One of the strangest phenomena in cinema history, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, was released 40 years ago last month. When the movie musical came out, it was greeted with a lukewarm reception and was destined to fade into B-Movie obscurity. But then some smart theaters began showing it as a midnight movie and audiences began to not only embrace its utter campiness, but acting out the movie and responding to the characters during the showings. A culture developed around these screenings and people were watching the movie again and again: hundreds of times in many cases!
I just checked my local theater listings and sure enough, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is still playing at midnight movies. I am pretty sure it has played in theaters non-stop for 40 years! To be honest, it’s not the greatest movie, especially if you’ve ever watched it at home. The first half is fun and the songs are good, but then it just seems to drag in the second half. But that doesn’t matter when you see it at a midnight movie. The real show is the audience interaction!
So I made this week’s project with a little nostalgia for times in the 80s when going to see and participate in Rocky Horror at midnight on a Friday was an exciting thing we did.
I used pallet wood for the Rocky Horror Wall Art because its uneven nature gives a texture to the lips. Placing the boards vertically seems to suggest natural lip cracks.
After cleaning the boards up by running them through my planer, I tapered them into slight wedge-shaped pieces. I used my Microjig Tapering Jig, but it wouldn’t be that difficult to rig up a tapering jig. These tapers aren’t really necessary. I just think they give the lips a nicer look: the lips sort of radiate outward.
I arranged cut the boards then cut down to smaller pieces.
I taped the template together and taped one side to a piece of hardboard (Masonite). Then I drew a rough outline of the lips with chalk.
This gave be an indication of where to glue the boards.
Once they were dry, I cut out the inside of the mouth. I didn’t cut right to the line on the lower lip…I left some room for cutting it more exactly later.
Next, I lined up all the lower lip boards. The two end pieces required cutting to fit the wedge.
With these glued in place, I used spray adhesive to attach the lower half of the template and cut out the rest of the mouth opening.
I cut the outside of the lips using my bandsaw and sanded everything smooth. I rounded over all the sharp edges with my random orbit sander.
I cut out the teeth and shaped them on my sander until they fit snugly.
The key to painting these lips and giving them life, is applying highlights and shadows. I used white and black spray paint respectively on top of a base coat of red for the lips and white for the teeth. I cut an additional hardboard backer board and painted it black.
I glued and screwed the backer board to the back of the lips and glued the four teeth in place.
If you would like to make this wall hanging, download this pdf. There are 6 pages you will need to align and tape together.