Several members of Crazed Imaginations, current and alumni, attended the RHPS remake panel at San Diego Comic Con this year. We were able to watch the first 25 minutes or so of the remake, from Science Fiction Double Feature through the undressing scene, and then heard some input from the actors and producers.
While we didn’t all have the exact same opinion, but we wanted to share our thoughts.
If you want to hate this movie, you will most likely find ways to do just that. If you go in expecting something that will make you feel exactly how you felt the first time you saw the original, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
For us, we went in with fairly low expectations, and we all left feeling pleasantly surprised. Opinions ranged from “I am now 100% on board with the Rocky Horror remake” to “I very much enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would” to “I didn’t hate it, I actually liked most of it”.
I’m not going to give out big spoilers, because I want you to experience it with fresh eyes like we did. But I will say that I get what Lou Adler meant when he said it was a love letter to fans.
And for anyone who was worried, Tim Curry looks and sounds great. His scenes were some of my favorite. According to Lou, when he saw the full movie, his reaction was “You betcha!”
Lou also said that he considered the fans to be a character in this, and from what I saw I can understand what he meant. While I wouldn’t call this a note for note/line for line remake, they did seem to take care to preserve a lot of the show. Even when lines are being delivered at a different tempo than the original, there are pauses in the right places for the well know audience participation lines. The choreography has some serious differences, but the occasional shout out to some of our favorite moves. During “Dammit Janet”, Janet still extends her arm and bounces a bit for her line “It’s nicer than Betty Monroe had!”
It starts off strong with a very fun version of Science Fiction Double Feature. The song does go on for a while, but as anyone who has every been on stage for Trixie will tell you, that song goes on for a while. It’s definitely a tribute to the vision of Richard O’Brien.
If you’ve studied the trailers, you’ve probably found the costumes to look cheesy, tacky, or lacking in creativity. After watching part of the movie, several of us are thinking this was a conscious choice, done specifically to celebrate and honor the camp of the original. This doesn’t necessarily mean we all thought it was great, just that it was good to know there seemed to be some reasoning.
Among our group, there was a lot of laughing and head nodding as we studied all we could. The cuts to the audience were fun and at least not too overdone, although we didn’t all love them to same degree.
The panel included Lou Adler (producer), Kenny Ortega (producer), , Gail Berman (producer), Victoria Justice (Janet) Ryan McCartan (Brad), Christina Milian (Magenta) and Reeve Carney (Riff-Raff).
If there’s one person out of this panel I think we could really party with, it’s Christina. She was excited to talk about the role, and seemed genuinely. Her most animated moment came when she related an early discussion with the producers who guided her to finding her character by telling her “She finds everything sexually titillating”
Victoria and Ryan had a great chemistry as Brad and Janet. Ryan especially nailed the cheesy goofiness of Brad. It seems unfair to call them the highlight since what we saw where mostly their scenes, but they were the reason for a lot of our laughs. This was true during the panel as well, as they related stories about their auditions. Victoria described an awkward but enviable day where she had to audition with several Rockys, spending her time crawling over oiled up strangers singing to them to touch her. Ryan pointed out that while that might seem weird, he had to audition alone in front of Lou and Kenny, he described it as “laying on their couch molesting myself!”
The producers were asked why they chose to do this as a TV show. They skirted around the obvious answer that Fox owns it so they do what they want, and gave an answer that I couldn’t immediately discount. Lou explained that the world was full of Brads and Janets who would never go out to a midnight movie, so they went to TV to reach them. As someone who spent my early 20s as a Janet, I have to say, that message really struck a chord.
If there was one word that kept coming up over and over again by everyone, it was homage. From the music (done by Lou’s son) to the action to the atmosphere, they wanted it to in a way that honored the movie so many of us have dedicated years to loving.
Did they do it? We think they hit more than they missed. As we say around here, you milage may vary. No matter how this all turns out, I know we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing at midnight movies. And we are going to be ready to welcome all those new fans to the experience that is the Rocky Horror Midnight movie when they decide to check it out.