At the stroke of midnight last night, thousands of Brads and Janets took a step to the left, than a step to the right to put Hamilton into transsexual Transylvania-land with the unveiling of a statue celebrating

The Rocky Horror Picture Show


Hamilton is where the show's English-born creator, Richard O'Brien, watched horror and science-fiction movies as a youth and developed a love for rock'n'roll.

Last night, the 62-year-old led the Time Warp at the old Embassy Theatre site to unveil the bronze statue of transvestite Riff Raff, nearly 30 years after creating one of theatre's great cult musicals.


Hamiltonians swapped mooloo bells for fishnet stockings and flocked to a party in Victoria St to welcome the $125,000 statue.

It is the first public artwork by Weta Workshops, special effect creators for big budget movies such as

The Lord of the Rings


Master and Commander


Besides appearing as Riff Raff in the original stage production, O'Brien, nicknamed Ritz, has appeared on stage in



The Little Shop of Horrors


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


"It's a big thing having a statue. You generally used to have to go overseas and kill people and plant the flag in somebody else's land before you got a statue," he said this week.

O'Brien's family moved to Tauranga from England in 1952 after his father decided to trade accountancy for sheep farming. He returned to England 12 years later.

Inspired by his teenage love of B-movies and rock'n'roll, he penned

Rocky Horror

, which premiered on a London stage in 1973. The movie, made two years later, also became a cult favourite.

The annual convention of

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

will be held in Hamilton next year, on its 30th anniversary.

Riff Raff's statue sparked heated debate when it was first mooted. One councillor feared Hamilton would become known as "queer city" or "transsexual town", and some newspaper letter writers said it was not suitable for children to see the statue.