Thursday, July 24, 2008

Frank N Failure

Some things should never be repeated. Some are huge like the Civil War or a Celine Dion comeback tour. Others are small like getting back with an ex you know is bad for you or repeating, compared to what?, when your wife asks if she looks fat.

Some things, the idea of repeating would be so heinous, you imagine no one in their right mind would even attempt to repeat them. In fact the thought of repeating certain things should cause physical reactions. Nausea, sweats, perhaps physical discomfort. The sense you would feel when you come to the realization that your foot is nailed to the floor in a revolving door.

That's pretty much how I felt when I read this morning that MTV is going to remake The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

First thought that comes to mind is....why?

Bear in mind, I'm not talking at all about the original stage production. That could be fun in a limited run. Nope, I'm talking about the movie.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the twisted brainchild of Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharman. A tripped out glam horror/sci-fi musical shot on a shoestring and starring unknowns. Most of whom went on to bigger and better things.

It is also the highest grossing midnight movie, and still plays to this day inviting cult fanaticism and audience participation. Rocky Horror fans perform the whole film in full costume down to the slightest gesture on the theater floor while the movie plays overhead. (I miss you 8th St. Playhouse)

Going to see Rocky Horror required preparation. Toilet paper, newspapers, squirt guns, lighters and more were mandatory if you wanted to fully immerse yourself in the Rocky Horror experience, and the costumes...oh, the costumes. You haven't lived till you've seen several young ladies all dressed as Little Nells Columbia standing around chatting or practicing their dance moves. No wonder the Pussycat Dolls do nothing for me, they're tame compared to what I saw as a kid.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show starred than unknown Tim Curry as the transexual transylvanian Dr. Frank N Furter. Susan Sarandon spent 90% of the film in bra and panties as the prurient Janet Weiss. Barry Bostwick was her equally naive fiance Brad Majors. Rounding out the cast were Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff, Patricia Quinn as his sister Magenta, Little Nell Campbell played Columbia and Meatloaf was her boyfriend, and nephew of Brads mentor Dr. Scott, (Johnathan Adams) Eddie. Peter Hinwood plays Rocky the Frank N Furter created man, and the film is expertly narrated by Charles Gray to tie it all together.

So why wouldn't this work as a remake?
Why would it?
There are a lot of thing to consider before going down this very dangerous and fated to fail path.

First, midnight movies and cult films aren't made, they happen. There is just something right about the chemistry, the production and what it taps into in the current hip consciousness that makes them special. Often the creative team is going for something completely different. Just take a look at films that had all the right elements and failed because they were going for cult status. Snakes on a Plane comes to mind.

Second, Rocky Horror challenged the morality of the time with it's goth/glam outfits and questionable sexuality. Janet and Brad getting seduced by this creature was the greatest fear on a parents mind and the kids knew it.
With films like Brokeback Mountain garnering critical acclaim, does anyone really care if a character is gay anymore? How many parents would bat an eye in our post Madonna/Britney society if their daughter wore a corset to a movie, or their son had pierced ears and wore eyeliner? They see this every day and worse.
There's nothing left for Rocky Horror to challenge.
In fact I wouldn't be surprised if gay and lesbian rights groups protested the film for portraying homosexuals as sex crazed deviants out to corrupt the youth of America.

Third, there's no smoking in theaters....of anything! To many, part of the RHPS experience was mind expansion, if it wasn't, chances were good you'd get a contact high anyway.
I also could not imagine my local Regal multiplex allowing a midnight mess to be made in the theater. Better leave the water pistols and TP at home this time around.

Fourth, it's an MTV production meaning it will be cast with whoever is big at the time regardless of true talent. RHPS by MTV would be a stunt casting extravaganza. Eddie Izzard as Frank N Furter, or maybe Sascha Baron Cohen. Let's get Jared Leto to play Brad and Amy Lee as Janet. You see where I'm going with this? It would be battle of the divas and the losers would be the people who shelled out 9 bucks for it.
If you think MTV is going to do anything but a PG13 film you are deluded. Out goes the overt sexual deviance's that made the original so much fun, and to some shocking.

I could probably come up with another half dozen reasons not to do this film, and I couldn't come up with one as to why they should. I'm sure MTV thinks they could make money off a RHPS remake, and maybe they will, but I think their money could be better spent on something original. Throw that money at Joss Whedon if you want a sci fi/horror musical to call your own. Make something that's relevant to our disaffected Bush era youth. Do something positive instead of rehashing old taboos that hold as much water as a leaky thimble these days, or as Frank N Furter would say "Don't Dream it, Be it."

Let's hope the powers at MTV wake up and cancel this project before it gets too far.

The following clip may not be for the young'ns


Another Limited Rebellion said...

What, no plans for a remake of Shock Treatment though?!?

Charlie said...

You kind of hit my point exactly. Lightning doesn't strike twice. Even the creators of Rocky Horror couldn't repeat the films success when they tried.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Everything you said!

I only saw it a mere 73 times.
I am not even curious about a remake!


p.s. I watched the video and it all came easily! Love this post!

timelord said...

Your best point was made at the end and it's something I bring up every time a bad remake is discussed: Why not put that money into a new orignal SF musical and yes Wheaton is an obvious choice!
RHPS (great abreiviating) was obviously a wonderfull fluke of it's time and would look stupid if remade in 2008. I've worked for Mtv and anyone that thinks Mtv was cool past like 1989 doesn't own a TV. Corporate hacks looking for a quick buck, not entertainers.

Mica said...

I am kind of hoping it will be a reality show.

Charlie said...

Mica may have saved the day.
That's the kind of thinking outside the box we need.

also great picture