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Fun and freaky ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ returns to Hilo’s Palace Theater on Halloween

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Audience members dance during a past Halloween showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Palace Theater in downtown Hilo. Photo courtesy of the Palace Theater.

“It’s the weirdest movie ever made. Seriously.”

That’s one reason 49-year-old Olga Sideleva of Hawaiian Beaches has seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” so many times — on TV and in theaters — she has lost count since moving nearly 20 years ago from Russia to the United States. The last time she watched the movie on TV was after Meatloaf, who plays Eddie in the movie, died earlier this year.

Seeing the movie on TV, however, is nothing like being part of a theater audience and experiencing Brad and Janet’s trip to Transsexual Transylvania while they deal with Frank N. Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta and the gang.

The story is strange. The scenery is smashing. And the cast is completely crazy, but so are the audiences who turn out for theater showings of the cult classic

Sideleva loves participating in the crazy audience antics. She said there is no being shushed or getting the stink eye for talking during the movie. Everybody can yell, scream and curse and even throw stuff around during a showing of “Rocky Horror.”

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“That’s cool,” Sideleva said.

That tradition continues with the Palace Theater in downtown Hilo once again showing the wonderfully weird and fabulously freaky flick on Halloween night.

Palace Director of Communications Marcia Prose said audiences can expect crazy fun, some loud and sometimes rude comments, and an all-around good time.

“Get up and dance to the ‘Time Warp’,” Prose said. “Throw the appropriate things at the right time. … Yell out the lines and other rude remarks.”

Showtime for the 12th annual Halloween screening of the movie is 9 p.m. Oct. 31. Doors open at 7 p.m. and a costume contest hosted by Lady Lily La Douce and Celeste W. Starr starts at 8:15 p.m. The costume contest is limited to the first 25 participants and registration is required. Costumes do not have to be “Rocky Horror” related.

  • Olga Sideleva poses for a photo with her friend Amber Lopez during the 2018 Halloween showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Palace Theater in Hilo. Photo Courtesy: Olga Sideleva.
  • Audience members wait to see a past Halloween showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Palace Theater in Hilo. Photo courtesy of the Palace Theater.
  • Screenshot of poster from IMDB.
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Tickets are $12 in advance or at the door Monday if you are wearing a costume. If not, a ticket costs $15. You can get an audience participation kit for $5 that includes newspaper, a glove, toilet paper, a party hat, party blowers and playing cards. Don’t worry. If you’ve never participated with an audience watching the movie, the kits have all the instructions “Rocky Virgins” need.

Prose, who has seen the movie multiple times and plays “Time Warp” on YouTube sometimes just to get her happy again, said the movie is perfect for Halloween because everyone is in some kind of costume.

Sideleva agreed, saying you can dress up in the craziest makeup and dress up like the characters in the movie — almost naked — “and that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

“And we have aliens!” Prose said.

She said the movie was a complete bomb when it was first released — “no one ‘got it.'” But after it became popular during midnight showings, the film’s following grew. Nearly 50 years after its release in September 1975, “Rocky Horror” is estimated to have grossed more than $120 million dollars in 2021.

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Sideleva said it’s an American tradition. She has seen the movie at the Palace at least five times on Halloween, most often going with friends. When she first came to the Big Island and didn’t have many friends, going to see the film helped her feel like she was part of the community. Plus she got to dress up and have fun.

She said experiencing the film at the downtown theater that was built in 1925 is like seeing a double picture. The Palace has a similar layout and stage curtains as the theater depicted at the end of the movie. Plus, it has that old theater feel.

She said it’s like a theater within a theater watching “Rocky Horror” at the Palace, almost feeling like it’s a mirror gallery.

Sideleva isn’t sure if she’ll make it to this year’s showing — if it was during a weekend it would be easier for her schedule — but she hasn’t ruled it out.

And neither should you.

“Give yourself over to absolute pleasure,” a trailer for the movie says. “See The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

For more information about the Halloween showing at the Palace and the costume contest, click here.

Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, starting out as a reporter and working his way up to become a copy editor and page designer, most recently at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo.
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