What to Expect From the New ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’

The beloved movie musical ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is finally getting the remake treatment.

After nearly ten years of speculation, the project has finally been picked up by Fox, with famed director and choreographer Kenny Ortega at the helm. Since the original film was released in 1975, fans have completely taken over the film, attending audience participation screenings all around the world for over forty years. So it’s no wonder that the news of a remake has garnered serious backlash.

‘Rocky Horror’ tells the story of young couple Brad and Janet (played in this version respectively by Ryan McCartan and Victoria Justice). Their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and take refuge in a castle straight out of a Hammer horror flick. There they meet a variety of almost Ozian-esque characters, including the mad scientist Dr. Frank N Furter (Laverne Cox). The rest of the film turns into a cross between an Adam and Eve retelling and a B-movie homage, with 1960’s style rock and roll music thrown in for good measure.

While fans were initially up in arms regarding the news of the reboot, they seem to have calmed down once the trailers premiered on Facebook. Images and clips of the movie have shown a lot of promise, featuring a various array of talent from Broadway and film, and an entirely new aesthetic. The lavish costumes by William Ivey Long are a far cry from Sue Blane’s iconic originals, but the use of gold body spray, long pink wigs, and tutus have got the fans talking.

Another big difference spotted in the new footage was the giant ensemble cast. The film itself utilizes a whole crowd of Transylvanians throughout, not only during the lab scenes and infamous “Time Warp”, but also seem to appear during the “Floor Show” and other scenes in the second half of the film.

There is also the second ensemble of ‘fans’, a meta approach to the movie that pays homage to the ‘Rocky Horror’ fan culture. In the trailer, they are shown yelling classic audience participation lines and using newspapers and lighters while watching the film within a film. It seems appropriate that the movie theater they dwell in is called ‘The Castle’, paralleling the ‘Frankenstein Place’ that is Frank N Furter’s home.

At the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con panel, ‘Rocky’ fans were treated to a sneak peek of the first twenty minutes of the film, and have given the new adaptation nothing but praise.

“I cannot believe how true they were to the show and the original,” said one fan in Fox’s Fan Reaction video. “When it ended, I almost cried. Like, ‘no please! I want more!’”

Even Tim Curry has demonstrated approval towards the reboot. The original Frank N Furter makes an appearance as the Narrator in the new TV movie, a part played by Charles “No Neck” Gray in the 1975 film. At the recent TCA panel, Curry was asked if he gives his endorsement for Ortega’s vision, to which he answered, “I do, indeed.”

As a whole, Fox’s ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is somehow both different and similar enough to the original for it to work. After all, ‘Rocky Horror’ has been performed as a stage play across the world, most notably in the current UK tour (which was recently broadcast live on BBC and in cinemas across Europe). It seems as though the general consensus is keeping an open mind, which is already a good sign. Hopefully the new ‘Rocky Horror’ will live up to expectations, and maybe encourage an entire new generation to do the Time Warp again.

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Rachel Meghan Sather

Rachel Meghan Sather is a writer and comedian in New York City. She currently works on the public access show The Special Without Brett Davis as an art director, and performs in shows around the city. Rachel currently attends Hunter College, and will be graduating in Winter 2016. Check out her work on rachelmeghan.com, and follow her on Twitter @scarriewhite.