LET'S DO the "Time Warp" again. And again. And again . . .

We just did the 20th anniversary of "Jesus Christ Superstar." Now it's the 15th anniversary of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," that other monument of '70s shlock-rock-mutant-movie-musicals.

And suddenly "Rocky's" popping up all over -- on stage, on screen -- and, all too soon, even invading the privacy of our own homes.

I feel you shiver with antici . . .


. . . pation.

Just in time for Halloween, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," the Ultimate Midnight Movie, is returning from the crypt to sweep up all the bucks it missed the first time around.

Actually, it never really went away.

After flopping rather loudly on its initial release in 1975, this warped cult flick (a cult of several million members) has been in continuous international exhibition (including a nine-year run at Georgetown's Key Theatre) and has grossed more than $150 million. It's a national experience.

"Gone With the Wind" didn't play nine years at one theater, for heaven's sake.

For you "virgins" (that's "Rocky Horror" lingo for anyone who hasn't seen the movie) out there, it's a mad merger of "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" and "It Came From Outer Space." In this self-consciously spoofy story, all-American nerds Brad and Janet fall into the campy clutches of transvestite mad doctor Frank N. Furter from the planet Transylvania, and his lascivious gender-blending groupies, Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia.

After the movie began its midnight runs, dressing up in fishnets and lipstick and learning the lines to "Rocky Horror" became a teenage rite of passage. Kids came to see it hundreds of times, memorized it, acted it out, threw rice at it. They even got married at it.

And wave after wave of teenagers has been infected with "Rocky Horror" fever, handing it down to their younger brothers and sisters to this day like some sort of demented family tradition.

Now the movie, still an audience participation phenomenon in multiplexes all over America (it's showing at about 175 theaters nationwide, including the K-B Cerberus in Georgetown and Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax), is being released Nov. 8 on home video (suggested list price $89.95). Finally, consenting closet Rockymaniacs can throw rice and scream at the screen in the safety and privacy of their own rumpus rooms.

As if that weren't enough, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has chosen "The Rocky Horror Show," the original 1973 rock revue that inspired the movie, as its first musical; the show previews on Monday. With this R-rated, audience participation-invited revival, the downtown troupe is bent on rivaling "Shear Madness" in the long-run department (a London revival of the musical continues strong in the West End). And at least three area nightclubs are sponsoring "Rocky"-related Halloween parties.

Rhino Records recently released a four-cassette/CD anniversary edition of the many recorded versions of "Rocky Horror," including the film soundtrack, the original Los Angeles cast album, a collection of rarities and songs that never made the movie and a sampler of international editions, such as songs by the Norwegian and New Zealand casts and four numbers from Mexico's "El Show de Terror de Rocky." CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

"It's gross," says Evelyn Jason, spokesman for K-B Theatres, warning a potential visitor to the K-B Cerberus Saturday night. "Wear your raincoat."

The lights go down, and the Cerberus courtesy credits come up. The first one says "LOUD TALKING IS DISTURBING TO OUR PATRONS," and it is read shriekingly aloud by the cast.

"Yeah, we wouldn't want to disturb you now, would we?" sneers one girl.

There are about 50 people in the house tonight, and only 10 or 15 of them are running the show-within-a-show. The rest of us are at their mercy.

Meanwhile, at the Fair Oaks multiplex, every other teenager in the lobby seems to be wearing a skull-emblazoned Misfits T-shirt, and the new color remake of "Night of the Living Dead" seems to be siphoning off some of tonight's "Rocky" box office.

"We've got two veterans and four virgins with us tonight," says Tricia Klaus, who once met "Rocky" star Tim Curry in the Russian Tea Room and says she's "lost count" of the number of times she's seen the movie. Tonight, Klaus has brought along her husband Bob, who has never seen the show in their six years of marriage.

"Just think, I'm a virgin again," says Bob.

In the lobby, Wesley Sly, 17, smears his face (and anyone who passes by) with black paint and rechecks the necessary props and provisions in his voluminous duffel bag one last time. "We got the rice, the toilet paper, the squirt guns, the macaroni . . ."

But all of Sly's careful preparations come to naught when his bag of tricks is nabbed by uniformed security guard Jim McIntyre.

"They've become a bit destructive. This is mostly an intimidation factor," says McIntyre, who is posted at the theater every weekend to confiscate contraband squirt guns and tossables. "We usually get the usual -- rice, toast, toilet paper. Once I got a Thompson submachine gun-type squirtgun. We remove the trashcan because they always roll it down the aisles."

McIntyre owns up to seeing "Rocky" four times, the first time while on duty.

Lights dim, an expectant hush, roll credits: The film is in backwards. The projection stops. When it comes back on, and a pair of enormous red lips is singing "Science Fiction" under the credits, the "participation" is dominated by a pair of aggressively loud guys in Mack baseball caps, intimidating a gaggle of thirtysomethings sitting nervously, newspapers at the ready.

"Rocky" still does its work: Here's the wedding scene, and here comes the flying rice. Now it's the rainstorm scene, and up go the newspapers, out come the few squirtguns that made it past McIntyre. Then the film jams and breaks, and while the lights are up, the thirtysomethings pelt each other with leftover rice.

Soon it's time to do the Time Warp, dancing in the dark. "Put your hands on your hips," sings the cast as the small audience leaps tentatively about in front of the screen. "Your own hips!" snaps someone at an overeager participant.

At one point, someone hunkers beneath the screen and repeatedly lunges upward, pretending to violate the deep cleft in the onscreen Narrator's chin, while the crowd eggs him on with an unprintable chant.

"I don't remember that!" Klaus says. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SATURDAY NIGHT?

"We sold out every Friday and Saturday night for years," says David Levy, owner of the Key Theatre, where "Rocky Horror" played for nine years of weekend bacchanals up to the film's 10th anniversary in 1985. And they were good years, with a regular troupe of "actors" recreating the movie parts in front of the screen, and unforgettable moments like the time a motorcycle rumbled down the center aisle just as Meatloaf roared on screen astride his chopper.

But somewhere it all went sour.

"Attendance was down for one thing; it was over," Levy says. "But it just became an excuse for people to shout obscenities. There was nothing fun about it anymore. It was really kind of depressing."

And then there was the obvious link between "Rocky Horror" and maintenance problems, a woe echoed by other theater owners.

"I remember going down one Saturday night and the amount of newspaper and confetti and toilet paper and debris was halfway up my leg," Levy says. "After about five years, the thing with the eggs came in, they started throwing eggs at the screen. We had to replace the whole screen at the Charles {Theater in Baltimore}. At the Narrow in Norfolk, they have a pulldown screen they use just for 'Rocky.' With this movie, you could do $2,000 business, which is great for a weekday night. But then you have to buy a new screen for $13,000. It just wasn't worth it. I have absolutely no regrets about not showing it anymore."

Maybe it's just that the show has finally exhausted its novelty, but at recent screenings it's been hard not to see the degeneration of the "Rocky" reaction as yet another sad sign of the times. What used to be clever and communal is now just crass and clique-ish, a rude, lewd cross between Mort Downey Jr. and 2 Live Crew. Saddest of all, the movie's welcoming embrace of pleasure and nonconformity, its sweetly subversive, liberating message of "Don't dream it -- be it," goes missing these days, with an unfocused misogynistic, homophobic fear and mistrust in its place.

Still, there remain those hopeful few and their virgin friends, still looking to "give {them}selves over to absolute pleasure." IT WAS GREAT WHEN IT ALL BEGAN

"I certainly never thought I'd still be talking about it 15 years later," says Richard O'Brien, creator of "The Rocky Horror Show" and the original Riff Raff on stage and screen.

O'Brien, now a "major game-show host" back in England, was an actor who appeared in "Hair" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" before penning his own rock-horror effort, "a show that we ourselves would like to go see . . . It was to be a collection of all the things that give you a buzz."

He's never been terribly fond of the movie. "If I looked at it as a piece of cinema, I wouldn't ever say to anybody that this is one of the greatest movies ever made. As a seminal piece of movie art it's . . . it's pretty . . . mediocre? But it does have a nice surreal quality to it, and it is a musical and I do love film musicals."

In the beginning there was no audience participation, he insists. "Oh no. Oh no. Ohnonono. It was just a straightforward musical comedy when we did it originally. That stuff showed up with the movie. I didn't anticipate it at all."

Despite all the current hoopla around "Rocky," the show in all its manifestations has never made O'Brien a rich man.

"Let me just say that I haven't ever made a lot of money out of 'Rocky,' but I'm not at all disappointed," he says. "Money has never been a god; I've never been poor. It was the first thing I'd ever written, so obviously you're in no position to negotiate big fees or anything. But I'd rather have three percent of something than 100 percent of nothing, know what I mean?"

After the hubbub dies away, O'Brien will go back to his work of the moment, writing a "Rocky" sequel for Fox. "It's set 15 years on, in 1990. But I'm not giving you any clues about them all, sorry. Well, OK, most of them are dead. Riff Raff will be around, you can be assured of that," he says, and laughs. WILD AND UNTAMED THING

When it was released in 1975, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" wasn't a big hit.

"That's putting it nicely," says Lou Adler, the movie/music mogul who, after seeing "The Rocky Horror Show" onstage at London's Royal Court Theatre, imported it to America, first producing it at the Roxy in Los Angeles, then bankrolling the movie, a resounding flop on its first run.

"The first place I previewed the film was Santa Barbara and a good two-thirds of the audience walked out on it. Afterwards, we were sitting on the curb, as dejected as any filmmaker who had been with the project for so long.

"But then there were those five or six people who came up and said 'It's great, thanks for making it, we've never seen anything like it.' We didn't pick up on it because we were so down, but it should have given the hint that we had made the film for someone. When you release a film for the first time, you're going for the broadest potential audience; it never enters your mind that you might be making a cult film. If that's what your intention is, you fail. But 'Rocky' eventually found its own audience."

And after 15 years of mining midnight gold alongside the likes of "Reefer Madness" and "Pink Flamingos," "Rocky Horror" has lasted through five administrations at Fox, and a couple in the United States, says Adler, who is also responsible for Cheech & Chong, another '70s phenomenon that refuses to die. He explains: "Take the New Kids On The Block. When their fans grow out of that, there won't be any new kids of that age that pick it up. Whereas in 'Rocky Horror,' it's almost a rite of passage: You reach a certain age, and you're drawn to it. And it is passed on, as proven from father to son, or son to sister, or sister to younger brother. It's not like everyone in that theater is 80 years old."

"The video is going to get to a much broader market quicker," says Adler, who insisted the video package begin with a short trailer promoting the theatrical experience of the movie He blames the long delay in the video's release on corporate concern over how the video would affect the film's theatrical fortunes. "The video is something totally different, and what I expect is it will open the door to some of those people that might not have ventured out after midnight, or might have passed the theater, saw this crowd, and weren't sure they wanted to go in. Behind closed doors, who knows what will happen?"

Adler says video dealers will only have one day to place their orders, a squeeze-play marketing move that betrays either corporate confidence in or concern over the movie's sales potential.

"They'll have to stock whatever they think will carry them through a moratorium of at least two years. After that, I guess it may or may not be rereleased; I guess it would depend on the times. I didn't want it to become just another title they would order some of and say 'Oh, this was good, let's get some more.' And for an impact, I wanted it all to come at once."

National "Rocky Horror" fan club president Sal Piro, who authored the history "Creatures of the Night" (Stabur Press, $15.95) says he welcomes the video, but has a warning for would-be "Rocky" fans.

"Only the times in a theater count," says Piro, who claims 1,300 viewings. "If you only see it on video, you're still a virgin." DON'T DREAM IT, BE IT

"They're gonna run me out of town," says Jeff Church, director of the Woolly Mammoth show, gleefully recounting some of the outrages he and his cast intend to perpetrate on stage.

"The other day {actor} Rob Roy put his toe in {actress} Robin Baxter's ear. We're keeping that. There's so many simple things to do that look so decidedly . . . kinky."

Kinky. There's a '70s word for you.

"This is a story set in a pervert's parlor proscenium theater," says the infectiously excitable, deceptively cherubic-looking Church, describing his concept for the play. "And the Narrator's our host, and he's allowed a maverick weird experimental doctor and his sort of groupies to come in and do his experiments, and because he's a voyeur, that's what he gets in return. This doctor has some trouble in his ranks, some spies, who ultimately want control of that lab."

Church suggests that the play shines a light in some of the darker corners of '90s attitudes. "There's the whole Moral Majority thing, this crowd saying your lifestyle is too extreme. 'Society must be protected' is the way one character puts it. Also I believe what's '90s about it is you put on rubber gloves in this day and age, and suddenly it says a whole other thing, doesn't it? So we have all these rubber gloves in the show, and we're running around at the end fumigating the place, before we beam back to Transylvania, and there are body bags.

"We're literally just supporting the text, even though we're informed completely by the '70s in all of our design choices -- but so are the '90s now, aren't they? I mean we've got tie-dyes, bell bottoms . . . We're trying to get it so that people will have to think: 'Did they set it in the really hip '90s sort of way, or is it retro?' It's really blurred. This show's time just came," says Church.

"This is so big for us, it's twice as big, twice as expensive as doing a play, so we really had to evaluate it," says Howard Shalwitz, artistic director of Woolly Mammoth. Shalwitz is paying for a choreographer, music director, scenic designer, 11 actors and a "cross-dress consultant."

"It's so energizing for the theater. See, the movie experience is reflecting right back onto the play. The 'Rocky' show is really the audience, not the movie."

In fact, the main lure -- and risk -- for Woolly Mammoth, is the audience participation, which Church is working into the script. During rehearsals, the show's techies and any actors who happen to be offstage shout the audience's comebacks -- as carefully scripted as anything else in the show -- back at the stage. The theater will sell "official prop kits" ($3) in the lobby, with a cue sheet, confetti, noisemakers, newspaper, surgical gloves, playing cards, a mini flashlight and foam toast.

"We can't have water or rice; the actors would kill themselves," Shalwitz says. "And they can't throw toast, because the rats would be all over the place. So we use foam toast. You do get real little flashlights, though."

Church says the musical will only have two matinees, "because we're convinced that the 11:30 shows will be a bigger draw. In fact, {music director} R. L. Rowsey told me 'I only want the best people. It's like I want to invite the 11:30 crowd -- they should be handpicked.' He wants it to be a very inside thing. Maybe with a doorman, like at a nightclub, selecting who gets in. It would be great."

Rowsey, a big guy with lots of '70s rock-star hair which he's going to dye blue for the show, plays keyboards in the show's trio perched above the set, a sort of haunted castle/movie palace with lots of curtains and a stage border of decapitated Day-Glo baby dolls. Other members of the cast are undergoing similarly startling transformations for the show: Actor Chris Lane, who plays Rocky the man-made monster with the body beautiful "does the bodybuilding thing and the tanning booth every single day." Robin Baxter plays Frank N. Furter's acolyte Columbia as a hermaphrodite, half dark male, and half blond female.

For Woolly company member Grover Gardner, who plays Frank, the biggest challenge -- besides learning to strut in heels -- is tackling a role virtually defined by Tim Curry in the movie.

"But Grover is so undaunted by it," says Church, who has urged the actor to portray Frank as a sort of mutant Liza Minelli. Last weekend, Gardner got married to actress Lee Mikeska in her garden in the afternoon; then he put on his fishnets and makeup and got married to Lane that night in rehearsal.

Church says he was looking for "free and uncensored" actors when he cast the show.

"Clearly we have to tap into being juvenile and being sleazy. At the same time these are professional actors and they have craft. You blend the two together and that's a pretty funky hybrid," he says.

Thus Woolly Mammoth's "Rocky Horror Show" features lots of actors cavorting in all sorts of underwear, if you go in for that sort of thing. The director is confident that there's an audience out there which does.

"I've had a hundred people come up to me and say 'I'm the only person in America who's never seen the movie,' " Church says. "They really feel like a person who's missed the party."

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW plays Fridays and Saturdays at midnight at the K-B Cerberus in Georgetown (M Street at Thomas Jefferson NW; 202/337-1311) and the Movies at Fair Oaks in Fairfax (off I-66 at Route 50; 703/352-4750).

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW begins Monday (with a pay-what-you-can performance) and continues through Dec. 2 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 1401 Church St. NW. Tickets are $17.50 to $21.50, with matinees and midnight shows. Call 202/393-3939.

THE CAPITAL CITY CLUB and the Casablanca Foundation present a "Rocky Horror Show" Halloween party this Friday, 8:29 p.m. to 2:31 a.m. at the newly remodeled Deja Vu, 22nd and M streets NW. Cast members of "The Rocky Horror Show" will be present, and $12 admission benefits Woolly Mammoth. Costume contest, dancing, cash bar. Call 202/362-5261.

DANTE'S CAFE, 1522 14th St. NW, offers a "Rocky Horror" Halloween party at 9 Wednesday in association with Woolly Mammoth. Raffle and complimentary champagne. Admission is $5; "Rocky Horror Show" ticket-holders admitted free. Call 202/667-7260.

OPERA NIGHTCLUB, 1777 Columbia Rd. NW, presents a Halloween party in association with Woolly Mammoth on Wednesday at 8, with a costume contest and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" playing all night in the Video Cafe. Admission is $5. Call 202/265-6600.