So, I have been a fan of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for around 29years. I first saw it when I was 12 on the TV on one of those late night horror movie showings that you used to get late on a Saturday night. And I was absolutely hooked!
I don’t know what it is about the show, but it thrills me with delight every time I watch it. I get sucked into the plot, even thought I have seen it more than 40 times. I know every line of dialogue, and sing along with every single song.
Tim Curry is like an idol to me. His subliminal performance will never be bettered. He IS Frank N Furter.
So it was with some dismay and trepidation that I found myself reading about the new remake of this iconic classic. Fox TV had decided to redo what is an untouchable film, with a new sparkling “made for TV” film.
Firstly, I did’t quite get why they felt the need to do so. Rocky Horror Picture Show still packs out cinema screenings, and live shows have people flocking to them, wearing the costumes, bringing the props and getting right into the audience participation.
It is more successful now, than when it was first released, which is pretty impressive for a film that is 41 years old.
Anyway, I saw that the new remake “The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Let’s do the Timewarp again” was being shown on Fox, so I duly Sky+’d it.
Returning home late from a function, I thought there was no better time to give the film a go. I got it my silky robe and gown (audience participation right there) poured a glass of bubbles and pressed play.
The film starts off slightly different in the aspect of seeing lots of customers all going into a Cinema. The Usherette singing “Science Fiction Double Feature”. From behind you see the assembled audience and the cinema screen. It pans out and all you see is the film.
And then it starts.
Now even though I am a die-hard original fan, I held back my scepticism and tried to watch it with an unbiased eye.
Even so, it was quite hard to do so! The only way I can describe this version is “Rocky Horror Meets Glee”. Everyone is so very pretty. Theyl look like all-American gorgeous people. Not dorky, geeky or freaky which was the original plan. I think this is in part due to Kenny Ortega, (best known for the High School Musical franchise) who directed, choreographed and executive-produced this remake. The scenes are glossier, the costumes more inventive, and the songs that little bit more over the top.
That is quite a sweeping statement I think. Can you really get more over the top that the original? Well, yes you can. The songs have become somehow sanitised, and in my opinion, it is all a bit passe.
When the news broke about the cast, there was some controversy over using Laverne Cox in the lead role. Many people thought it was groundbreaking to have a transgender person play the role, and others thought it was poor casting.
In my opinion, Laverne Cox was totally the wrong choice for the role.
Now before you start jumping down my throat about transgender rights, the reason I felt she was wrong for the role was because she was just too beautiful and womanly. The whole point of Frank is that he is a transvestite (remember the lyrics to the song) He looks like a man dresses in women’s lingerie; who can forget that iconic outfit, with the short corset, nipples on show, black briefs and stockings.
Laverne is simply stunning! Legs that just won’t quit, and breasts even I was envious of! She didn’t look like a man in drag (which is what Frank is) just a beautifully gorgeous woman. The gowns and lingerie she had were classy not cheap and tacky like the original. This is why I think she looked too good for the role.
It may seem like I am being negative about the whole production. But there are some great parts to it. My favourite thing about the new production was the clever audience participation.
Now, if ever you have been to a live performance of RHPS, you will know that they encourage you to take props; a newspaper for during the rain scene, rice for the wedding, water pistols, torches and more. When it gets to certain parts in the show, the audience call out lines, or heckle. It makes for an amazing experience and the audience definitely get more involved.
During sections of the film, it panned out so you saw the cinema screen, with the audience in the stalls. They were holding newspapers over their heads, waving hands in the air with torches aloft. It brought the live show experience to the cinema version. It was a genius idea and I thought it really worked.
The second great thing was the addition of a “rock band” with three backing singers who sang along with all the well known songs. I felt it brought something new to the production and the performances were pretty electric. Adam Lambert as Eddie was pretty spectacular (and I have never been a massive fan of his to be honest)
The worst part for me is the Glee-ification of the film. The tendency to make things overly twee and saccharine sweet really annoys me. I actually liked the Glee series. It had its niche. But I don’t see the need to make every film like that. We have Pitch Perfect already, you don’t need to make something that was originally edgy and different, sound like everything else.
I never intended to write a review of the film. I was telling my hubby all about it and critiquing it and he said “It sounds like you are reviewing the film” so, with it being Halloween I thought it was a good idea.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad film. It was entertaining and brought a few new things to the table. Is it better than the original? Not on your life! The original is still the biggest and the best.
Tim Curry, for me will never be surpassed. Whilst he plays the role of the Narrator in this remake, he will forever be my “Sweet Transvestite”
If you are a die-hard RHPS fan, this isn’t a bad film to watch, it just isn’t the original. If you have never seen the film before, firstly why not? Secondly, you could do far worse than putting this on.
Just make sure you watch the original after!
Are you a RHPS fan? Did you watch the remake? I would love to hear your thoughts
Till next time