LOS ANGELES—Longtime fans of the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show reported this week that after 30 years of religiously attending midnight showings of the film, they no longer have the energy to put on red wigs, bras, and lipstick and yell things at a movie screen until two in the morning.
Describing the never-ending ritual of gathering together with fellow fans and re-watching the camp musical comedy as "tiring" and "frankly, a little pathetic," thousands of once-obsessed Rocky Horror fans across the country made it known that their enthusiasm for the whole cult following in general was beginning to wane.
"I'm just exhausted," said Los Angeles attorney Chris Bendel, 51, who has viewed the film with dozens of other mainly middle-aged audience members on an estimated 246 separate occasions. "Sure, there was a time when the idea of standing up in my seat and singing along with 'Dammit Janet' seemed like the greatest thing in the world, but now the mere thought of having to do it all again next week actually fills me with dread. I am a grown man. What am I doing?"
"The last screening I went to I sat there the entire time thinking, 'This movie isn't even that great and I kind of feel like an asshole,'" Bendel added.
Citing hours of missed sleep, thousands of dollars wasted on props and costumes, and an overall leveling out of whatever crazed, youthful energy got them so obsessed in the first place, the entire extended fan base of the film has called for a rethinking of the midnight-screening premise itself.
"Would it kill them to play it three or four times a year instead of every single week?" asked Tom McDougal, 47, who claimed that after a long day at work, staying up all night with 40 near-strangers dressed as sweet transvestites was "not exactly thrilling" anymore. "How about maybe doing a matinee every once in a while? Jesus Christ, I fell asleep last week during 'Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me.'"
In addition, numerous Rocky Horror enthusiasts stated this week that the dozens of audience-participation rituals invented for the screenings over the years had long ago lost their magic, and were now simply a chore.
Fan Deborah Wright, 39, announced that she will no longer be going to Shop 'n Save to pick up a loaf of bread in order to make toast to throw at the screen when the line "A toast!" is spoken. And Chicago-area computer programmer Rob Levin told reporters he was tired of bringing bags of rice, hot dogs, and toilet paper to local screenings, citing the fact that he is a 47-year-old man with a wife and child.
"I actually go out and spend money on supplies for this thing," Levin said. "Supplies. For a movie. How idiotic is that?"
Rocky Horror fan club president Sal Piro addressed concerns at a press conference Monday, saying that he shared fans' growing lack of interest, and that the film itself was to blame.
"Look, for decades there wasn't a bigger Rocky Horror nut on the planet than me," Piro said. "But my tastes have changed over time, and I've got to be honest with myself: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is actually a pretty irritating movie, and the music, while admittedly catchy on first listen, really starts to grate over time. And dressing up like Dr. Frank-N-Furter or Riff Raff and prancing around like an over-caffeinated teenager doesn't make the movie any better, it just compounds everything that is already annoying about it."
"So really, this whole thing has been a colossal waste of time," Piro continued. "And now it appears as though the better part of my life is over, so, there you go. There's your fucking 'time warp' right there.