“Michael Rennie was ill, The Day The Earth Stood Still
But he told us where we stand
And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear
Claude Rains was the Invisible Man
Then something went wrong for Far Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace
It came from outer space
And this is how the message ran…”
Written by Richard O’Brien
Produced by Lou Adler
Taken from the album The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Original Soundtrack
One of the most appealing things about The Rocky Horror Picture Show is how it recalls a time period and a style of film that is far in the past now. For ‘Science Fiction, Double Feature’, Richard O’Brien pays tribute to the B-movies and cheap horror/sci-fi films that would provide inspiration for his musical. The lyrics are legendary, the melody is, as always, fantastic and the vocal in the film, by Richard himself, is the perfect shade of creepy.
“Science fiction, double feature
Doctor X will build a creature
See androids fighting Brad & Janet
Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
At the late night double feature picture show”
Oh how I wish I could have gone to a science fiction double feature. There’s such an innocence about slightly shit movies that I love, and a quick look at my DVD collection will tell you that although I enjoy a good blockbuster, it’s generally the B-movies that I really love. Something else I really love are good songs, and this combines the two wonderfully, having this heart-achingly effective nostalgia effect for a time that I never ever knew.
As part of Rocky Horror, it sets us up for what comes next, but more than any other song in the musical, it stands up by itself. The iconic red lips of Patricia Quinn (who played Magenta) would come to symbolise the play and the film, and make for a gloriously weird intro to a gloriously weird film. The reprise at the end also sums things up nicely, bringing the song down a notch and making it even more nostalgic than it was at the start. But nothing beats the soaring, sing-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs original.