New Rocky Horror deemed a disappointment

by Nicole Belair, Staff Writer

On October 20, Fox aired a remake of the classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which has received negative ratings and reviews across the board.

According to The New York Times, it was “stripped of subversive magic.”

Originally released in 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a musical, comedy, and horror film (yes, all three) based on a 1973 musical stage production of the same name.

For some context if you are unfamiliar, the show follows newly engaged couple Brad and Janet, who find themselves lost on a cold, fall evening.

Seeking a telephone, they walk to a nearby castle where they discover Dr. Frank N. Furter and a group of eccentric, outlandish people.

Frank, the star of the film, is a self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania,” and mad scientist who has attempted to create the “perfect man,” who he names Rocky, during his time on Earth.

Over the course of about an hour and a half, nearly every character is either killed and/or seduced by Frank.

So, let’s face it: The Rocky Horror Picture Show has never been a blockbuster.

However, the film has gained a huge following over the past few decades and has inspired groups across the country to perform the show live on stage.

Dedicated fans often attend performances dressed like the characters and will frequently talk back to the stage or screen to add to the magic of the show.

These “callbacks” are scripted as well, so fans can all join in on the fun.

In the new version, director Kenny Ortega tries to capitalize on this aspect of the cult following.

Throughout his film, he often pulls back from the action to show a happy crowd at a movie theater, watching the same film we are.

It’s almost cute at first, but starts to become too forced after about half an hour.

If we’re being honest, no one quite understands the reason why Fox decided to remake the movie forty years after its original release.

Remakes are tricky, especially when it comes to movies that are already so popular and loved. They can be a hit or miss amongst fans, and most critics have determined this one to be a failure.

Some things just can’t be topped, and it appears that the original Rocky Horror is one of them.

The remake stars a diverse group of actors, including Laverne Cox, Ben Vereen, Victoria Justice, and Adam Lambert.

The cast did well when it came to the singing and dancing, but I felt the whole time as if they were about to break into a High School Musical number (not surprising, as Ortega directed those movies as well).

Victoria Justice isn’t a bad actress; I just have a hard time seeing her as anything other than a Nickelodeon character.

In contrast, I thought Adam Lambert was brilliant in the role of Eddie (an ex-delivery boy, ex-lover of Frank N. Furter, and a rock-and-roll singer).

The man can really sing, and through no fault of his own, I only wished that he had more screen time.

However, some of the casting has sparked controversy amongst the LGBTQ community.

The original film was created just long enough ago that terms like “transvestite” were used to identify a person who derives pleasure from dressing like the opposite sex.

Terminology has drastically changed since the 1970s, though.

The term “transvestite” is severely outdated, and definitely not a politically correct way to address someone’s identity in the twenty-first century.

Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox, known for her work on Orange is the New Black, is a trans woman and willingly accepted the role of Frank N. Furter in the new version.

Cox has been an influential figure in advocating for the trans community, but articles such as “Laverne Cox Playing Frank N. Furter is not a Celebration” from the feminist publication Wear Your Voice argue that Cox’s decision to play the “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania” is a setback for their community.

Not to mention, casting a beautiful woman as Frank (who was not originally intended to be, well, pretty) is another huge contrast from Tim Curry’s 1975 portrayal.

Even so, Cox is incredibly talented and certainly knocked it out of the park with both her acting and singing.

So, was remaking it worth the trouble?  Probably not.

Nevertheless, Fox’s Rocky Horror tribute is moderately entertaining and worth watching at least once.


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