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Break Out The Fishnets, It's The 40th Anniversary Of 'Rocky Horror'

rocky horror
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
A performer with Frankie's Fishnets acts as part of the shadow cast of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in Phoenix.

Saturday marks 40 years since the American release of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

The science fiction satire is about a naive couple that stumbles upon the castle of Dr. Frank-n-Furter, a mad scientist with unique taste.

Full of music and mayhem, the movie has attracted a cult following over the decades. Those fans have done the Time Warp again and again.

If you don’t want to dance and sing along alone, you go to a shadow cast. That’s a late-night screening of the film, usually with live theatrics and toilet paper throwing.

Some call it a double-feature picture-and-parody show.

These parties have been happening all over the country for decades. In Phoenix, a group called Frankie’s Fishnets holds a shadow cast every month to keep the "Rocky Horror" spirit alive.

The cast dresses up as "Rocky Horror" characters and acts out the scenes on stage in front of the screen. Amanda Proctor, stage director of Frankie's Fishnets, dons the curly black wig and high heels of Dr. Frank-n-Furter. 

Long-time "Rocky Horror" fan Dawn Gilpin was at the last shadow cast, but it wasn’t her first time seeing "Rocky Horror" on the big screen — that happened when she was 12.

"I convinced my mom to take me to the midnight show. I guess props to her for not making us leave a few minutes in," Gilpin said. "We watched the whole movie. It was very educational for me, at 12. I think it probably explains a lot."

Fans like Gilpin come to sing the songs they know by heart and also ad lib. And of course, to throw things at the screen (as is the tradition) and generally cause a ruckus.

Clearly, "Rocky Horror" is a cult classic and Proctor said she thinks shadow casts are one of the things that have kept it going for so many years. And it’s what allows Frankie’s Fishnets to keep going, too.

"We interact with the audience so they feel like they’re in the movie now," Proctor said. "They don’t just feel like they’re watching the movie, they feel like they’re a part of it, you know?"

You don’t have to just dream of being at the next show, you can be at the next show Saturday night at the Arizona Event Center.

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Annika Cline was a producer for KJZZ's The Show from 2014 to 2019.