Nostalgia Reality Check: Reviving Rocky Horror

Then at a deadly pace, it came from -- WHERE? -- outer space.

Nov 4, 2011 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

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My earliest Rocky Horror Picture Show memories come from my occasional attendance at the Carefree Theater's weekly midnight screenings in West Palm Beach during the early 90s, where the audience had adapted a number of Mystery Science Theater 3000 references to the classic call-and-response experience. Being an MST3K superfan (then as now), even if I weren't likely to adore Rocky Horror on its own merits, this was enough to cement my devotion. 

Later, as a college student, I attended shows in Cambridge under draconian rules against the use of basically any of the usual props, a limitation that took a bit of the fun out of things. Bag checks for toilet paper? Seriously?

Over the years, I've had friends who were committed castmembers in productions up and down the east coast, and even though RHPS was not the narrow slice of subculture in which I was most invested during my extended adolescence, the film and the live reproduction are still enormously soothing and familiar bits of pop culture for me. The most recent revival by "Glee," with its extreme self-awareness and sanitized revisions, only reminded me of how great the original truly is, standing as a testament to being weird and perverted and socially unacceptable and totally unapologetic about all of it.

This straightforward rendition of "Science Fiction/Double Feature" from this past Monday's episode of The Late Late Show is the kind of tribute I like to see. It includes Amanda Palmer, Stephin Merritt, Moby and Neil Gaiman in a curious and unusually literate sort of ukelele/toy piano supergroup. Check it out.

Can you listen to this without inserting the audience participation? If so, you are a stronger person than I. Tell me your Rocky Horror memories in comments.