“It’s just a jump to the left and then a step to the right…”
The remake of the 1975 cult classic premiered on Oct. 20 and this might be the first time many people are seeing anything of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but there is no doubt many have seen references scattered throughout television and movies during the 40 years of theatrical distribution.
Movie aficionados are oftentimes turned off by remakes that might not live up to the originals, but it is best to go into it with an open mind, especially seeing how this remake is a literal “time warp” back to the 1970s. Without comparison to the original, the two-hour show, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again,” is spastic, witty, eccentric and overall entertaining.
Brad (Ryan McCartan) and Janet (Victoria Justice) are newly engaged and stumble upon a worn-down castle after their car gets a flat tire. Only looking for a telephone, they set themselves up to be in for a long night filled with mystery, jealousy, seduction and perfectly-timed musical numbers. Songs like “Dammit Janet,” “Touch A Touch A Touch A Touch Me” and “Time Warp” pay homage and bear impressive resemblance to what Rocky Horror fans have come to know and love, with vocals from the new actors being both surprising and enticing.
The “Master” of the castle happens to be Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Laverne Cox), described by Katie Harris as a “sexually ambiguous, flirtatious mad-scientist” from Transylvania, with dozens of Transylvanians in her following. After many introductory songs and dances – all of which are phenomenally choreographed and replicated – the doctor creates a new “Rocky Horror” (Staz Nair), a gold-shorts clad, unfortunately uncoordinated, muscled man with selfish desires in mind.
The cast is full of movie stars, singers and award winners; even Rocky Horror alum Tim Curry, who played the original Dr. Frank-N-Furter, takes part as the criminologist/narrator. Columbia (Annaleigh Ashford), Magenta (Christina Milian) and Riff Raff (Reeve Carney) are Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s go-to assistants who help run the castle. Eddie (Adam Lambert), the ex-delivery boy, is killed by the doctor after party crashing, which leads to many twists that land the human characters in a struggle against alien technology, ending fittingly with even more epic musical moments.
Costume designer William Ivey Long, along with nine makeup and hair stylists, helped turn the well-known actors into incredibly new, yet still recognizable versions of the original characters. According to Long in a behind the scenes clip during the premiere, “only humans wear blue,” showing viewers how very well thought out every single detail is that goes into production.
The director Kenny Ortega, an acclaimed creative in the movie industry, added the audience in a movie theater, who reacted to the scenes as they played out.
He even went as far as creating “A Virgin’s Guide to Watching Rocky Horror Picture Show,” where new viewers are given a downloadable choreographed guide to tell them exactly when to react during which scene and how. This includes throwing confetti, popcorn, toilet paper and putting on party hats at the same time as the audience on the screen. Not only does the audience at home have a chance to be “in the movie”, they also get that feeling of belonging to a classic movie’s following like those in the theater.
With more modernly-famous faces, much more advanced CGI effects and new-age twists on design and audience participation, “Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” proves to be a remake of potential and if nothing else, something that presents viewers with the chance to watch the original and judge for themselves whether it lives up to the legend.