Serena Freewomyn

Take a Step to the Left: Is a Rocky Remake on the Horizon?

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | August 14, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Rocky Horror Picture Show

If you're like me, one of your first introductions to the queer community was midnight showings of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at your local artsy movie theater. Standing in line with your fellow Rocky-goers, some of them in costume, some of them not, was always something to look forward to on the weekends. Well, rumor has it that this cult classic is about to be remade! According to The Guardian:

Sky Movies yesterday confirmed it would co-finance a remake of the cult 1975 musical starring Tim Curry that still draws a full house of fans dressed as characters from the film to late night screenings. The original kitsch parody of science fiction and horror, which cost $1.2m (£630,000) to make and has taken more than $140m at the box office, is the longest running cinematic theatrical release of all time. The new version, financed by Sky and MTV in the US, will be overseen by the original film's executive producer, Lou Adler.

Adler said: "Our hope has always been that each new endeavour will expose new audiences to Rocky Horror and expand its fan base, so here we go again, with a new cast, believing that the remake will add to the phenomenon."

Well dammit, Janet! This is fantastic news!

Remakes of classic movies has been a trend in Hollywood lately, but the results have been mixed. There's the stream of movies that made Lindsey Lohan's career: "Freaky Friday," "Parent Trap," and "Herby the Love Bug," for example. Then there's all of the super-hero inspired films, like "The Hulk," and "Batman." But the thing that's missing from all of these that will make the Rocky redo a smash hit is dance moves and catchy tunes.

You know what movie I'd like to see remade? "The Princess Bride!" That would be totally boss! How about you? What cult classics would you like to see refashioned on the big screen?

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Hands down, it has to be Polyester complete with Odorama cards

It's just a JUMP to the left, then a STEP to the riiiiight.

"Rocky Horror" is a rite of passage for most transwomen - it is, very often, the first time out in public, usually at the Halloween showings, and for many it is the only time they get out. It's a terrible movie, really - if there's a story line that makes sense, I've never found it - but you go to watch and hear the audience perform it. I almost hate to think of a remake, because I'm sure it will be homogenized and cleaned up, and all the audience appeal removed - unless they go somewhere where they have strong casts and audience participation, and use some of the more creative audience lines. The idea of seeing a cleaned-up vanilla version of RHPS, with that great soundtrack performed by some boy band, kind of nauseates me.

As for remakes, I used to run video stores, and my list of acceptable sequels and remakes is a short one, other than the franchises (Star Wars, Star Trek, the Tolkien trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean, for example) that were designed to be multipart.
Most of my favorite movies have already been sequeled to death ("Rocky", "The Godfather"), or have actors who've since died and should not be replaced ("The Blues Brothers", "Animal House". For instance, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" should never be cast with anyone but Redford and Newman in the leads, and Newman's dying as we speak. "Blues Brothers 2000" without John Belushi and Cab Calloway was a mistake. And period pieces usually don't remake well - I don't want to even consider a new version of "The Big Chill", for instance, and nobody but old fogies like me would see it - and probably, then, on DVD.

Hollywood makes what sells, and they have been trying for years to replace actors and stuntmen with CGI effects. Young people always drive theatre business, and they're weaned on video games, so we have the massive video-game based CGI scifi extravaganzas, and if the special effects are the stars, they don't have to spend $25 million plus a percentage to hire Tom Cruise, John Travolta, or Julia Roberts.

Please pardon my rant, but I miss great acting, well written scripts, romantic comedies, characters I can identify with, settings that are real places, and compelling drama that builds to a climax you can't walk away from. "There Will Be Blood" was the last one like that I've seen. As for the remake, well, Oliver Stone's making a movie about the evils of the Bush administration - would that qualify as being a remake of "JFK", "Nixon", or "All The President's Men"? What might be fun would be a remake of "Nasty Habits", but updated to the Bush era.

I don't know if I'd want to see a remake of "Princess Bride" - the original is too good, they'd probably ruin it. I wouldn't want to see that movie devalued by a bad sequel or remake.

I agree with Polar about remakes. Trying to do a "Time Warp" in this case maybe a big mistake. I'll hold my opinion until after I see it.

But, if you look at the Hollywood remake success story and you quickly see that they fail miserably. Soon to be released, the remake of a MAJOR clasic, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." It looks good, but . . .

Others were:
"The Time Machine" - George Pal in 1960 was far better than the Simon Wells version in 2002, even though Simon is related to the author of the book, H.G. Wells.
"War of the Worlds" - 1953 with Gene Barry and 2005 with Tom Cruise. The 2005 version followed the book closer and was far scarier, but keep in mind, it was done by Steven Spielberg. It was a good remake, but I was disappointed that he picked Tom Cruise to be in it. However, for the time period, the Orson Wells radio version in 1938 really kicked butt.
"Planet of the Apes" - 1968 with Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter was better than the 2001 version with Mark Wahlberg, except for the costumes and animation, of course.
There are many you can find at a Remake Web Site in case people want to look at the whole list of them.

Nick Langewis | August 14, 2008 4:55 PM

It does make me nervous, especially that MTV is going to be involved, though I would pay to see Ike Barinholtz and Andy Samberg slapfight over who gets cast as Frankie. And Rose McGowan as Magenta! But that's if I were king. --I take that back: If I were king, there would be no 'Rocky' remake.

I thought the question would be how we would cast such a remake. That could be interesting. Although I don't know any actors or singers under 30.

The operative question for casting: Meat Loaf again?

It might be fun for him to play the narrator. So the line could be used again in a different part of the movie.

I think the present day equivalent of Meat Loaf to play Eddie is Jack Black. I'm not particularly a fan of his, but I think he has the right chops for the job.

BTW, I was going to mention before that they're making a sequel to the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair WITHOUT Renee Russo. What the hell would be the point? I've often thought it would be great to see what became of their relationship after ten years. And guess what: it's been ten years since the movie. But she isn't in the sequel.

Robert Ganshorn | August 15, 2008 7:49 AM

"Casablanca" to know what Bogart and Claude Rains did at the start of their "beautiful friendship." Now that was real acting and whomever undertook to recreate these two womanizing swashbucklers would need to be up to the task. The original will be the best, but I would like to have had more from "Casablanca."

Next: "The Lion in Winter" which starred Katherine Hepburn and Peter O Toole, but was significant because it was the screen debut of Anthony Hopkins playing Richard the Lion Heart.

Neither of these should be "remakes," but should take up where the previous story left off.

I have to admit, I didn't really like Rocky Horror. Someone take away my gay card now.

No, Bil, you get to keep the gay card. Rocky Horror really is a terrible movie, albeit with an excellent soundtrack. It's the stuff the audience does that makes it an event. A remake is a truly ridiculous idea. I did hear that someone was making a documentary 10 years or so ago about the casts and audiences in various cities - I recall they filmed in Austin, TX., and in one of the New Jersey suburbs of New York, but I've never heard of it being released. That might have been interesting.

CBrachyrhynchos | August 15, 2008 10:24 AM

Honestly, I'm skeptical. The whole point of Rocky Horror was the unintentional badness spawned a rich tradition of audience participation. And I feel a bit discomforted at how works that were sharp satires have become somewhat bowdlerized in recent Hollywood revivals.

CBrachyrhynchos | August 15, 2008 3:45 PM

I have to admit that there is something delightful about the fact that a movie version of a musical parody of the moral fears regarding sex and sexuality that were staples of B-movies, grindhouse and exploitation films turned out to also be a B-movie.

The problem with a remake is that the nature of horror/suspense movies have changed. The whole trope of the virginal protagonists who find themselves seduced and pulled into a depraved counterculture no longer plays the same way it 35 years ago. For one thing, virginal young adults stretch suspension of disbelief more than psychotic mutants these days.

I agree, rocky horror is awful... but good awful!