On Thursday evening, the Fox network released a new, modern version of the cult classic film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
The cult musical about a sweet, evil transgender scientist from an outer space dimension called Transylvania turned 41 this year. To celebrate, director Kenny Ortega revamped the classic film into a new Fox television special. But rather than doing a live version like Fox did with the remake of “Grease,” the network filmed the new version prior to its release.
In Kenny Ortega’s version, star of the show Dr. Frank-N-Furter is played by “Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox, who has somewhat become the face for the transgender, African American LGBT community. Alongside of her is Brad Majors, played by Ryan McCartan, who is a character in a Disney channel show “Liv & Maddie.” His on camera fiancé Janet Weiss is played by “Victorious” star Victoria Justice. One exciting part of the remake is that Tim Curry, who played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the original film, returns as the criminologist in the new version.
With 41 years separating the two versions, naturally, there are many observable differences, but also notable similarities.
In the 1975 version, the costume budget was only a little more than $1,600. Tim Curry said he did his own makeup. In the new version, the costume budget is, of course, well over that amount, and several expert makeup artists were on set for the new film.
In the famous opening scene of the movie, red lips sing “Science Fiction/Double Feature.” In the new version, famous singer Ivy Levan acts out the scene as an usher letting patrons in to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” or RHPS. The first scene of the classic film was the most memorable and inspired merchandise and several spin offs. The revamped version has caused many fans to complain.
The new version shows Levan acting as an usher, walking around singing and providing help to patrons entering. It ends with her taking her place in “the back row” as stated in the song, and then the camera zooms into her lips.
The new version transitions to the first song between main characters Brad Majors and Janet, which seems to follow the exact outline of the original. Making a cameo in the new film, the photographer at the wedding is actually the president of the Rocky Horror Picture Show fan club.
The famous scene of Brad and Janet driving and getting caught in a terrible storm is almost identical, but the events that follow aren’t so much. When the couple discovers the castle, they walk through a gate marked “Beware,” rather than the old scene that jumps to the front door.
Once the “Time Warp” song starts, seasoned viewers will be able to see the changes. From the beat to the backup singers to the band, things are much more modern in this new version.
In the new version, Dr. Frank-N-Furter makes his debut in a giant crane. In the original, Tim Curry descends from a dark and old elevator.
If you are a huge RHPS cult fan, then you will more than likely be picking at the seams of this new movie. But if you are new to this show or a “virgin,” as the group of super fans call a newbie, you’ll more than likely enjoy it. Director Kenny Ortega took a beloved movie and amped it up to the standards of today’s generation. From subtle changes to drastic new reenactments, the 2016 version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is worth a watch.