Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Dark Prank Played On The Cast Of The Rocky Picture Show

It's one of the most famous musical movies of all time, and for good reason. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is a camp classic, largely because it proved to naysayers that musicals could explore different genres and be unashamedly raunchy at the same time. At its core, the film, an adaptation of the 1973 musical "The Rocky Horror Show," is a sexy version of Frankenstein that riffs off B-movie horrors of the 1950s. It's a wildly fun experience — especially if you get to experience seeing it on the stage! — but it's not without some darker, edgier moments.

It might seem a little tamer now compared to modern horror movies, or modern horror musicals for that matter, but "Rocky Horror" still pushes things pretty far at times. In fact, there's a key scene in the film that demonstrates just how unhinged Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) really is. It was staged to get the best reaction from the cast, which isn't an uncommon practice. Ridley Scott did something similar with 1979's "Alien," as Sigourney Weaver and the rest of the cast had no idea that the Xenomorph was about to burst out of John Hurt's chest in that dinner scene (via the Guardian). And it's safe to say that one surprising moment put a lot of the cast off of their food in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

A very real reaction

Dim the lights and cast your mind back to the film, shortly after Frank-N-Furter kills Eddie (Meat Loaf) with a pickaxe. At a dinner scene involving most of the cast, it's implied that the meat they're all eating is actually Eddie's remains, which is pretty horrifying in and of itself. But after a brief outburst over Rocky sleeping with Janet (Susan Sarandon), Frank-N-Furter goes a step further in showing just how dangerous he is, pickaxe murder aside, by pulling back the dinner table's sheet to reveal Eddie's mutilated body. Yikes.

According to "The Rocky Horror Show" musical writer and lyricist Richard O'Brien, who co-wrote "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with director Jim Sharman, Sharman didn't tell the cast that there was a fake corpse inside the table because he wanted to capture their genuine, horrified reactions. O'Brien told the Guardian, "Jim, directing, played pranks on us throughout filming. When Eddie's corpse was revealed under the dining table, it came as a real shock: None of us had been aware that it was there apart from Tim Curry because he was the one who had to whip the tablecloth off. Jim wanted a natural reaction."

Well, it certainly worked a treat given the scream from Susan Sarandon. No wonder she ran straight into Rocky's arms.