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Time Warp Master Class!
October 27, 2012 5:11 AM   Subscribe

Released in 1999, The Rocky Interactive Horror Show was a point and click video game featuring clunky gameplay and graphics that looked dated even by the standards of the time. Reviews were middling, and the title soon fell into obscurity. But while nobody would ever call the game a classic, it did feature a few wonderfully weird treats guaranteed to drive any Rocky Horror fan in-say-yay-yay-yane...

As this collection of clips from the game shows, onscreen narration was provided by none other than classic fright flick star Christopher Lee. (His dramatic recitation of the Time Warp lyrics will surely be the highlight of your Halloween season.) There are also a few clips of Rocky Horror creator Richard O'Brien performing spirited, acoustic versions of hits like Sweet Transvestite (in full drag, of course,) Over at the Frankenstein Place, Super Heroes, Science Fiction Double Feature, and, inevitably, The Time Warp. (And if you can never quite remember if the pelvic thrusts come before or after the jump to the left, don't worry. O'Brien is on hand with the Time Warp Master Class!)
posted by Ursula Hitler (35 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
And believe it or not, this wasn't the first time Rocky Horror had been adapted into a computer game. Play The Rocky Horror Show for Apple II in emulation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:33 AM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


One thing I find fascinating is that it appears (at least to this outsider) as if Richard O'Brien has taken on true pop culture hero status in the UK, largely due to his role as host of The Crystal Maze and subsequent theater roles which endeared him to the populace.

I find this fascinating, and cannot think of an American equivalent to him. Sometimes I wish I lived in the UK -- they seem to have a lot more fun with pop culture there than we do here.
posted by hippybear at 6:21 AM on October 27, 2012


largely due to his role as host of The Crystal Maze

I remember him best for his role as the Guild Leader in the Dungeons and Dragons movie. There was some sort of maze, as I recall. I wonder if that is why he got that role.

{Also, I hate Rocky Horror with every fibre of my being, and I am cool on Shock Therapy because I have never seen any of it. So that explains why I don't associate O'Brien with Rockey, if anyone was interested).
posted by Mezentian at 6:31 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not a Rocky Horror fan myself. But I am given to wondering if other examples of participatory cinema, like The Sing-Along Sound of Music or screenings of The Room could inspire their own computer games.
posted by JHarris at 6:36 AM on October 27, 2012


JHarris, The Room has a computer game (well, a flash game).
posted by Coobeastie at 6:40 AM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am cool on Shock Therapy because I have never seen any of it

You haven't even actually seen the real title -- it's Shock Treatment.

It's an... um... odd movie. Some great music, a nearly incomprehensible plot. But it's a movie that if you've seen more than a few times, you find you reflect on it regularly as you view the modern media landscape.

Here's the big opening number, Denton USA. And my favorite song from the film, Little Black Dress [yes, that is Barry "Dame Edna" Humphries, why do you even bother to ask?]. (in which I find the costuming to be deplorable -- just picture Jessica Harper wearing an actual "little black dress" rather than that outake-from-My-Fair-Lady getup)

If you are intrigued, here is a beginning point for watching the film in its entirety.

Dammit, now I'm going to end up watching it again! Why do I keep watching this? It's REALLY NOT A GOOD MOVIE.
posted by hippybear at 6:44 AM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I had a bootleg copy of the Commodore 64 game when I was a kid.

As I said in a recent comment elsewhere on the blue, at the time I had never seen the movie and had no instruction booklet... it was a very weird game.
posted by usonian at 7:17 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate Rocky Horror with every fibre of my being

"It's boil-in-the-bag perversion for sexually repressed accountants and first-year drama students with too many posters of Betty Blue, The Blues Brothers, Big Blue and Blue Velvet on their blue bloody walls!"
posted by howfar at 7:25 AM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dammit, now I'm going to end up watching it again! Why do I keep watching this? It's REALLY NOT A GOOD MOVIE.

I really like Shock Treatment though I chalk it up to becoming familiar with the soundtrack decades before actually seeing the movie.
posted by mazola at 7:33 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


So go ahead and do that. Buy the soundtrack on iTunes and then watch the movie in 2032.

You'll LOVE it! I promise!
posted by mazola at 7:34 AM on October 27, 2012


Big Blue? As in IBM? I need to rewatch Spaced.
I would have gone with Three Colours Blue, myself.

Shock Treatment!
My mistake. I was thinking of the largely forgotten band from ... Detroit?
posted by Mezentian at 7:36 AM on October 27, 2012


Big Blue? As in IBM?

As in Le Grand Bleu.
posted by grahamparks at 7:52 AM on October 27, 2012


Big Blue? As in IBM? I need to rewatch Spaced.

Le Grand Bleu, I suspect. Three Colours: Blue would have been hard to alliterate, and would've had to begin the list. Given that students with Betty Blue posters is a stronger cliché, I think the line would've suffered.
posted by howfar at 7:54 AM on October 27, 2012


That The Room flash game is... yeah, they put far too much attention to detail into that than they had to to satisfy the terms of the assignment.
posted by JHarris at 8:10 AM on October 27, 2012


The Room flash game was my first encounter with The Room. It made watching the Rifftax The Room that much richer.

Especially the sex scenes. Oh yeah.

(I had completely forgotten Le Grand Bleu existed. Thanks, Metafilter Blue for reminding me!)
posted by Mezentian at 8:17 AM on October 27, 2012


Oh wow! My grandfather had a c64 and hundreds of bootleg floppies, including the RHPS one, I was young (very young) and already a fan through finding my mother's record of the soundtrack. I didn't get the fact that it was kinky and just loved the horror and sci-fi references. Anyhow, I found that my grandfather had a bootleg floppy of the game and everytime I visited I would dedicate hours trying to get it to load. With no success... ever. Literally sitting there and trying to load it over and over. So awesome that I can now see screenshots of what I was missing.
posted by Smegoid at 8:56 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't the only time that Richard O'Brien partnered with Christopher Lee, of course...
posted by markkraft at 9:44 AM on October 27, 2012


Richard O'Brien can currently be found every day on the Disney Channel. What a world we live in.
posted by shecky57 at 10:49 AM on October 27, 2012


Ha! Brings back memories of time wasted in Terrible Hole, Indiana, participating in Rocky Horror over twenty times before I realized that I just can't remember things in order. Damn lysdexia. But I was left with a great love for the music, and these acoustic renderings are a lot of fun!
posted by Michael Roberts at 11:09 AM on October 27, 2012


Shock Treatment is a terrible movie with a wonderfully 80s-era soundtrack I have been listening to since I was a kid and still can't get enough of. That is all.
posted by davejay at 12:51 PM on October 27, 2012


I really love Shock Treatment, y'all are dicks :p
The songs are great and it has a real point of view, where Rocky (great as I is, and this is coming from a 2 decade fan here) is a bit more of a grab bag of O'Brien's pet enthusiasms. Not that that isn't great too, and not to say that Shock Treatment is anything it's not, but it's far better than its reputation suggests.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:23 PM on October 27, 2012


I honestly think it's ripe for a quality remake. In today's media immersion culture, its message and setting make a lot more sense than they did back when it was first made. Plus, we've got better metaphors and circumstances that could be used to make the point. And the music is really great.

Just as long as they don't use quick-cut editing for all the musical numbers. I HATE that about modern movie musicals. (Thank god The Muppets didn't do that.)
posted by hippybear at 3:15 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also I played the hell out of C64 Rocky Horror back in the 80s.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:19 PM on October 27, 2012


The songs are great and it has a real point of view, where Rocky (great as I is, and this is coming from a 2 decade fan here) is a bit more of a grab bag of O'Brien's pet enthusiasms.

Funny, I would've said just the opposite... Shock Treatment struck me as kind of loose and meandering, while Rocky is tighter and has a definite POV. ("Don't dream it, be it," etc.) I think O'Brien is great at coming up with unforgettable moments, but weak on plotting. Rocky Horror works as one great moment after another, so you don't really notice the lack of a proper narrative. Shock Treatment doesn't have as many great moments or catchy songs, so it feels a lot more lumpy.

I honestly think it's ripe for a quality remake.

We shall not speak of this again.

"It's boil-in-the-bag perversion for sexually repressed accountants and first-year drama students with too many posters of Betty Blue, The Blues Brothers, Big Blue and Blue Velvet on their blue bloody walls!"

I haven't seen Big Blue or Betty Blue, but Rocky Horror and Blue Velvet are vastly superior to Spaced. Shaun of the Dead was good, but otherwise Simon Pegg kind of strikes me as British Kevin Smith.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:47 PM on October 27, 2012


Simon Pegg kind of strikes me as British Kevin Smith.

On account of having a beard, presumably. It can't be his films or personality. Also, Tim Bisley is a character, not an author substitute. That line seems as likely to be Jessica Hynes' as Pegg's.
posted by howfar at 5:54 PM on October 27, 2012


And Blue Velvet is great, but with regards to Rocky Horror I refer my friend to the answer given in respect of Babylon 5.
posted by howfar at 5:55 PM on October 27, 2012


On account of having a beard, presumably.

On account of them both being snarky, middle-aged dudes who make comic-dramas focusing on the romantic misadventures of disaffected manchildren, loaded with lots of geeky inside-jokes about Ewoks and whatnot. I'm more familiar with Smith's work than Pegg's, but I made it through like an episode and a half of Spaced before I gave up. I did think Shaun of the Dead was good, but otherwise what I've seen of Pegg's work didn't do much for me and I thought it was kind of ballsy for him to get that sneery about stuff like Blue Velvet and Rocky Horror on a show as disposable as Spaced.

(I'm not trying to rile the Spaced fans, here... But I feel like Pegg kind of fired the first shot.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:22 PM on October 27, 2012


comic-dramas focusing on the romantic misadventures of disaffected manchildren

Only one of Pegg's films, the one you like, has any element of romantic misadventure.

I made it through like an episode and a half of Spaced before I gave up

So pretty much exactly to the point where there is a joke about the Timewarp? :)

But I feel like Pegg kind of fired the first shot.

Personally I was disgusted with Shakespeare when he suggested it was acceptable to poison your brother and marry your sister-in-law shortly after the funeral.
posted by howfar at 6:31 PM on October 27, 2012


Only one of Pegg's films, the one you like, has any element of romantic misadventure.

Isn't that sort of the point of Spaced? He and his lady friend have a will-they-or-won't-they thing? If I'm wrong on that one, take out the romantic misadventures part, then. Both guys make stuff about grumpy, directionless 30-somethings who argue about Return of the Jedi a lot. I'm not saying the Pegg/Smith comparison is flawless,just that they strike me as guys with a lot in common. I suspect they'd get along quite well, if they didn't get into a big argument about Green Lantern or something.

I heard a lot of praise for Spaced, before I sought it out on Youtube. I'm a British comedy geek, and I thought I'd like the show... But it didn't take long before I was just bored. It's not as if I'm opposed to geek sitcoms (I've enjoyed The IT Crowd and The Bang Theory) but the characters on Spaced just seemed kind of charmless and the jokes weren't landing.

Personally I was disgusted with Shakespeare when he suggested it was acceptable to poison your brother and marry your sister-in-law shortly after the funeral.

Wait, what? Shakespeare clearly wasn't taking Claudius' side... And neither am I. How did Hamlet get involved in this, anyway?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:59 PM on October 27, 2012


Isn't that sort of the point of Spaced? He and his lady friend have a will-they-or-won't-they thing?

Not reeeeeeally. It does sort of crop up as a subtext in some episodes, but the heart of the show is friendship, not romance. It's one of the clever things about Spaced, actually, that it looks like the premise of "pretending to be a couple" is going to be something completely different to what it actually is. The show promptly seems to forget about it, but then brings it back at the end in a manner that deals with the emotional reality of the deception.

As a side-note, I quite like the apparent initial charmlessness of the characters. They're reflections of personal insecurity and self doubt, not Kevin Smith style fantasy selves. I think the comparison is unfair, but then I would. I like, although I'm not obsessive about, Pegg's work. I despise Smith with a passion that burns like a thousand Breville cheese and bean toasties.

Wait, what? Shakespeare clearly wasn't taking Claudius' side... And neither am I. How did Hamlet get involved in this, anyway?

Ah just my usual thing about people ascribing the traits and beliefs of characters to their authors. I've no idea if Simon Pegg feels anything at all about the Timewarp. The bit that pissed you off is, after all, a joke about how the character is frightened of his youth slipping away from him, rather than a joke at the expense of the Timewarp.

I've enjoyed The IT Crowd and The Bang Theory

I really hate seeing these two in the same sentence. The IT Crowd is a great sitcom with a "geek setting", Big Bang Theory seems to be a grab-bag of geek references looking for a joke.
posted by howfar at 7:12 PM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm such a fan of mid 90s CD Rom games. Something about the jerky motion and pixelated faces of the real life actors is very uncanny valley.
posted by Lieber Frau at 7:19 PM on October 27, 2012


The IT Crowd is a great sitcom with a "geek setting", Big Bang Theory seems to be a grab-bag of geek references looking for a joke.

I've seen more of The IT Crowd than Big Bang Theory, and from what I've seen I do feel like IT Crowd is indeed the better show... But Big Bang Theory has been quite funny in an American sitcom-y way. British and US comedies tend to have very different sensibilities, so comparing the two shows is tricky.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:46 PM on October 27, 2012


Big Bang Theory seems to be a grab-bag of geek references looking for a joke.

It's a fucking Chuck Lorre sitcom, which is why it's literally never funny. It's Two and a Half Manchildren.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:07 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm certainly not down on US sitcom in general. Graham Linehan's favourite (or at least what he usually mentions at his favourite) sitcom is Seinfeld, and (a) I tend to agree with him and (b) the connection between Seinfeld and The IT Crowd is much clearer to me than the connection between The IT Crowd and My Family or the like.

Sitcoms are an odd beast, really, and probably misnamed as a genre. While a set of stable relationships between characters is nearly always vital for a successful sitcom, that situational element is secondary to the relationships and the characters themselves. The situation doesn't provide the comedy, but rather the basis on which the characters can do that. IT Crowd does this well (it's not perfect, but few things are), I've watched half a dozen Big Bang Theory episodes and I don't get that at all.

I will derail any thread talking about sitcom.
posted by howfar at 6:29 AM on October 28, 2012


It's a fucking Chuck Lorre sitcom, which is why it's literally never funny.

Hey, now. The first season of Dharma & Greg was excellent. Sadly, it got focus tested after that and the revisions lost everything that made it charming and fun.
posted by hippybear at 7:28 AM on October 28, 2012


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