What's a mere 25 years when you're stuck in a singing, dancing, cross-dressing time warp? Rocky Horror is a phenomenon. It's astounding no longer. But every bit as irresistible. There's the camp, the colour, the natural desire to take a jump to the left and a step back to a time that took us back to another time when sci-fi, horror and popular music relied on galactic-sized dollops of kitsch. But the key to its success (no, not B. Major!) is simple: damn fine theatrical rock 'n' roll.
The cover of the CD, like the opening of the film, sports a pair of impossibly voluptuous, scarlet lips. As they chronicle - in shapely melody atop a satin musical bed - the best of B-Grade, a menage a trois of acoustic guitar, music hall piano, and serpentine bass provide verse-foreplay until the strings swirl and the horns blow into a saxy, sexy chorus.
It's a soundtrack that seduces us from the start, and we don't have to wait long for the first climax. I often bemoan haphazard compilations of songs and dialogue but here each excerpt adds a perfect sense of antici . . . pation. Admittedly, it's easier with a musical, but The Time Warp drives us pleasurably insane again all the more easily for Riff Raff's "Special Night" prelude to the familiar, Chuck Berry-style riff-cum-Raff.
Not to mention the contributions of dear old Charles Gray (by name and charisma) who already seemed to be talking to us from beyond the grave with his deadpan earnest narration. He really has departed now, but not without leaving a legend.
Then there's that Sweet Transvestite with the awesomely sonorous voice. Tim Curry's (not to be mixed with Rice) introduction is virtuoso silliness and delicious decadence par excellence.
Moreover, if Science Fiction, Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite are the musical highlights, nothing suggests "future Oscar winner" quite like an undies-clad Susan Sarandon chirruping "Touch me, touch me/I wanna be dirty".
And if that still isn't enough to put a thrill in you Frank 'N' Furter, this 25th anniversary release comes with a galaxy of extra goodies: Sword of Damacles (missing from the original release), The Time Warp 1989 remix, the audio of the original trailer, and two early radio ads (with appalling recording quality and oodles of absurd charm).
Best of all, if donning the fishnets and suspenders for The Late Night Picture Show has finally become passe, the Karaoke version of Sweet Transvestite is the perfect excuse to unlock your J. Edgar Hoover wardrobe, your best pelvic thrust and your latent, stentorian baritone - all in the privacy of your own living room."