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10 Ways To Participate In The Rocky Horror Picture Show
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10 Ways To Participate In The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Picture of Daniel Rechtschaffen
Updated: 21 December 2016
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a midnight movie famous for its audience participation. There are a million ways to get involved, and audience members are always encouraged to continue finding creative new ways to join in the show. Nevertheless, there remain several core traditions that should be followed. Here is a list of the ten most popular ways to participate.

Rice

Immediately after the disembodied lips finish the opening number ‘Science Fiction – Double Feature,’ viewers are transported to Betty and Ralph’s wedding. When the wedding procession exits the church, join in the celebrations and throw your rice up in the air.

Interesting fact: The lips actually belong to Patricia Quinn — the actress who plays Magenta.

Water Pistols

It’s pouring out when Brad and Janet’s car breaks down. They decide to try for a telephone at a castle a few miles back down the road. To simulate the rain, people in the back rows should bust out some water guns and shoot them up over the audience.

Interesting fact: The broadcast that is heard on the car radio right before it breaks down is Richard Nixon’s resignation speech.

Newspapers

Of course, with the water guns raining down on the audience, the people in the front and middle rows will need something to protect themselves. In the movie, Janet decides to use a newspaper and so should members of the audience. Hold a newspaper over your head to stop your hair from getting wet.

Interesting fact: The newspaper Janet holds over her head is The Plain Dealer, which is actually the premier newspaper of Cleveland, Ohio.

Flashlights

Luckily for Brad and Janet, they don’t trudge through the rain too long before seeing the Frankenstein castle. A light in one of the windows — a true godsend — helps them find the way. During the line, ‘There’s a light, over at the Frankenstein place,’ turn on your flashlight or lighter and raise it up.

Interesting fact: Original audiences at the Waverly Theater in the 1970s used candles, but these have been abandoned by most venues due to fire hazard.

Rubber Gloves

Dr. Frank-N-Furter dons a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves right before bringing Rocky Horror to life (the gloves are pink, naturally). Whilst giving his speech about creation, he snaps them three times. Put your own gloves on with Frank and be sure to snap them when he does.

Interesting fact: Magenta later pulls these gloves off Frank’s hands. People dressed up as Magenta at real life screenings sometimes don’t participate in the glove snapping tradition so that they can assist in glove removal.

Noisemakers

Frank’s speech is such an inspiration that the members of the convention break out in cheers and applause. More noticeably, they erupt into a cacophony of noisemakers. At this point, you should join in the ovation and heartily shake your noisemaker. Just be sure to stop when Frank cuts you off.

Interesting fact: Many theaters who regularly host The Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings will sell participation kits in the lobby. These kits generally include everything you’ll need to participate, including noisemakers.

Confetti

After Frank brutally murders Eddie, Frank and Rocky evanesce to the master bedroom. The conventionalists throw confetti as Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March‘ plays. Grab your own confetti and fling it up to celebrate the love between a man and his creation.

Interesting fact: If you look closely, you’ll notice that Rocky doesn’t have a belly button. The actor’s belly button was intentionally covered up since Rocky is supposedly created by Frank and wouldn’t have had an umbilical cord.

Toilet Paper

Dr. Everett Scott comes to the castle in search of his nephew, Eddie (who was previously murdered by Frank). When he bursts through the wall into the lab, Brad cries out ‘Great Scott!’ At this point, send a roll of toilet paper flying across the room.

Interesting fact: The reason that Dr. Scott crashes through the wall is that the set designers had forgotten to build a doorway into the lab. Apparently, crashing through the wall was the next best way in.

Party Hats

Frank hosts a dinner to celebrate Rocky’s birthday. After his toast, he puts on a party hat. Audience members should put on their own party hats. However, they don’t necessarily need to be on top of your head; covering your face, behind your head, or over your breasts are all acceptable alternatives.

Interesting fact: In the middle of the birthday dinner, Frank erupts and pulls off the tablecloth, revealing the table beneath to be an open coffin containing Eddie’s remains. The cast members weren’t told this would happen, and their cries of abject horror are real.

Playing Cards

After the nude statue cabaret (and pool scene, from which the actress playing Janet, Susan Sarandon, famously got pneumonia during filming), Frank takes center stage and sings ‘I’m Going Home.’ During the line ‘Cards for sorrow,’ throw a deck of cards up into the air.

Interesting fact: According to Sal Piro, the president of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club, the first person to do this was Lori Davis (one of the audience members at the original midnight screening in 1976). She showed up one night at the Waverly Theatre with cards and the tradition was born.