The Rocky Horror Picture Show Opening That Was Rejected By The Studio

I was 14 years old when I snuck into my first screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and fell so deeply in love with the communal experience and ridiculous movie that I've since been in two different shadow casts and performed in the live stage production three different times. I'm that a-hole who is incapable of not screaming callbacks every time someone plays "The Time Warp" at a wedding, and I am a loyal evangelist who has been begging people to watch the unofficial sequel "Shock Treatment" for years. Despite it being a British creation, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has become a staple of American cinema, with many people absorbing facts, quotes, and iconography purely by pop cultural osmosis.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is a notoriously imperfect perfect film, with the mistakes, blunders, and questionable choices all adding to the show's appeal. The technical blemishes are part of the film's recipe for success, and it's hard to imagine that the studio had any complaints or notes during production, considering how many mistakes and absurd decisions made it into the final product. Which studio suit had something to criticize when Meat Loaf's black eye switches on his face depending on the scene? Who dared to tell Richard O'Brien what he could or couldn't do while paying no mind to the fact Susan Sarandon's feet absolutely leave the ground when her character Janet (SLUT!) was supposed to be stuck to the floor? Well, apparently someone had something to say, because the opening was originally supposed to look completely different.

The Original Opening was in Black and White

The opening song of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is the love-letter to B-Movies, "Science Fiction/Double Feature." Most of the titles featured were films shot in black and white, which would have been a perfect lead-in for what director Jim Sharman and production designer Brian Thomson had originally intended. While the team was coming up with the overall look of the film, the creative team originally wanted to film the entire opening act in black and white, with the first color seen on screen being the lips of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) once he appears in the elevator following "The Time Warp."

The idea was to really hammer home that Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet were living in a bland, boring world, and meeting the illustrious Dr. Frank N. Furter would bring the vibrancy they were lacking.

The color shift choice would have tracked perfectly with the storyline, but it ultimately feels like the studio made the right call with this because thinking about watching the red lips singing "Science Fiction/Double Feature" without any of the red feels sacrilegious.