ROCKY HORROR SHOWS HIS HEELS
Like the original Rocky Horror Show, this
cannot be judged like a conventional script. Characterizations are
grandiose and ludicrous in a Grand Guignol fashion, yet acted with the
right style (as they were previously) the roles can be marvelously entertaining.
There is hardly any dialogue, the script's structure consisting of bridging
the numerous songs with brief expository conversations. The dialogue
isn't as sharp as in the previous film, however, often tending to the obscure
pun or the oblique reference.
The settings, however, are suitably imaginative, with several possibilities for cinematic extravaganzas. The storyline is neither more nor less flimsy and incoherent than the previous version and runs a nearly identical narrative pattern. This one has numerous Rosemary's Baby references, and the gay jokes and attitudes are even more predominant.
The most important element of this sort of film is the score, since it's the music's quality that will determine both the youth word-of-mouth and the frequency of repeat viewings. The score, except for one song, is provided here on a cassette. Though the tape is woefully underproduced, banally arranged, and awkwardly vocalized, one can still find several good songs in O'Brien's Elvis Presley/David Bowie mode (notably "I'm Breaking Out," "Little Black Dress," "Looking For Trade," and "I Wanna Be An Ace") and only a couple of terrible ones ("I'm Gonna See My Baby" and "He Lived and Died for Rock 'n Roll").
But at this point the music seems markedly less consistent and energentic than that of the original show, lacking the irresistible, upbeat, dynamic tunes it needs (like "Sweet Transvestite," "Time Warp," "Toucha, Toucha, Touch, Touch Me"). Instead the composer has laden the score with lethargic ballads, particularly in the script's latter half; lyrics aside, the slow tempos and treatments are such that Como could sing many of these tunes.
If this project is to work, the composer must recollect that he's writing for a young rock audience; he misses here the drive and excitement that Rocky Horror Show possessed. If he weeded out the mediocre songs and wrote more lively ones as replacements, however, the score would definitely have the breadth of underground acclaim that the previous show had.
Essentially the question of whether to produce this film depends on one's satisfaction with the previous film's box office. With some rewriting of the screenplay and with substantial revision of the score and appropriate musical arrangements, this would certainly do at least as well as the previous film (provided that Tim Curry reprises his role). Moreover, perhaps it wouldn't take the sequel so long to gain the attention of the devoted youth cult.
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