THE ROCKY HORROR REBOOT

For those that are unaware, when I’m not out running around at horror conventions or writing about the awesome collectible items I come across for Terror Time, I generally spend my Saturday nights at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles performing the role of Brad Majors in the local Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast Sins O The Flesh and have been doing this for the better part of a decade, attending hundreds of screenings.  I can easily say this film is responsible for shaping the life I live now and to refer to me as a fan would be a gross understatement.  Same goes for any of the other people I share the stage with weekend after weekend and those who are doing the same in movie theaters all around the world.  These midnight screenings are more then just a trip to the movies for us.  Most of us feel strong connection to both the film and the community that we’ve built around it, so naturally when FOX announced a made for TV re boot of the film that means so much to us, defenses we’re on the rise.

Now as time went on and more news, previews, and teasers were released, these defenses began to turn to excitement.  The film, while looking very different from the original, reminded me alot of the many stage play renditions of The Rocky Horror Show that I had seen and enjoyed.  The cast all seemed to be very passionate about the project, and of course the news of Tim Curry being cast as the Criminologist had me more then intrigued.  That being said I was still skeptical.  I’m not one of those people who will be out there screaming that re-making a film will somehow ruin the original ( That claim is beyond ridiculous and I can’t believe how many times I see it made regularly) nor was I going to be unwilling to watch it with an open mind.  I guess my reservations lay with how much the original film means to me and for me to be able to enjoy it, it would really have to capture that feeling and spirit that Rocky is so famous for.  So with mixed feelings I began my wait for October 20th.

Well, shortly after the last preview aired an opportunity presented itself that I could not turn down.  FOX had decided to take a risky move and invite the most critical crowd it could find to the premiere screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show : Lets Do The Time Warp Again on October 13th at the Roxy Theatre and extended an invite to local shadow casts who get on stage and shadow cast the original movie every weekend.  The location of this premiere was extra exciting as The Roxy is owned by producer Lou Adler and is also where the first U.S. run of The Rocky Horror Show took place in 1974.  Naturally, myself, the majority of my cast members, and members of Rocky shadwcasts from all over the US jumped at this opportunity.  Not only were we going to get to see the re boot a week early, but we were going to get to watch it at The Roxy Theatre with the cast and crew in attendance including Tim Curry.

When I arrived at the Roxy I knew I was in for a treat right from the get go.  The outside of the building was decorated with a very familiar set of lips, a red carpet walk, old movie posters from the films that are referenced in the opening song Science Fiction, Double Feature, and a large banner which said It Was Great Where It All Began.

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A large crowd of familiar people cheering in costumes eagerly awaited out front for the doors to open.

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Once we got inside it was similar in feeling. The room was decorated top to bottom in Rocky decorations,  Rocky Horror themed drinks were being served, and decorated popcorn and prop bags sat on our seats waiting for us to arrive.  rocky-5 rocky-6

 

After mingling for a bit ( many of us only see each other at annual Rocky Horror conventions or similar events) we took our seats.  There was a brief introduction from Lou Adler who then turned the mic over to Rocky Horror Fan Club president Sal Piro.  Sal spoke for a bit more then led us into our very famous Rocky count down where the entire crowded erupted as he yelled “Give me an RRRR”.  Whether we had a skeptical or excited outlook, we were all ready to see the remake we’d been hearing about for so long now.

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I have to say I was absolutely blown away with what I saw.  I loved every second of it. It was clear from the get go that every single person involved in making it saw this as a passion project and what they delivered was a perfect tribute to the original film.  While I enjoyed the way everyone portrayed their characters the stand outs for me had to be Ryan McCartan(Brad Majors), Victoria Justice( Janet Weiss), Annaleigh Ashford(Columbia) and Adam Lambert (Eddie).  Ryan McCartan specifically I thought captured the conservative quirkiness of Brad that could only be topped by Barry Bostwick himself.  Annaleigh Ashford added comedic side to Columbia and it fit the characters personality spot on.  Overall I feel like all of the characters in this version really gave a nod to the different ways these characters have been portrayed both on film and screen while throwing a little bit of a personalized twist which worked for all of them.

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Another thing that really drew me into this version was the constant nod to the shadow casts and stage play that have kept the original alive for so long.  From the opening scene, which  starts you off in a movie theater featuring an usherette singing Science Fiction Double Feature, just like in the stage play, to giving you an overwhelming urge to shout audience participation lines, this movie really embraced the feeling of the original.  It at no point tried to be better then or top the original film, rather the whole thing felt like  one big love letter to it and that is exactly why I was able to enjoy this movie so much.

The night ended with a huge Rocky Horror party in the Roxy.  There was music playing, drinks served, and no one in the building could stop talking about how impressed we were.  Cast from the film were in the crowd singing Rocky Horror songs on the stage side by side with the rest of us, and we ended the night with a bang.

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The next morning there was an overwhelming response from the Rocky community all over social media, so if you don’t want to take my word for it here’s what a few others from different shadow cast’s around the country had to say:

“so i had been skeptical of the Rocky Horror reboot from the beginning. i didnt understand a lot of the casting choices and i more importantly didnt understand who it was for. it felt out of place.
tonight, after seeing it in full with the cast there watching with me and many many other rocky horror die hard fans, it was very clear that the movie was made specifically to be a delicately crafted, fully thought out love letter to the fanbase. it had so many high moments that the few lows were intensely overshadowed. I’ve never had this much fun with a rocky audience before. a lot of the cast was very charming and you could see that a lot of them really genuinely cared about this. I was wary of Laverne Cox in the beginning, even knowing full well she would deliver, but seeing her actually do it was magical. she fully made it her own. it’s hard to fill that role considering the act you are following, but i think she was absolutely fantastic. a lot of what i thought was going to be weak points ended up being incredibly strong. Like Annaleigh Ashfords Columbia, i expected her lack of femininity to remove a lot from the character, but she played it entirely new and with such great comedic timing. the movie wasn’t made to re invent anything really, in fact it plays off a lot of the exact same jokes and timing of the original. it was like giving a shadow cast the ability to go into the movie, people who really cared and enjoyed the content were just acting it out in the way they’ve always loved it.
I really do recommend watching it. tonight washed away all of the fears i had about it, it really is spectacular.”-Chad Jones, Sins o the Flesh

“I will have to say even though I’m a loyalist to the original the remake truly was great”-Amanda Proctor, Frankies Fishnets

“The TV special was really enjoyable. The music was well produced and the choreography was cool. Some songs were more forgettable than others and a few of the cast members didn’t leave much of an impact but overall it was a really fun experience to sit in an audience filled with Rocky Horror vets and watch what was clearly just a fun tribute. The cast definitely look like they had a good time making it and I think that went along way in making it an enjoyable experience. The MVP was the guy who played Brad, he was funny as fuck.” David Hayes, Sins o The Flesh

I really liked it. It didn’t try to out do the original and the respectful nods to shadow casts were sincere. It was clever, most of the costumes rocked and the choreography-Wow!“-Ray Thompson, K.A.O.S

“I met a Rocky!!! Had a super great time at the new RHPS premier 👄 Definitely recommend everyone to see it #dontdreamitbeit”- Jacey Tomlinson, Sins o The Flesh

“Here is my mini Rocky Horror Picture Show revision review Ryan McCartan kicks all the ass at Brad Majors and spoiler alert Frank Furter still dies.”-Justin Reed, BBNG

“I cannot speak for everyone but I enjoyed the Rocky Horror Picture Show reboot. It’s not the same movie and it shouldn’t be but it was certainly very fun and enjoyable. I love my Rocky family and I love my cast Sins O’ The Flesh” -Alex Malo

“Okay watch the RHPS Fox Special. It was actually really fun. Take it as a fun TV tribute movie. Do it.” Taylor Ann Marzullo, Sins o The Flesh

“I actually really enjoyed the remake! There were so many clever nods to the fans, that somehow never seemed forced. For me the stand out performances were Ryan McCartan as Brad and Annaliegh Ashford as Columbia.” – Renee Jeske, Sins o The Flesh

These were just a few of the post’s that were flooding my feed Friday morning, all praising the film.

So overall, if you are a die hard Rocky fan, then this re boot was made for you.  When it airs October 20th, I recommend getting a screening together, watching it as a group, singing along with songs, shouting out your favorite lines and having fun with it in the true Rocky Horror spirit.  Personally I can’t wait to see it again and am already looking forward to attending a screening party myself.

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THE ROCKY HORROR REBOOT

 

 

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