Fox is airing a remake of the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Thursday, Oct. 20; the original film is getting midnight screenings around the Seattle area, just in time for Halloween.
Put on your costumes, practice your Time Warp dance and get ready to call back because October is “Rocky Horror” month.
For over 40 years, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has been a fan and cult favorite. The 1975 film, inspired by the original stage play, has formed a community of thousands who attend midnight performances and screenings of the film about a straight-laced couple (Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick) who get a flat tire and take refuge in the mysterious home of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). On Thursday, Oct. 20, Fox will air a remake (starring Laverne Cox, Tim Curry, Victoria Justice, Ryan McCartan and Adam Lambert), and — just in time for Halloween — a few theaters in the area are playing the original film, accompanied by shadow casts.
“It’s the ultimate weirdo movie,” said Evan Peterson, a Seattle performer and professor who has participated in “Rocky Horror” productions on and off for many years. “It celebrates weirdos and misfits, and it can be very easy and inexpensive to participate in the fandom.”
‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, Fox.
In movie theaters:
Oct. 28-Nov. 19 (preview Oct. 27), SecondStory Repertory, 16587 N.E. 74th St., Redmond; $22-$27 (425-881-6777 or secondstoryrep.org).
“Rocky Horror” is popular with diverse audiences, but it especially resonates with the LGBTQ community. At the time of its premiere, the characters and storyline were considered taboo and cutting edge.
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“ ‘Sweet Transvestite,’ that one song changed LGBTQ understanding around the world. I think the song confronts people with queer genders and valorizes gender play and makes it very fun,” Peterson said. “People go crazy when Dr. Frank-N-Furter throws off his cape and reveals he’s in lingerie.”
The movie bent rules on gender and sexuality. “Much like David Bowie and Prince, these icons make it safe and acceptable to be a misfit,” Peterson said. “It’s just pure fun, and if you’re a misfit, it tells you ‘hey, you’re normal.’ ”
“Rocky Horror” performances often reflect the personalities of the director and cast. Shadow casts — which will perform at movie screenings on Oct. 29 at SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Oct. 28 at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, and Oct. 22 and 29 at the Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma — recreate the movie on stage in front of the screen projection. Audiences dress up, singalong and yell callbacks to the actors.
“You get the interpretation of the cast and the script, and it’s different every time,” said Steven Smith who has played the narrator for multiple “Rocky Horror” productions including Vicarious Theater Company, Blue MouseKeteers, Denton Delinquents and Clinton Street Cabaret. “The shadow cast tries to duplicate what’s on the screen, and they have their own jokes and way of doing it.” In Washington State, it’s popular for the audience to call out “Yes Janet, it’s Washington” when Janet says “Yes, it’s raining.”
Fox’s remake will bring its own interpretation. Peterson said he will watch the Fox version for the performances but has low expectations.
“I think they’re going to suck all the passion and authenticity out of it for TV,” Peterson said. “You can’t take a queer sex comedy and make it for the Disney Channel, you just can’t.”
But Smith is excited to see the dancing and choreography in the Fox version.
“It’s going to bring an open awareness to ‘Rocky’ and bring the ‘Rocky’ community out,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a slick remake. They’re not trying to replace the old movie, they’re trying to show a new take on it.”