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Book Review

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Still the Beast is Feeding
Forty Years of Rocky Horror


Authors: Rob Bagnall and Phil Barden
Publisher: Telos Publishing
RRP: £16.99
ISBN: 978 1 84583 082 3
Publication Date: 31 May 2013

The Rocky Horror Picture Show started as a small collaborative musical stage play, created in 1973, which grew and grew, spawning a movie and has remained playing, in one form or another, for the last forty years. The show was the perfect homage to science fiction and B movies in particular.

The show tells the story of Brad and Janet, who one stormy night arrive at the wrong address, the home of cross-dressing Dr. Frank N. Furter, who is holding the Annual Transylvanian Convention. The young couple are drawn in and corrupted by the bohemian lifestyle. Frank's one desire is to conquer death and to this end he creates Rocky.

Still the Beast is Feeding: Forty Years of Rocky Horror by Rob Bagnall and Phil Barden is obviously a labour of love by the two authors, given the depth and breadth of knowledge contained within.

Of course, there have been many books devoted to the show/film, but these tended to either restrict themselves to a single aspect or iteration of the show or quite unnecessarily spent their time on pseudo psychology, trying to fathom the show's appeal. This new tome takes a different route buy chronicling, in detail, the history of the show, from its inception to the present day, detailing its rise from obscure production to cult classic, to being regularly revived.

The book is split into nine lengthy chapters. The whole thing runs to four hundred and sixteen pages. The book also contains an 'Authors Note', a 'Prologue', an 'Introduction' and a 'Bibliography'. It takes you on an exhaustedly researched journey taking in the show's influences, the film, which is now the longest running theatrical release, and its survival as a stage show.

Everyone involved gets a mention and the book is not shy of delving into the controversy around Richard O'Brien being the sole originator, although he did write all of the catchy songs. The book contains personal recollections and new material covering each of the four decades.

Although the book is dense with information the two authors have a relaxed writing style which makes the book a real easy read. Telos has a history of publishing excellent and well researched books on various genres and this one is up with the best. The book can be ordered online from


Charles Packer

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