Ah, fall. Time to dig last year’s cozy sweaters out of the bottom of the drawer. Along with the leather corset. And the fishnet stockings, and the water pistol. Because if you work in a community-oriented movie house, the approach of Halloween brings one more very important thing to mind:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Whether you’re attempting a midnight screening for the first time, or RHPS is a revered tradition at your theater, we’ve got three tips to take your audience on their “strange journey.” (How strange was it?)
3 Secrets to Hosting an Awesome Rocky Horror Picture Show Screening
- Make Prop Kits to Your Specifications. The best way to exercise some control over what you/your staff have to clean up in the morning without being an isle-patrolling buzzkill is to assemble and sell your own prop kits. This is also an excellent way to being a little extra revenue into your theater, and to encourage everyone to play along. If you decide you’d rather not mop up soggy rice, toast, hot dogs or confetti, either don’t include those items in your prop kits, or find more tolerable substitutions. Using hydrospheres instead of rice kills two birds (or rather, doesn’t kill birds) : Audience members get something fun and harmless to throw during the opening wedding scene, plus an additional bit of moisture for the following thunderstorm sequence. As for the lights “Over at the Frankenstien Place,” those in the audience with heavily-hairsprayed costume coifs will thank you for nixing the traditional open-flame lighters of yesteryear. LED tealights offer a safer solution with a similar flickering effect. Yet another convenient idea is to replace newspapers with newsletters advertising upcoming cult screenings or other events at your venue.
- Enforce the “R” Rating. Tempting as it may be to introduce RHPS to the next generation, this is where you have to put your foot down as a cinema proprietor. A Rocky Horror screening is a big party for adults, and nothing will kill that exclusive, hedonistic vibe like kids playing in the isles or crying out “Mommy! What are they doing?!” above the din of your audience participation.
- Host a Pre-Show Costume Contest. Assembling a shadowcast is a noble endeavor, but to pull it off well requires rehearsal and costuming work. A cheaper and less time-consuming alternative that will fire up your audience just as well? Call costumed attendees up to the front of the auditorium prior to the lights going down. By measure of applause, the audience chooses the best Brad, Janet, Frank n’ Furter and so on. Prizes can include free prop kits or tickets so that these members of your target demographic can come again (and again . . and again!)
Don’t dream of being that perfect Rocky Horror host –Be It!
Hollywood Boulevard hosts regular midnight screenings of RHPS on Saturdays, so call or visit us online at atriptothemovies.com for tickets, and come see how the pros do it!