Fox's 'Rocky Horror' Vs. The 1975 Movie's "Science Fiction/Double Feature": How It Differs
For those who adore celebrations of all things camp, fabulous, and a little spooky, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an absolute godsend. Since its release in 1975, the film (and musical) has remained an absolute cult favorite, beloved by those of us who are self-proclaimed freaks, creeps, party-lovers, and film fanatics — and proud of it. Suffice to say, it's always seemed impossible to improve upon the perfection of the original. But with Fox's 2016 remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, fans will be treated to a modern day re-imagining of the hit musical, which feels completely respectful of that fact. The new RHPS soundtrack definitely has its differences from the 1975 version. And a key example lies in Fox's take on "Science Fiction/Double Feature," which is a perfectly modernized version of the original.
As you may recall, the 1975 version of "Science Fiction/Double Feature" (lip-synced by Patricia Quinn and her iconic red lips) was sung by the show's creator, Richard O'Brien. The song features a distinctive musical style reminiscent of rock 'n' roll ballads from the 1950s, which of course sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Though the backing vocals are suitably angelic and forthright on the track, the lead vocals are incredibly pared down and casual. They essentially slowly walk the listener through a set of tributes to the B-Movies and serials, which are also parodied within The Rocky Horror Picture Show itself.
The 2016 version from the Fox production of the musical, however, features a far more prominent and powerful lead vocal. Performed by Ivy Levan, the updated track is a little raunchier, but just as theatrical, fun, and full of personality as the original. However, the change from a casually phrased male vocal to that of a vivacious female one in Fox's version provides a fitting introduction from old to new.
After all, as the first song of the entire show, "Science Fiction/Double Feature" is responsible for setting the overall tone. By giving the song a musical makeover full of a contemporary energy, production style, and dominant dose of female sensuality, it's setting up a show which is clearly unafraid to modernize.
The decision to reduce the volume of the '50s doo-wop-style backing vocals from the original arrangement also feels like an attempt to distinguish the show within a more modern framework. It's a decision which makes it clear that this is a 2016 riff on a 1973 song inspired by '50s pop culture — and you can almost hear the musical filtering of all of those levels within the new production of "Science Fiction/Double Feature."
So personally, I can't wait to see how the rest of Fox's Rocky Horror Picture Show sounds and plays out when during its premiere on Oct. 21. Because from the preview of "Science Fiction/Double Feature," it's going to be fresh and fierce, but just as fabulously freaky as the original.
Images: Fox (2)