The Rocky Horror Remake: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By request, here’s the breakdown of the most unnecessary musical remake since NBC started did Sound of Music Live. 

Okay, let’s get comprehensive.


  • The first two musical numbers are actually pretty great, which inspired a lot of false hope.
  • Ivy Levan sounds amazing, and the intro is a great throwback to the stage version. 
  • I LOVE THIS BRAD AND JANET. Ryan McCartan plays Brad as a campy, deeply-closeted every man, which is an interpretation that would work for any other version of this show. 
  • Victoria Justice sounds good too, she’s clearly having fun
  • Reeve Carney fucking gets it. He’s Richard O’Brien 2.0. I love his Riff Raff, he gets every note right.
  • Annaleigh Ashford gets a lot of credit for playing a Columbia that’s a huge tonal shift from the original take. She’s a depressed rainbow emo fan girl and it works. Also, her improvised line is by far the best thing in this shit show (you’ll know it when you hear it).

The Bad

  • Adam Lambert looks like a chimpanzee. A very skinny chimpanzee some dressed in punk costumes from Build-A-Bear, but he does sound good. Kinda?
  • The choreography is great, but having great choreo in Rocky Horror is like having the prettiest set in Our Town. Like, congrats, but you’re really not getting the point of this. 
  • You have Tim Curry as the Criminologist. I get it- he’s a huge part of the original’s success. But, dude, Tim Curry just had a stroke. It’s a little uncomfortable to see him like this. Let him rest.
  • How do you have such a big budget for this and yet it somehow looks cheaper than the deliberately cheap looking D-Movie?
  • What even is Ben Vereen at this point? You have one of the greatest dancers in Broadway history in a wheelchair. And on drugs? I can’t explain his performance otherwise.
  • Thank God Staz Nair (Rocky) is pretty, because he’s not much else. Okay, he can sing a little and shake it in board shorts. His acting sucks though.
  • Christina Millian (Columbia) is barely in this, and it doesn’t seem like she’s trying. Way to waste one of the most scene-stealing roles. Literally no connection to Riff-Raff or their arc in this movie. 

the ugly

Okay people, take a breath. Beyond here, I skip the bullets and go straight into essay format. You’ve been warned. 

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The recent TV remake of The Rocky Horror Picture will be released on DVD on December 6 via Fox. It will be presented an extended cut with additional footage and a song not aired on television. A Blu-ray release is not planned.

The reimagining of the 1975 cult classic is executive produced by Lou Adler (who executive produced the original), Gail Berman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Kenny Ortega (High School Musical). Ortega also directs, working from the original script written by Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharman.

Laverne Cox, Victoria Justice, Ryan McCartan, Staz Nair, Adam Lambert, Reeve Carney, Annaleigh Ashford, Christina Milian, Ivy Levan, Ben Vereen, and Tim Curry star.

Special features can be found below.

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Adam Lambert Explains Why He Turned Down Frank-N-Furter Role in 'Rocky Horror' Remake
“I kind of felt like in 2016, to be cis and playing the role of a trans character, it felt inappropriate to me,” the singer says. The role went to OITNB actress Laverne Cox.

Ok, I hate posts that say “Why aren’t more people talking about this,” and this is the first time I’ve been tempted to make one. Because seriously – there are so many stories lately about cis men playing trans women, and so many people saying that any man who gets cast as a trans woman should turn down the role. SO, let’s talk about Adam Lambert, and how he did that. He was offered the lead role of Frank-n-Furter in the new Rocky Horror production and he turned it down. And then, the showrunners responded by a) casting Laverne Cox instead, and b) giving Lambert a different role in the show anyway. In the end, everybody did the right thing and everybody got something good out of it. 

I know Rocky Horror in general is a pretty touchy subject, with people having both extremely positive and extremely negative experiences with it, but let’s still acknowledge that some things are going very, very right in this production.