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Film / The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again is a 2016 made-for-TV remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which first aired October 20, 2016 on Fox.

This new take on the 1975 cult film (which director Kenny Ortega considers as a tribute to the original rather than a standard remake) features Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Victoria Justice as Janet, Broadway alumnus Ben Vereen as Dr. Scott, Adam Lambert as Eddie, and Tim Curry (the original Frank-N-Furter) as the Criminologist.

This version stays very true to the original, even including elements from the stage musical (such as the Usherette), but features a new concept in which the entire movie is shown at a cinema to an In-Universe audience (full of Rocky Horror fans), who would occasionally yell out a few of the film's iconic callbacks.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again contains examples of:

  • Abominable Auditorium: The Framing Device of fans walking into a Gothic mansion of a cinema called the Castlenote . But given the fanbase, it's the kind of thing they'd like. The In-Universe movie is set in the same castle with the now dilapidated Castle cinema sign still outside.
  • Actor Allusion: Riff Raff's hair color may remind some people of Carlos from Descendants, another TV film Kenny Ortega was involved with.
    • During the dinner scene before they eat Eddie, Columbia says, "I hope it's not meatloaf again." as a reference to Meat Loaf playing Eddie in the first film.
    • During Wild and Untamed Thing, the dancer in the long coat standing next to Ben Vereen, adjusts his bowler hat and strikes a Bob Fosse-esque pose in reference and tribute to Vereen's starring Broadway turns in Pippin and Fosse.
  • Adaptational Diversity: All named characters in the original movie were white, now Frank, Magenta and Doctor Scott are black.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job: Several characters undergo this. Janet (as played by Victoria Justice) goes from blonde to brunette, Columbia sports pink hair instead of the traditional red, Riff Raff's hair is now gray instead of blonde, Magenta's hair goes from red to magenta, and Frank is now a Fiery Redhead.
  • Adaptational Gender Identity: Frank N. Furter, who's usually portrayed as a transvestite, is portrayed by trans actress Laverne Cox, and has his pronouns changed accordingly. Despite this, she still calls herself a "Sweet Transvestite" in her "I Am" Song.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Rocky wears sheer boxer shorts for most of the film rather than the speedo from the theatrical version. Columbia is fully clothed for her "Rose Tint My World" number.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The police statements in Crim's book are the same as the original movie, including mentioning Frank being male.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Frank is now a woman but still calls herself a "Sweet Transvestite" in the titular song.
  • And You Were There:
    • Riff Raff and Columbia's actors, Reeve Carney and Annaleigh Ashford play a couple in the cinema at the start with Carney being the guy The Usherette makes takes his feet off of a seat.
    • Like in the original, Laverne Cox, Reeve Carney, Christina Millian, Annaleigh Ashford, and the Transylvanian ensemble appear as extras during the "Dammit Janet" number. It's made very clear towards the end of the film that these background characters are actually Frank and the others in disguise (in the original, it's only hinted at).
  • Artistic License Geography: Brad proposes to Janet on Mary Shelley's grave outside Denton church. In reality she was buried in Bournemouth, England.
  • Ascended Meme: We see some of the Audience Participation that fans shout at the first movie and Columbia saying "I hope it's not meatloaf again." is also based on what fans shout during the dinner scene.
  • Audience Participation: In the most epic expansion of the original film's version, the Framing Device is a cinema which is showing the remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with the audience using most of the cues that can still apply to the remake.
  • Audience? What Audience?: When Doctor Scott apparently talks to the viewer during the dinner scene, Brad gives a confused look into the camera as if he's trying to work out who Scott's talking to. This is a nod to a fourth wall break in the original movie that never gets addressed.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Seems to be the Transylvanian equivalent of clapping in this movie.
  • Bookcase Passage: When Riff Raff leads Brad and Janet up to the ballroom, he takes them through a secret passage that emerges from a fireplace.
    • Rocky's gym equipment is hidden in a secret room behind some shelves.
  • Bowdlerise: Since this was a prime-time TV-14-rated production, a lot of things are gentled down (Eddie's death, and the presentation of his corpse; the contents of the ashtrays in the Zen Room; the Medusa device freezing its victims in place instead of turning them into nude statues). The costumes are somewhat less revealing, and the set design a bit less... phallic. Amusingly, the post-coital cigarette shared between Brad and Frank is removed completely, likely due to No Smoking as a result of being scheduled before the Watershed.
  • By the Hair: Frank pulls Brad by the hair to stop him reaching his glasses when she surprises him in bed.
  • The Cameo: President of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club, Sal Piro plays the wedding photographer at the start. Likely to make up for his blink or you'll miss it cameo in Shock Treatment.
  • Colorblind Casting: Dr. Scott and Eddie are related but played by actors of different races, same goes for siblings Magenta and Riff Raff.
  • Cue Card: Riff Raff reads from cue cards that Magenta holds during the scene where he addresses to Dr. Frank N Furter that Rocky has escaped.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Due to Tim Curry's poor health, The Criminologist has an assistant played by Jayne Eastwood who does all his dance moves for him.
    • In the stage play a faux cinema worker called The Usherette sings "Science Fiction Double Feature". In the original movie she's replaced by a pair of lips on a black background. Here The Usherette sings it at the start but the Dark Reprise is sung at the end by two pairs of lips (The Usherette's and Frank's).
  • Foreshadowing: Before the car breaks down, the radio mentions that UFOs have recently been sighted.
  • Framing Device: Starts and ends with The Usherette in a cinema, watching the movie.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: You can pause and read Brad, Janet and Scott's police statements. The writing's as bit blurry but it's easier to read than in the original movie.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Brad sings Dammit Janet while a funeral procession is going by in the background.
  • Gender Flip: The character Frank is now referred to with female pronouns and played by Laverne Cox.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: The costumes for "Rose Tint My World", as well as a dusting of gold makeup on the actors in that number.
  • Good Colours, Evil Colours: According to a behind the scenes look run during the commercial break only humans wear blue, the costume designer even referred to the color of Janet's dress as "victim blue", Transylvanians are more likely to wear reddish colors. Columbia wears multi-color hair and clothes with both.
  • Grave Humor: During Dammit Janet, Brad and Janet lean against Frankenstein creator, Mary Shelley's gravestone. note 
  • Greek Chorus: As well as The Criminologist, the film has The Usherette and a faux-shadowcast Studio Audience.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Brad and Rocky, then Brad, Janet, and Rocky, in the pool scene.
  • Handshake Substitute: Brad and Ralph do a fist bump at the wedding.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Averted thanks to the gender-flipped Frank N Furter, as in the original Columbia/Magenta is just teased or hinted at but Frank/Janet and Frank/Columbia are explicit.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: It strikes Rocky and brings him to life.
  • Logo Joke: Like in the first movie, we hear the 20th Century Fox music played on a piano instead of an orchestra but we see this in the cinema on the screen rather than it being the first thing we see.
    • They didn't bother with a Fox logo or an RKO tower during the floor show and instead had a mock Empire State Building and had Frank lying in a replica of King Kong (2005)'s hand.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: Toward the end of "I'm Gonna Make You a Man, Part II", the pianist plays Felix Mendelssohn's "Act V Prelude" of A Midsummer Night's Dream as a wedding recessional while Frank and Rocky walk together hand-in-hand as "bride and groom" while flower petals shower on them.
  • Magical Security Cam: The Criminologist has photographs of scenes we saw earlier in Frank's castle.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Frank does it to Janet in her bedroom.
  • Mic Drop: Frank does this after announcing that "Eddie has left the castle" after killing him.
  • Monochrome to Color: When Brad starts singing "Once In A While", it starts with his face on a black and white monitor but zooms in and fades to colour.
  • Mythology Gag: Numerous. Not surprisingly, Tim Curry gets the first one in the show - a subtle throwing up of two fingers when the audience at home is surely cheering. At one point during "Science Fiction Double Feature", we get a brief close up of the Usherette's lips as she sings, a nod to the famous red lips that opened the 1975 film. The lips, now framed in black, sing the reprise of said song during the closing credits.
    • Also, we have this line during the dinner scene:
    • Rocky being born in a soda fridge is a nod to the original stage show, in particular where Frank kept Eddie after he took part of his brain to use on Rocky (with some productions also using the top of said fridge as the slab Rocky is laying on when he is created).
    • Combined with Brick Joke: During "Planet, Schmanet, Janet", while Frank chastises Janet, she crawls to some telephone booths... with actual telephones! This may lead the audience to wonder, "Wait, I thought castles didn't have telephones!"
    • The in-universe screening of Rocky Horror starts with the logo from the original film, complete with the distinctive piano-based version of the 20th Century Fox fanfare.
    • The fanfare that plays before the "Don't Dream It, Be It" portion of the Floor Show is the exact same fanfare from the original film.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Ben Vereen as Dr. Scott.
    • Though this might be deliberate as Richard O'Brien prefers Dr. Scott to speak in an American accent because he's pretending to be American. It was Jim Sharman who insisted that he have a german accent in the first movie.
  • Plot-Sensitive Button: Without any apparent fine tuning or calibration, the Medusa Transducer can freeze and unfreeze whoever Frank wants, simply by pulling the lever. Rocky, especially, gets frozen within pretty much no time to calibrate the machine.
  • Race Lift: The new Frank, Dr. Scott, and Magenta are black; Rocky is played by Russian-Indian actor Staz Nair. There are also rather more non-white actors playing the Transylvanians.
  • Raised Lighter Tribute: The audience do this during the chorus of Over At The Frankenstein Place.
  • Remake Cameo: The Criminologist is none other than Tim Curry himself!
  • Screaming Woman: The Criminologist's assistant unleashes a long scream after she hears a clap of thunder. Columbia and Janet also have their moments.
  • Shot-for-Shot Remake: It's pretty similar to the first movie apart from the lips singing Science Fiction Double Feature being replaced with the Usherette from the original play.
  • Show Within a Show: The whole thing is being watched by an audience in a cinema.
  • Sistine Steal;
    • The stained glass window in Rocky's weight room shows the two hands about to touch fingers with a lightning bolt between them.
    • When Frank and Rocky are killed, their bodies are positioned to resemble Michelangelo's famous painting, "The Creation of Adam" (with Rocky in Adam's position and Frank in God's).
  • Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: Goes a degree softer than the original movie by having a in-universe audience who are also watching the movie, complete with the usher character from the play who looks directly at the camera while singing.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Believe it or not, the "Chimes" sound effect found on iPhones is used as the church bells, and some people have actually called the film out for using this.
  • Studio Audience: It occasionally cuts to people in a cinema shouting abuse at the screen just like the fans in real life.
  • Taxidermy Terror: Some stuffed animals in the entrance hall on the way in, most notably a huge bear.
  • Telefrag: When Riff Raff and Magenta beam off to the Planet Transsexual in the Galaxy of Trasylvania, they demolish one of the castle's towers on the way out.
  • Teleportation: Riff Raff and Magenta turn into energy and beam off into the sky (demolishing one of the towers in the process) a few minutes before the castle beams off to the planet Transexual.
  • Truer to the Text: "Science Fiction Double Feature" being sung by an usherette happens in the original play. The first movie uses a pair of lips due to Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn arguing over who would sing it.
  • Visual Pun: When a preview of the new "Dammit, Janet" sequence (which is mostly set in a cemetery) was put on the Internet, fans couldn't resist to pointing out in comments sections that Brad and Janet are literally dancing on graves.
    • When Brad talks about "pulling our aces" when he and Janet are getting undressed, a few ace cards are seen when his pants get pulled down.
  • The Voiceless: The Criminologist's assistant never talks.