35

During the floor show, Riff Raff and Magenta burst into the theater and Riff-Raff sings:

Frank N. Furter, it's all over.
Your mission is a failure;
your lifestyle's too extreme.

I'm your new commander,
you now are my prisoner;
we return to Transylvania -
prepare the transit beam!

Why did the Doctor and his minions come to earth in the first place? Judging by Riff-Raff and his sister's reaction to the creation of Rocky and Dr. Frank N. Furter's distraction with humans, it seems the original mission went awry. Was Frank's original mission ever disclosed? If so, what was it?

  • 1
    I think we all know the answer to that, but it can't be described on a family website. – DJClayworth Mar 28 '13 at 18:13
  • I had deleted this, but after revisiting the deletion in chat, I'm reopening it. – Major Stackings Mar 29 '13 at 21:13
  • 1
    Well, a man with no neck couldn't solve this case, but certainly someone can stick his or her neck out on this one? Not yet? Give it time? – livresque Apr 9 '13 at 2:25
  • Just thought I'd say this but if you look up Rocky Horror Picture Show "Revenge of the Old Queen" (the unmade sequel) you can find out additional information that was never included in the original film. This includes the fact that Frank was a prince, Janet was pregnant with a certain person's kid (I'm sure you know whose) and Riff Raff killed his sister as well as many other things. – user30705 Jul 23 '14 at 21:07
  • Also note that Riff Raff considers their mission completed: "Our mission is completed, my most beautiful sister, and soon we shall return to the moon-drenched shores of our beloved planet." – SQB Jun 9 '16 at 13:14
18

Since the question was asked seriously, I will, despite some urge to the contrary, answer (mostly) seriously.

Unfortunately, my answer is: I don't believe the script of either The Rocky Horror Picture Show or the original Rocky Horror Show give us anything to go on, here. We might possibly surmise that his actual mission really was somehow related to the creation of life, realized in the form of Rocky himself. The only real evidence for this, though, is that Riff Raff and Magenta go right along with him until the end, only turning the tables on him when things get "too extreme".

But this is all inference. There's nothing explicit in the text that tells us what his mission was, and Riff and Magenta's delayed rebellion could just as easily been because they were waiting for the go-ahead from Transylvania.

18

We know the following facts about the Transylvanian mission:

  1. It involved transporting a castle on to the Earth (implied from the fact it was transported back).
  2. The castle contained a fully equipped biosciences lab, a very large deep freeze and a, by all accounts, rather gifted bioscientist at its head.
  3. The castle also contained devices for transduction (petrification), a powerful electromagnet and restraint through rendering the floor sticky.
  4. The mission had attracted the negative attention of the US government.

Now the contents of the castle could well have been stacked full of stuff that was simply the result of Frank's peccadilloes (the purpose of the swimming pool, theatre and zen room all seem somewhat unclear).

I think from the information we have, the most we can say is that the mission most likely involved biological or genetic experiments upon Earth species (most likely humans, given the use to which Frank was able to put the lab). The purpose of that experimentation might be somewhat unclear, but then it often was in the 50s movies which RH(P)S parodies.

12

The Characters' Opinions:

Dr. Scott clearly believes that the mission was not intended to benefit humanity. When Frank'n'Furter uses the Sonic Transducer to immobilize Brad, Janet, Scott, and Rocky, this exchange takes place:

DR. SCOTT: You won't find earth people quite the easy mark you imagine. This sonic transducer - it is, I suppose, some kind of audio-vibratory, physiomolecular transport device....

BRAD: You mean...

DR. SCOTT: Yes Brad. It's something we ourselves have been working on for quite some time. But it seems our friend here has found a way of perfecting it. A device which is capable of breaking down solid matter and then projecting it through space, and - who knows - perhaps even time itself!

JANET: You mean he's gonna send us to another planet?

FRANK: Planet Schmanet, Janet!


Eddie clearly agreed. In the dinner scene, when Scott is singing Eddie's Teddy, he says that Eddie warned him in a note which reads (What's it say, what's it say?):

I'm out of my hed.
O hurry or I may be dead!
They mustn't carry out their evil deeds!

enter image description here

Eddie had inside access to Frank's schemes, more so than any earthling aside from Columbia, so if he considered Frank's plans evil, we should probably take his word for it.



The Possible Missions:

The Sex and Kinkiness:

This was clearly not the mission; it is the reason the mission failed.

Frank N. Furter, it's all over.
Your mission is a failure;
your lifestyle's too extreme.

Frank's lifestyle was only extreme in the sense that he was a hedonist; if hedonism was the mission, it would have been a rousing success.


Creating Rocky:

This was also not the mission - if it had been, the mission would have been considered a success, and Riff-Raff certainly wouldn't have killed Rocky. Frank made Rocky simply because Eddie wasn't attractive enough for him.

FRANK: Oh, I just love success!

RIFF-RAFF: He's a credit to your genius, Master.

FRANK: Yes!

MAGENTA: A triumph of your will.

FRANK: Yes!

COLUMBIA: He's okay!

FRANK: Okay? Okay? I think we can do better than that! Well, Brad and Janet, what do you think of him?

JANET: Well, I don't like men with too many muscles.

FRANK: I didn't make him for you! He carries the Charles Atlas seal of approval!

And after killing his previous sexual plaything Eddie, Frank consoles the traumatized Rocky, explaining why he created Rocky in the process:

FRANK: Oh, don't be upset. It was a mercy killing. He had a certain naive charm, but no muscle.

Later, Riff-Raff confirms that Rocky is merely a diversion, not part of Frank's mission:

Your new playmate is loose and somewhere in the castle grounds.

This explains why Riff-Raff was so hostile to Rocky, literally from the moment he was "born":

enter image description here


The Real Mission:

The Sonic Transducer:

Dr. Scott may have been onto something when he suggested that perfecting the Sonic Transducer was Frank's main objective, but his assessment of what it was intended to be used for is probably wrong. After all, the Transit Beam Riff-Raff mentions when he apprehends Frank projects matter through space, and it was presumably how Frank, Magenta, and Riff-Raff got to earth in the first place, so there was no need to "perfect" it. The Transit Beam and the Sonic Transducer must be two separate devices.

It is important to note that the Transducer has no effect on Magenta, Riff-Raff, and Frank. It only affects Scott, Brad, Janet, Rocky, and Columbia. This suggests that the Transducer only works on earthlings, and is harmless to Transsexuals. Thus, if one wished to build and/or perfect the Transducer, one would need to test it on earthlings. The best way to do that? By going to earth.

What does it do? It bends humans to the will of Transsexual Transylvanians.

4

This have been stewing in my head for... years (sad I know).

But I've come to the conclusion, that it's likely that whatever the mission was (some kind of human experimentation) began with Eddie. He was probably the first attempt at whatever the goal of the original plan was.

Eddie was obviously a normal human but the Doctor has "issues" (perhaps turned one of his assistants against him) and had to be "disposed of." But I think Frankie was close to whatever he was trying to do and used what he learned to create a "perfect" human on which to experiment on (taking the place of Eddie). This is why Riff and Mags go along with it.

All the while, Frankie's lifestyle is becoming more and more "extreme."

When Brad and Janet show up, they basically make two new test subjects that Frankie should be working on (and Riff gives/helps him with this new opportunity), but he's too caught up with Rocky and his own sexual appetites that, instead of experimenting on them, he pulls them into his hedonism.

Seeing that Frank has no intention of continuing with his mission (Eddie, Brad and Janet being his "three strikes") and that he is only concerned with his own pleasure, Riff and Mags commandeer the mission and return to Transylvania.

Does that sound plausible?

  • 1
    I'm not allowed to comment on RHNewb's answer (not enough reputation yet), but I would have to disagree... There are at least TWO reasons for Riff Raff and Magenta assuming command of the mission. As mentioned by RHNewb, the first is "Your mission is a failure," but the second is "Your lifestyle's too extreme." This seems contrary to the idea that they were trying to expose humanity to a life of hedonism. – Justin Kwok Oct 31 '14 at 22:53
2

Another thing that could be mentioned is what the movie parodied itself. It was a play on Frankenstein, which was the creation of life. So we can see from that little nugget that his mission was to create life. Riff Raff killing the doctor shows that the mission was not be be harmful in any way, so the Transylvanians were peaceful.

The Dracula concept of the film should not be viewed though. Marry Shelly's Frankenstein did not have vampires in the original novel; that was a later change for cinema.

2

I personally think the mission was to test the feasibility of liberating Earth from its sexually / morally repressed lifestyle.

The voice-over during Super Heroes basically compares humans to clueless insects infesting the Earth. I think the Transylvanians see us as a more primitive species that needs to be liberated from a way of thinking which essentially keeps us from enjoying life to its fullest. Also there are song lyrics from Frank like "Give yourself over to absolute pleasure," etc that give evidence to this.

It is heavily implied that Frank caused Brad and Janet's flat tire in the film (he breaks the fourth wall with that smile straight into the camera) and I believe the purpose of this was that Brad and Janet were average humans chosen as test subjects. They are exposed to a wild party with all of its bacchanalian excess and observed in person (and by cameras in the film) to see how they respond. I think ultimately they fail this test and show that humanity is not ready for that sort of lifestlye; though they do lose some of their inhibitions along the way, they are all still very conflicted by the end (Brad in Rose Tint: "Help me mommy, take this dream away" etc). I would argue that this is more the reason as to why the "mission was a failure" (as Riff Raff sings in Rose Tint) more so than Frank's murder of Eddie or creation of Rocky, though those played a part as well I'm sure, as Frank has shown himself to be too erratic and self-involved to lead an important mission.

Was this "liberation" for some sort of non-friendly motive? In the song 'Eddie', Eddie sings (paraphrased) that "they can't be allowed to carry out their evil deeds," so at least his character thinks the mission had some sort of evil intent, though that might just be his personal POV because he's somewhat stuck in the past ("Whatever happened to Saturday Night") and resists the sort of change the aliens represent.

At the end, humans having failed the criteria for larger scale exposure to the Transylvanians, the castle is whisked away and the relatively undamaged humans are released back into the wild. Just my two cents.

  • Could you separate this into multiple paragraphs, please? It's very hard to read. – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 10 '14 at 18:15
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit - And edit with an axe to prune out the important points. – Valorum Oct 10 '14 at 18:30
0

When Dr. Frank N. Furter introduces Rocky to "the family", in the musical (but not the picture show), Riff Raff responds with

"He is a credit to my ... your genius."

Then, during the floor show, Dr. Frank N. Furter's mission is declared a failure, but after killing Frank, Rocky, and Columbia, Riff Raff says

"Our mission is completed, my most beautiful sister, and soon we shall return to the moon-drenched shores of our beloved planet."

This leads me to conclude that their mission was the creation of (an imitation of) human life. Riff Raff assisted and actually played a much more important part in it than Frank would care to admit.

But Frank then decides to use the newly created life, Rocky, for his own pleasure, endangering their mission. He is dispatched, as is his creation, but the experiment itself was a success, so Riff Raff considers the mission completed.

  • Unlikely. Seconds after Rocky is born, Riff-Raff begins to torment him by cranking up the device from which Rocky is hanging. Later, he chases Rocky off with a candelabra. Then he kills him. – Wad Cheber Jun 10 '16 at 9:35
0

My theory is that we have reached a level of development as a species that we are beginning to attract attention. It may be a little simplistic on my part, but I think the mission was one of simple observation, genetic sampling, and basic reconnaissance.

It all went wrong from the get go, because of the mind altering effects of the "Time Warp" (as detailed in the song). Apparently, jumping from one galaxy to another will produce a form of schizophrenia which, in the case of mission commander Frank N. Furter (obviously an assumed name), manifested in a psycho-sexual maladjustment, at least by our standards.

Rif and Magenta were also affected, but to a lesser degree. They were able to recover, take what data the team had collected, and call the mission a qualified success. As an extreme punishment for his excesses, Frank was deemed unfit to return to Transexual, but too dangerous to human life to leave as he was.

Rocky, being an aberration, had to be destroyed. Columbia was collateral damage, for which Rif was actually quite sorry, from my point of view.

0

I always thought it was to infiltrate, blend in, and learn as much as possible about Earth society (starting, it seems with old horror movies!). Maybe with a view to widespread colonization, possibly even invasion (unlikely), or cross-breeding. Or maybe it's just exploration. Possibly Frank's biochemical research was part of this mission, but I doubt it - the way it transpires in the movie, it seems that he's just impressing the rest of the Transylvanian expats with his latest bit of cleverness.

But the mission, whatever it is, and the aliens' undercover activities were definitely threatened by Frank's indiscreet dalliances with Earthlings like Eddie, whose disappearance brings the Federal UFO agency (in the person of Dr. Scott) snooping around. By the end of "You're a Hot Dog" it's clear that Frank will do the same to Brad and Janet that he did to Columbia and Eddie, and then move on to further sexual conquests at the expense of their covert operations, so Riff and Magenta decide to pull the plug on the mission, reveal themselves as deep-cover Transylvanian military agents, and return the castle to Transylvania. Riff Raff murdering Frank was his own extra-judicial action, out of jealousy and anger at years of Frank's mistreatment and (presumably) hogging the credit for a lot of Riff Raff's labors.

The other Transylvanian operatives, presumably, are still out there, living among us unsuspecting Earthlings! One of them, at least, managed to carve out a career as a Panto Dame and light entertainer with the unlikely alias of "Christopher Biggins."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.