My first experience with Rocky Horror and Amherst Cinema

Let’s do the time warp

Collegian+File+Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Shannon Moore, Collegian Contributor

I’ve wanted to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” since I read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in middle school. In the book, the show is associated with freedom and finding your group, which I craved desperately at the time. I heard whispers about so-called virgins, aka first-timers, doing the “time warp.” It sounded incredible, and I wanted to live out my coming-of-age movie dreams. I told myself I would see the movie in theaters as soon as I could.

I finally made my middle school dreams come true this Halloween at Amherst Cinema. My friend Lizzie and I arrived at the theater about 20 minutes before the show started, people already lined up to get in. I was beyond excited seeing fellow moviegoers decked-out in costumes and Rocky Horror-esque outfits while we waited to have our tickets checked.

Amherst Cinema asks for proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours before checking in your ticket, a measure of safety that was greatly appreciated. I’ll do whatever it takes to get back to the movies safely without hesitation, and the extra measure of caution by Amherst Cinema was greatly appreciated.

Once inside, we walked past the concession stand, filled with your usual candy, popcorn and alcoholic beverages for those over 21 years old. The theater itself was decently sized with stadium seating, my personal favorite. As the minutes went by, the crowd grew until every seat was full. The audience was buzzing with excitement, and I overheard other people remark it was their first time seeing the movie too.

At 7 p.m., executive director Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer came to the front of the theater to greet us. She remarked how it was the theater’s first sold-out show since the start of the pandemic. She said that despite having no shadow cast (people who act out the movie in front of the screen), everyone was encouraged to participate to their heart’s content.

I sat in awe as the audience sang along to the song’s opening lyrics, adding commentary in the pauses to make the next line funnier than the last. I soon joined in, yelling “asshole” at the top of my lungs every time Brad’s name was mentioned and laughing at Mr. No Neck. I hopped up on my feet and did the time warp with joy, immediately feeling accepted alongside “Rocky Horror” super fans. The movie itself was incredible, and the audience environment made it that much better.

My favorite part of the night was seeing the joy of Amherst Cinema employees. Throughout the movie, employees checked in and watched the audience, their happiness visible despite the masks. At one point, Eisenhauer brought in a folding chair and sat with the audience, eager to share in the “Rocky Horror” fun. She didn’t have to come sit with us, she didn’t even have to talk to us before the movie began, but she wanted to.

The employees at Amherst Cinema truly cared about making this night a great, safe experience for everyone. I realized that Chin Eisenhauer and the wonderful Amherst Cinema employees love movies as much as I do, that they were just as happy to be back as I was.

These are the types of businesses we need to support. Ones that truly care about everyone’s movie experience and want to share in our joy. Amherst Cinema has four theaters that show movies currently in theaters, with special events like “Rocky Horror” and more every month. They even offer “Masked Mondays,” when only a quarter of seats are sold and concessions aren’t allowed, offering a chance to return to the movies to even the most COVID-19 cautious folks. Every theater is wheelchair accessible and offers assistive audio and visual technology upon request. Amherst Cinema cares deeply about ensuring everyone has the movie theater experience they know and love.

The whimsy of “Rocky Horror,” the company of my wonderful friend and Amherst Cinema made my Halloween great. It’s clear they care about bringing movies back in the safest way possible while keeping the magic of cinema alive.

Viewers can learn more about the services Amherst Cinema offers on their website. You’ll be sure to see me there again soon.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].