Friday, June 14, 2024

The Teseracte Players of Boston brings its “Rocky Horror” event to Somerville’s Armory on Halloween. (Photo: Teseracte Players of Boston via Facebook)

As per Halloween tradition, “Rocky Horror” is coming.

Somerville’s Armory gets an 8 p.m. Monday screening and stage show of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” from the Teseracte Players of Boston and music promoter Once Somerville; the first show, last year, sold out. Advance tickets are sold out this year too, even after a Saturday midnight event at the Somerville Theatre, though there are some night-of tickets available; doors open at 7 p.m.

Greater Boston has no shortage of “Rocky Horror” experiences, though, with a considerable amount of them in Cambridge.

The movie got midnight screenings at a Harvard Square cinema every weekend from 1984 until the theater closed in July 2012 and the experience moved to Boston. The Moonbox Productions theater company staged the original “Rocky Horror Show” musical around Halloween in 2019 and 2021, and now the play is at the Central Square Theater through Nov. 26 for seats ranging from $24 to $98. (Moonbox did “Sweeney Todd” instead.)

The story of this 1975 movie adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s original 1973 stage musical, “The Rocky Horror Show,” goes something like this: Brad Majors and Janet Weiss are a young engaged couple stranded near a castle after their car pops a flat tire in the pouring rain. Seeking help, they venture into the estate to find a lavish party hosted by the head of house and resident transvestite alien mad scientist: Dr. Frank-N-Furter. (“Transvestite” because it was the 1970s.) Among the congregation of bedazzled guests and elaborate costumes, Frank reveals his greatest creation – the titular Rocky, a tall blond mountain of muscle meant to be the ideal man. Liberation ensues.

The Armory will screen the movie 8 feet above a stage where the Teseracte Players have plenty of room to act out songs word for word, yell out original callbacks and dance the night away. Audience participation is encouraged. (The Teseracte players plan to bring homemade “shitbags” featuring accessories such as noisemakers, confetti and toilet paper, sold for an additional price.)

It’s a tradition for audiences to dress up as the characters – costumes can be as slutty as possible or carbon copies of what’s on-screen. The point of “Rocky Horror” protocol is to complement the movie, whether that may be shouting callbacks or dancing during the “Time Warp” musical number, but never to be the loudest in the room.

Elyse Brown, marketing administrator for Somerville’s Arts at the Armory, says understanding the subculture of “Rocky Horror” has much to do with the era in which it flourished as a midnight movie: Brown’s generation grew up with decades of bland Hollywood blockbusters. “Rocky Horror” wasn’t like that – it was raunchy, gory and gay, and anything but mainstream. And it was beautiful.

For “virgins” of the phenomenon, watching the 1975 horror-comedy cult classic feels like trespassing on someone else’s inside joke – because every fan has such a personal relationship to these characters.

“Picture Show” is beloved because it’s empowering. The appeal of fitting into the mainstream was lost when viewers realized they could look as good as Tim Curry in a corset and heels – which is why “Rocky Horror” is significant during Halloween. Fans of “Rocky Horror” owe a part of themselves to the movie, and there’s no better way to pay homage to Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his delightful ensemble of guests other than to wear their costumes.

Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of something, and for just a couple hours in a theater, “Rocky Horror” party guests  can forget about life and let their freak flags fly.

“It’s more like a party, with a musical happening underneath,” Brown said.