In the lab, Dr. Frank-N-Furter reveals his plan: to create human life. But this isn't a bulky, stitched-together behemoth like Frankenstein's monster. No, this man is a bonafide hunk o' muscle in a gold Speedo. His name is Rocky…and he's way prettier than Sly Stallone. Maybe Riff Raff took Brad and Janet's clothes because he's planning to scrub them on Rocky's washboard abs?

It seems that Frank's experiments don't always go as planned. His previous man, Eddie, breaks out of deep freeze. After a rocking musical performance, Eddie's murdered by Frank with a pickax. (Yikes.) He wants to prove to Rocky, his newly manufactured beau, that Eddie meant nothing to him. When a man kills his human experiment for you, you know it's #truelove.

That night, Frank seduces both Janet and Brad separately. Janet, who'd been saving herself for her wedding night with Brad, feels betrayed when she sees Frank and Brad via hidden camera. Driven into a lustful rage, Janet pursues the muscled beefcake, Rocky.

Meanwhile, Brad's teacher, Dr. Scott, arrives at the castle looking for his nephew, Eddie. Frank believes that Dr. Scott, who is researching UFOs, sent Brad and Janet in as spies. They deny it, but Frank brings them to dinner to reveal Eddie's whereabouts. Dinner is served. What are they eating, meatloaf? No they're eating Meat Loaf. Frank reveals Eddie's body under the table, insinuating that he was the main corpse. Err, course.

  

Janet flees the dining room and is chased back to the lab by Frank. He uses a device called the Medusa Transducer to transform Janet, Brad, Dr. Scott, Rocky, and Columbia, Eddie's lover, into statues. Frank dresses them as himself, fishnets and all, and unfreezes them for a jazzy burlesque show.

Frank's show is interrupted when Riff Raff and Magenta, sick of being Frank's servants, decide to kill him and return to their home planet, Transsexual, in the galaxy Transylvania. Did that planet replace Pluto? Can Neil DeGrasse Tyson tell us where it is?

Riff Raff blasts Columbia with the laser, then turns it on Frank, killing them both. Rocky, angry with grief, grabs Frank's body. Riff Raff's lasers reflect off Rocky's chiseled pecs. Rocky climbs a radio tower as if he were King Kong, but the tower topples under his weight, killing him.

Before blasting off in the castle, which doubles as a rocket ship (not very aerodynamic), Riff Raff and Magenta set the humans free. The castle rockets into space as Brad, Janet, and the doctor crawl around in the dirt. That's going to ruin those new stockings.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • The movie begins with a floating pair of red lips singing to us.
    • It's like a Rolling Stones album come to life, except with less tongue, and the lips aren't singing the Stones.
    • Okay, so it's totally different.
    • This crimson mouth is singing "Science Fiction/Double Feature" as the credits roll.
    • The lips fade, and the black background gives way to a bright sky as a happy couple of newlyweds emerges from a church.
    • After a series of pictures, the bride tosses the bouquet.
    • Janet, the girlfriend of best man Brad, catches it. Could she be the next blushing bride?
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • The happy couple drives off in their car and Janet seems to have marriage on the brain.
    • Brad tries to change the subject and walks into the cemetery, one of the last places you want to propose to someone.
    • But Brad still has something to say: he loves the skillful way…that she beat the other girls to the bride's bouquet.
    • Hey, that rhymes. It's time for a song.
    • "Dammit, Janet!" Brad loves her. And he actually does propose, with a shiny little ring in a box.
    • Which she instantly drops, but Janet picks it up and puts it on.
    • They sing their love in the church, which seems to be staffed by a few dour Quakers who just stepped right out of American Gothic. These people were born with a "not interested" face.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • A creepily shiny-faced man looks at a slide of the wedding.
    • One of the dour Quakers is circled in the slide.
    • The odd old man says he wants to take us on a "strange journey."
    • He has a scrapbook titled "The Denton Affair" and tells us that Brad and Janet, whose pictures are in the scrapbook, left the church and ended up with a flat tire.
    • If they'd had AAA, none of the following would have ever happened.
    • We cut to Brad and Janet driving in the rain and see the blowout happen.
    • "Dammit!" cries Brad, going from the last scene's "Dammit, Janet" to "dammit why didn't we get a spare tire?"
    • They decide to walk to a nearby creepy castle to get help. What could possibly go wrong?
    • The castle gate has a sign posted: "ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!" Two exclamation marks, so it must be extra dangerous.
    • Janet, protecting her hair from the fierce downpour with the most water-resistant piece of newspaper we've ever seen (is that news printed on plastic?) sings about a light being on over at the Frankenstein place.
    • A bald man sings with them from a window high up in the castle tower. That's a comforting sight.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Even though she just finished a warm fuzzy song about light, Janet is cold and frightened and wants to turn back.
    • But Brad knocks on the door. He hopes they'll have a phone to call for help.
    • The weird man who answers the door observes, "You're wet."
    • Janet points out the obvious, too: "It's raining."
    • After that awkward exchange, the man welcomes them in, where a groovy shindig appears to be in full swing.
    • The man who opened the door says that the master is having one of his affairs.
    • Then the clock chimes midnight, which is the man's cue to start singing.
    • "It's astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll."
    • Yep, it's time to do the "The Time Warp."
    • It may be the pelvic thrust that really drives you insa-a-a-ne, but Janet looks on aghast, thinking everyone there is already nuts.
    • She briefly faints in the middle of the song, missing all the best parts.
    • When the song ends, everyone collapses, leaving Brad and Janet the only ones standing.
    • She drags Brad out of the room.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Janet wants to leave, but Brad still wants to find a phone.
    • He seems more interested in the party than a phone, though.
    • Behind them, a man in amazing lip liner descends the elevator, frightening Janet.
    • In a rocking intro, he introduces himself as a "sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania."
    • He implores them to stay, so he can show them the hot blond man he made. From scratch. That's a recipe you won't see on Food Network.
    • "Come up to the lab, and see what's on the slab."
    • He returns to the elevator and zips away. Second floor: mad scientists, laboratories, human experiments.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • The servants undress Brad and Janet to their undies.
    • Janet attempts to resist, but Brad acts like this is totally normal and they should go along with it.
    • In their skivvies, they get into the elevator with the servants, and they all ascend to the lab.
    • The master is waiting in a fetching frock and pearls.
    • He instructs Magenta and Columbia, two of the female servants, to assist Riff Raff, the skeletal male servant.
    • The master gives Brad and Janet lab coats to cover themselves up with.
    • Brad gets angry at the master, because he's putting them through all this weirdness when he only wants to use the phone.
    • The master praises him for being "dominant," then turns his flirtatious skills on Janet, who titters happily at his compliments.
    • Dr. Frankenstein then takes the stage and brags about how he has discovered the secret to life itself.
    • Then he reveals his beautiful creature, which lies on a table underneath a shiny red fabric.
    • The assistants pull back the red fabric, revealing a mummy suspended in a vat of water.
    • Um, we hope it doesn't get soggy in there. We like our mummies crispy.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • The master orders Riff Raff to flick a bunch of complicated levers.
    • A contraption with odd valves that seem to dispense food coloring descends from the ceiling, and the master dumps them all into the vat, creating a rainbow-colored liquid.
    • Maybe the mummy's really suspended in Jell-O?
    • The mummy stands, and Riff-Raff removes the bandages from his face, revealing a tan man with a shock of white-blonde hair.
    • The master calls him Rocky.
    • Rocky leaps into the air and sings "The Sword of Damocles."
    • When he returns to ground level, the servants cut away his bandages, revealing a ripped, muscular body clad in gold underpants. He totally puts Brad's high-waisted whities to shame.
    • The master presents him to Brad and Janet for their opinion.
    • Janet says, "I don't like men with too many muscles."
    • The master snaps that he didn't make Rocky for her anyway. So there, Janet.
    • He pulls Rocky aside and presents him with a set of barbells as a gift. Happy first birthday, Rocky.
    • Rocky plays with his new toys and flexes his many muscles as the master sings, "I Can Make You a Man."
    • And all it takes is seven days. He should write a self-help book.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • A light near a door marked Deep Freeze blinks and beeps.
    • The door swings open, almost crushing Frank and Rocky.
    • A man named Eddie motors in on a badass motorcycle.
    • He sings "Hot Patootie—Bless My Soul" and plays saxophone.
    • We have no idea who this guy is yet, but that giant bloody gash across his forehead does not look good. Someone dab some Neosporin on that before it gets infected.
    • Frank freaks out, interrupting the song and chasing Eddie with a pickax.
    • He returns covered in blood. Oh, that probably left another mark.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Rocky, who doesn't understand how elevators work, bangs on the gate to be let out.
    • Frank explains that Eddie was a "mercy killing" because he didn't have any muscles. So Rocky is safe…for now.
    • We're treated to a snazzy reprise of "I Can Make You a Man," reminding us of Rocky's "hot groin." As if we'd forgotten.
    • Even Janet chimes in. "I'm a muscle fan," she trills, changing her tune from before, quite literally.
    • The melody changes to the wedding march, and Frank and Rocky march toward an altar.
    • It's just so beautiful we could cry.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Brad and Janet are shown to separate rooms.
    • Riff Raff and Magenta watch Janet through a spy camera as she gets ready for bed.
    • Janet receives a visitor that night: Brad.
    • And Brad's hungry for love.
    • Janet starts making out with Brad when his hair falls off. Whoops.
    • It's not Brad. It's Frank. He kisses Janet up and down her body. She isn't sure whether to cry for help or to moan in ecstasy.
    • She chooses the latter, as long as Frank promises not to tell Brad.
    • Meanwhile, in the lab, Riff Raff checks on Rocky, who is sleeping, chained to a bed, near the church altar.
    • For some reason, Riff Raff taunts Rocky with lit candles, making Rocky panic. Reanimated humans are always so scared of fire.
    • Rocky breaks free of the chain holding him to the bed and runs away.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • In Brad's room, Brad gets a visitor: Janet.
    • And Janet's hungry for love.
    • Brad starts making out with Janet when her hair falls off. Whoops.
    • It's not Janet. It's Frank. He kisses Brad up and down his body. He isn't sure whether to cry for help or to moan in ecstasy.
    • He chooses the latter, as long as Frank promises not to tell Janet.
    • Frank is interrupted by an alarm from Riff Raff, alerting him that Rocky has escaped.
    • He releases dogs to retrieve Rocky, the juiciest bone they've ever pursued. The chase is on.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Janet cries with guilt over cheating on Brad.
    • She ascends to the laboratory, where she finds the secret camera filming Brad's bedroom.
    • On the monitor, she witnesses Brad and Frank enjoying a post-romp cigarette.
    • Janet feels betrayed.
    • She hears a moaning in the corner and finds Rocky hiding under a sheet.
    • She rips her already-skimpy petticoat to make a bandage for Rocky's wounds.
    • Looks like Janet's about to cheat on Brad yet again.
    • You know, we haven't had a song in a while…
    • Ah, here we go. Janet sings to Rocky about what she wants him to do: "Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me."
    • "I want to be dirty," she croons. Rocky eagerly complies, and after running from dogs, Rocky's pretty filthy, getting the dirt all over Janet's clean bra. We hope the castle has a washing machine in the basement.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • In the lab, Frank whips Riff Raff for letting Rocky escape while Brad watches.
    • Brad notices Dr. Everett Scott on the security monitor.
    • Frank believes that Dr. Scott's an intruder. Dr. Scott works for the FBI, researching UFOs. Like a mustachioed Fox Mulder.
    • Frank summons Dr. Scott to the laboratory, somehow dragging the man in his wheelchair up the stairs and right through the pink tiled walls of the lab.
    • Frank interrogates Dr. Scott, believing Scott sent in Brad and Janet to do his investigation for him.
    • Dr. Scott assures Frank that he's surprised to see Brad here.
    • Instead, he's looking for Eddie, his nephew. Le gasp!
    • To keep the shocks rolling, Rocky and Janet suddenly emerge, naked except for a red satin sheet.
    • Brad's startled.
    • But before he can confront her, Magenta rings the dinner bell. Hey, even serial cheaters have to eat.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Frank cuts a juicy-looking roast with an electric carving knife.
    • Dr. Scott, Rocky, Janet, and Brad wait for their portions.
    • Frank offers a toast "to absent friends," then everyone sings "Happy Birthday" to Rocky as the meat is served.
    • It looks mouthwateringly good. But before we can get the recipe, Dr. Scott sings a song about his nephew: "Eddie."
    • It's about Eddie's interests: rock-and-roll, porn, and motorcycles.
    • But Dr. Scott still wants to find his nephew. Where could he be?
    • Frank throws back the tablecloth, revealing Eddie's decomposing corpse under the table. Yikes. That's almost enough to make us not want dessert.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • Janet flees the dining room, pursued by Frank singing, "Planet Schmanet Janet (Wise Up Janet Weiss)."
    • Frank pulls a switch that activates a device that freezes Janet, Brad, and Dr. Scott to the spot.
    • Dr. Scott speculates Frank will use the transducer to teleport them to another planet.
    • "Another planet!" shrieks Janet.
    • "Planet Schmanet, Janet," rebukes Frank. It's a good thing her name rhymes with so many things.
    • Magenta pulls another switch labeled "Medusa Transducer," transforming Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott into nude marble statues.
    • Columbia freaks out and says she's had enough. She wants Frank to choose between her and Rocky.
    • Frank nods at Magenta, who pulls the switch twice more, transforming Columbia and Rocky into statues. We can only tell Rocky has been transformed into marble because he now looks so much paler.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • Frank leaves his lab of new statues to prepare for a stunning floor show.
    • He has all the statues decked out in groovy costumes: lace-up corsets, fishnets, and sequined elbow-length gloves. Oh, and don't forget the boa. A good rule to follow no matter what occasion you're dressing for.
    • Frank flips the de-Medusa switch, changing them back into humans, one at a time, to perform "Rose Tint My World."
    • When the four de-statued folk finish their song, the white curtain lifts, revealing Frank standing in front of an RKO Radio Picture logo.
    • He's wearing almost the same outfit, except his red-sequined corset is a lot snazzier.
    • Frank begins to sing "Fanfare/Don't Dream It, Be It" about dressing like classic Hollywood heroines.
    • (We don't remember any of them wearing torn fishnets, but it's always important to add your own personal style.)
    • Everyone ends up having a big wet love fest in a swimming pool by the end of the song.
    • Dr. Scott magically returns back to human form, and he declares, out loud, to himself, that he'll find a way out of the castle.
    • Then he is surprised to find that under his blanket, he, too, is wearing a stiletto heel and fishnets. Hey, if you got it, flaunt it.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • The guitars rage as everyone climbs out of the pool to sing "Wild and Untamed Thing," complete with the weirdest kick line you've ever seen.
    • They're interrupted by Riff Raff and Magenta, dressed in black and silver outfits that they seem to have stolen from Judy Jetson's wardrobe.
    • They tell Frank to prepare to return to Transylvania.
    • Frank has Rocky and Magenta cue up a spotlight so he can croon "I'm Going Home."
    • Magenta yawns. #notimpressed y'all.
    • But Frank continues crooning, even sitting on the side of the stage like Celine Dion getting intimate with her audience.
    • After this whole song, we're still wondering: where, exactly, is home?
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • Magenta accuses Frank of being sentimental.
    • Riff Raff clarifies that the "we" who are returning to Transylvania doesn't include Frank.
    • Riff Raff and Magenta are leaving without him.
    • Riff Raff pulls a pitchfork-shaped laser pistol at Frank to eradicate him.
    • At the back of the auditorium, Columbia shrieks.
    • Riff Raff turns and zaps her with the laser, killing her instantly.
    • Frank attempts to escape in the most unlikely way possible: climbing the stage curtain.
    • Riff Raff shoots him too, and he collapses into a heap of fishnets and white fabric.
    • Rocky rushes to his side, crying.
    • Riff Raff attempts to shoot Rocky, but he's so buff, his incredible pectorals reflect the laser beam.
    • Riff Raff climbs the RKO radio tower like King Kong, with Frank on his back like Fay Wray.
    • The tower tips over, dumping Rocky into the pool and killing him, too.
    • Riff Raff lets Dr. Scott, Brad, and Janet go, warning them the entire house is about to blast off to the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania.
    • Magenta, excited to return home, reprises "The Time Warp"
    • Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott escape just in time. The whole house blasts off like a rocket, leaving them scrambling in the dirt below.
    • Back in his office, our creepy shiny-faced narrator says they're "insects called the human race, lost in time and lost in space." (Lost in Space is a different TV show, dude.)
    • The chorus sings "The End."
    • And they mean it. It's over. Go home. It's just a jump to the left…