As you probably know, I went to high school in a suburban Atlanta county in the 1980s. I was one of the “freaks”: the punk rockers, the goths, the skaters and other assorted misfits. Each high school in the county had between 10 to 100 of us “freaks”, and we all kept in close contact with each other. Sometimes we’d hang out at the food court at the local mall, smoking cigarettes and snarling at the moms pushing their babies in strollers. But early on our favorite hang out was the Midnight Movies… and specifically, the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Most “freaks” put their egos aside at the Midnights. It was liberating to be surrounded by our “own kind” and free from the “jockocracy” that all of us dealt with each school day. Rocky Horror was filled with all of the freaks from each high school in the county, and the rednecks watching The Wall or Heavy Metal didn’t dare mess with a theatre full of weirdos in bondage gear and liberty spikes.
But even if most people kept their egos in check, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a pecking order at the Midnights. People that just showed up were cool. People that brought props with them were even cooler. And the people that dressed up and played the roles in Rocky Horror each week were superstars; they were our heroes for 2 hours each week during the film.
Sadly, I found out last night that one of the Rocky Horror superstars from my youth is in prison for murder. I don’t have any details about it yet, so I don’t know if it was a crime of passion, a fistfight gone too far, road rage, ‘roid rage, a horrible miscarriage of justice, or if he’s just plain crazy.
It’s just so…. weird. I know a murderer! Granted, I haven’t seen the guy since 1986, and even back in the day we only hung out at the Midnights or the “after-parties” at Dunkin’ Donuts or IHOP. As best I recall, we might have gone to the mall together once, and that was more of a “one guy with a car picks up a bunch of friends without cars” thing than an actual “planned outing” or anything like that. But still… It almost gives me the willies. I know a murderer!