In the four decades since it debuted, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a cult classic, marked by weekly or monthly interactive viewings in theatres across the country. But the weeks leading up to Halloween have always marked prime viewing season. For the Rocky “Virgins” out there, these screenings usually involve a series of callbacks that audience members shout along with or in response to many of the original film’s scripted lines.
Whether you watch the original or the 2016 made-for-television remake starring Laverne Cox, Annaleigh Ashford, Reeve Carney, and more, here’s a curated selection of (tamer) shoutouts to scream from the couch:
NOTE: Callbacks (a.k.a. your lines) are in bold. Scripted lines are in italics.
When: Any time we see the Narrator.
Callback: He’s got no f***ing neck!
Context: Um, he doesn’t have a neck? Pretty much it. He’s also kind of a jerk, so he deserves it.
SONG: “THERE’S A LIGHT”
JANET: I’m coming with you.
That’ll be a first!
The owner of that phone might be a beautiful woman,
and you might never come back again.
You should be so lucky!
Context: Janet and Brad’s sex life has about as much spice in it as a tub of plain yogurt, but the fruit on the bottom of that cup is about to be stirred up by a transgressive trans vixen we’ll all shortly meet.
SONG: “SWEET TRANSVESTITE”
FRANK: And he’s good for relieving my…
Context: We herein meet Frank-N-Furter, matriarch of the castle, and are immediately apprised of her project: to build a perfect sexual object (Rocky).
FRANK: I see you shiver with antici--… … …
Context: Perhaps the most iconic callback from the film, this desperate shriek from the audience reveals the dangerous rate at which hormones are coursing through all our veins. We need this perfect man; we want him—show us already!
SONG: “I CAN MAKE YOU A MAN” / “SWORD OF DAMOCLES”
JANET: Oh, Brad!
How’s your sex life, Brad?
BRAD: It’s all right, Janet.
Context: Milquetoast soggy sex life. ‘Nuff said.
FRANK: Well, really.
That’s no way to behave on your first day out.
Of the closet!
Context: Maybe Rocky’s gay? Maybe he’s not? We don’t really care; everybody here’s a little bit queer. He is Frank’s invention, after all.
FRANK: Oh, I just love success.
You love anything with a ‘suck’ in it!
Context: Frank is freaky, and this castle proprietor has more than a few domina-tricks up that labcoat sleeve.
FRANK: Well, Brad and Janet, what do you think of him?
Lie through your teeth, Janet!
JANET: Well, I don’t like men with too many muscles.
Just one BIG one!
FRANK: I didn’t make him…FOR YOU!
Yeah, but she gets him anyway!
Context: As loyal fans, we know Janet and Rocky will get it on later. What disingenuous commentary from our friend Janet.
Describe Dan Quayle!
A weakling weighing ninety-eight pounds…
That’s two Dan Quayles!”
will get sand in his face.
Context: Dan Quayle was and is a physically diminutive Republican politician and former Vice President of the United States.
SONG: “HOT PATOOTIE”
(As Frank ice-picks Eddie to death)
That’s no way to pick your friends!”
Variants: “Picky, picky, picky!” or “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose!”
Context: Frank doesn’t care for Eddie, so it’s a…picky situation.
BRAD AND JANET BEDROOM SCENES
JANET: Oh, what’ve you done with Brad?
Nothing yet—he’s saving the best for last!
Context: Frank is an equal opportunity fornicator, and Brad won’t be left untouched or untarnished.
JANET: Oh…I was saving myself.
For what, a rainy day? Look outside, b****—it’s pouring!
Context: Again, Janet with the fake claims to chastity. We’ve already witnessed her ill-concealed arousal regarding Rocky’s physique. Live your lyfe, Janet; live it!
(Alerted by Riff Raff of Rocky’s flight) FRANK: Mmmhmm? Coming!
Context: Everybody loves every body.
SONG: “TOUCH ME”
JANET: Creature o-o-o-f the night!
(on the button) Orgasm!
Context: Janet and Rocky just did the nasty. The actual creature of the night? It’s Janet.
SCENE: DR. SCOTT’S ARRIVAL
FRANK: You must be adaptable, Dr. Scott
I know Brad is.
You promised you wouldn’t tell!
Context: Dr. Scott was Brad’s high school science teacher, and now obviously works for the government. Oh and now knows that Brad’s a sexually-curious-but-still-ashamed jerk.
FRANK: A toast
(Throw toast) To cannibalism!
…to absent friends.
ALL: to absent friends
Context: Does the meat loaf taste funny to anyone?
SCOTT: We came here to discuss Eddie.
FRANK: That’s a rather tender subject.
That’s a rather tasteless joke!
Context: Searching for Eddie, Dr. Scott doesn’t realize he’s found him, right here in his meat loaf. (OK, another tasteless joke.)
SONG: “EDDIE’S TEDDY”
SCOTT: From the day he was born
Not the night, but the day
He was trouble
With a capital T
He was the thorn
Not the rose, but the thorn
in his mother’s side.
Not the back, but the side.
She tried in vain
Not the artery, but the vein.
Context: Oh, Dr. Scott. What are you even doing here? Do you have no sense of urgency?
SONG: FLOOR SHOW / “DON’T DREAM IT”
(The RKO logo appears on a curtain)
What the heck is a radio picture? It’s a picture of a radio. What else?
Context: The RKO logo appears on a curtain, because this show is going down RIGHT. Frank and his entourage don’t mess around: production value, people.
SONG: “WILD AND UNTAMED THING”
Frank, whose pool is this and tell us thirteen times!
FRANK: My, my, my, my, my, my. My, my, my, my, my, my, my!”
Context: There’s a pool onstage because, why not? The original asked a six-year-old to design a house and that’s what he made up: a castle with a theatre and a pool onstage.
SONG: “I’M GOING HOME”
And now, for one night, and one night only, Judy Garland with Alfalfa’s shadow and the Mormon Tranvestite Choir!
Context: Frank is about to put on a show: a one-night-only, fishnet-clad, not-to-be-missed performance before returning ‘homo’ to Transylvania.
(The on screen audience disappears)
Look, it’s an Iggy Azalea concert!
Context: This callback depends on who or whatever is currently unpopular: historically Menudo, Dukakis, etc.
RIFF RAFF: And now, Frank-N-Furter, your time has come.
Like everyone in this movie.
Say “goodbye” to all of this.
Goodbye, all of this.
Hi, oblivion. How’s the wife and kids?
Context: Riff Raff’s revenge.
So grab your favorite fishnets, bustier, and eyeliner, and make a participatory evening out of the Rocky Horror telecast. Otherwise, what’ll you do? I bid you: “Don’t dream it; BE it!”