Essays · Movies · TV

Give the New Rocky Horror Picture Show a Chance

By  · Published on August 11th, 2016

Remakes are everywhere. It’s okay to be excited about one or two.

The original Rocky Horror Picture Show is an indisputable cult classic. Over forty years after its original release in 1975, the film, starring Tim Curry as Doctor Frank-N-Furter, still airs in movie theaters in New York City every Friday and Saturday night. The first time I heard that the film was getting the remake treatment, especially a made-for-TV remake, I was a little bit skeptical.

One should always be skeptical of remakes. They often fall short of the originals and key components are often altered to the point that it feels like a cheap counterfeit rather than a true remake or homage to the original production. This is especially true of classics, particularly classics with heavy influences from the LGBT community. However, I feel as if Fox’s remake of Rocky Horror may actually be an extremely positive thing.

One aspect of the upcoming remake that I think sets it apart from other remakes is the attitude the production team had toward their project. They wanted this adaptation of Rocky Horror to be less about a remake of the original – because they knew that no remake could ever hold a candle – but an homage to it. Speaking at the Television Critic’s Association, the film’s executive producer, Lou Adler, said that his mantra on set was “be true to the original, but make it contemporary.”

With a cast full of much younger and more current stars like Laverne Cox, Victoria Justice, and Adam Lambert, I think this film will get the contemporary part down very well. Tim Curry also has a role in the new production, perhaps as a way to ease the fears of fans of the original. Tim Curry is the original Rocky Horror, and if he lends the production his seal of approval, maybe the fans won’t react negatively.

That hasn’t seemed to work thus far. Vitriolic comments about the new production bound in the comments section of every article or video posted about the new imagining of Rocky Horror. The majority seem to be defending the original and decrying any attempt at a remake. I think this viewpoint may be misguided.

Regardless of how classic a film is, there is an expiration date on the attraction of wide-spread appreciation. Sure, Rocky Horror still has hordes of fans who will refuse all productions but the Tim Curry-led film, but it is also a film that many young people have not seen. Having this production air on television with a cast full of big names that do appeal to young people could bring in new viewers and new appeal to the original just as much as the remake.

The trailer for the new Rocky Horror looks fun. It’s colorful, it’s sexy, and there are many more faces in it that someone who’s never been exposed to Rocky Horror will relate to in it. I’m excited to see the new cast work together. Laverne Cox has proven time and time again that she is an incredible actress and I’m particularly excited to see her spin on Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been fun. We’ll never know whether or not the remake misses the mark if we don’t give it a try.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show premieres on FOX on October 20, 2016 at 8 p.m.

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