I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey. It all started on the 16th of June in 1973…
Misfits, drunks and partygoers gathered in a small, dark room located above the Royal Court Theatre in London to see the musical that tells the story of a mad transvestite scientist that boasts a rather bizarre and morbid invention of a Frankenstein-esque monster.
The Rocky Horror Show was created by New Zealand writer, actor and theatre performer Richard O’Brien. The play is best described as a rock-musical – encompassing horror, science fiction, sex, transvestitism, and rock & roll. The production was performed in several locations in London performing almost 3,000 times. Not long after, the musical was adapted into the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, released the summer of 1975, directly competing with the movie JAWS, releasing the same year. As such, marketers took an interesting approach to the films advertising:
To avoid the competition of the latest summer blockbuster, the Rocky Horror Picture Show was shown as a midnight exclusive. The production was also the first screenplay of its kind, as it heavily incorporated audience participation into the experience. People were able to yell lines at the screen during extended pauses between dialogues, dress up in costume and act out the film, and throw props various times during the film.
This type of engagement is called “Pantomime” and stems from British theatre culture. Pantomime is a large part of this culture, a type of musical and comedy stage production that is designed for family entertainment. It was originally developed in England and is still performed there during the holiday season.
Pantomime’s can include songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines relevant humour with a story based on popular fairy tales or stories (just like Frankenstein). To get a better idea of Pantomime, check out the video below:
As with many old movies, a remake of the Rocky horror picture show aired October 20th, 2016 with fresh faces and perhaps a spin on the old classic. With big shoes to fill, we’ll have to see if the new take on the film satisfies die-hard Rocky Horror fans. Big shoes to fill, for sure…