The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show: a Camp Parody of the Gothic between Mary Shelley, J. B. Priestley and James Whale

Armando Rotondi

Abstract


The theatre play The Rocky Horror Show (1973) by Richard O’Brien and then the film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) by Jim Sharman can be considered as two milestone in musical theatre/film history. For their themes and structure, they represent the highest expression of the sexual revolution of the late 60s and the 70s, becoming an icon of the movements for the sexual freedom. The success of the musical is due to its capacity of being an enormous parody of both literary and film references. The first clear reference is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the film adaptation by James Whale. However, less analysed it the relation with the novel Benighted (1927) by John B. Priestly and the adaptation, again by Whale, The Old Dark House (1932), that seems to be the real source of inspiration for O’Brien. The paper will analyse this relation, focusing its attention on the elements that have created the “Rocky Horror Show liturgy” and on the references of the parody, and proposing a vision of O’Brien’s work as a meta-parody.

Keywords


camp; queer; gothic; musical; horror; Whale

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)

References


Babuscio, Jack, “The Cinema of Camp (aka Camp and the Gay Sensibility)”, Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject, Ed. Fabio Cleto, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1999: 117-135.

Bassnett, Susan, Translation Studies, London and New York, Routledge, 1988.

Booth, Mark, Camp, London and New York, Quartet Books, 1983.

Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, London and New York, Routledge, 1990.

Cleland, John, Fanny Hill (1748), trad. it. Fanny Hill. Memorie di una donna di piacere, Ed. Enrica Villari, Venezia, Marsilio, 2001.

Curtis, James, James Whale. A New World of Gods and Monsters, London and New York, Faber & Faber, 1998.

Deflem, Mathieu, “Ritual, Anti-Structure, and Religion: A Discussion of Victor Turner’s Processual Symbolic Analysis”, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 30. 1 (1991): 1-25.

Dyer, Richard (ed.), Gays and Film, London, British Film Institute, 1977.

Eco, Umberto, Dire quasi la stessa cosa. Esperienze di traduzione, Milano, Bompiani, 2003.

Eliade, Mircea, Le Mythe de l'éternel retour. Archétypes et répétition, trad. fr. di Jean Gouillard e Jacques Soucasse, Paris, Gallimard, 1949.

Evans, David (ed.), Appropriation, Cambridge, The MIT Press, 2009.

Freud, Sigmund, Totem e Tabu (1913), Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2011.

Genette, Gérard, Palimpsestes, Paris, Seuil, 1982, trad. it. Palinsesti. La letteratura al secondo grado, Torino, Einaudi, 1997.

Hermes, Joke, “On Behalf of the Audience: A Critique of Janet Staiger’s Notion of the Practice of Reception”, Film-Philosophy, 7. 41 (Nov. 2003), http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol7-2003/n41hermes, on-line (ultimo accesso: 03/12/2016)

Hutcheon, Linda, “The Politics of Postmodernism: Parody and History”, Cultural Critique, 5 (Winter, 1986-1987): 179-207.

Hutcheon, Linda, A Theory of Adaptation, New York and London, Routledge, 2006.

Jameson, Fredric, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”, New Left Review, 146 (1984): 53-92.

Kinsey, Alfred - Pomeroy Wardell - Martin, Clyde, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, Philadelphia, Saunders, 1948.

Kinsey, Alfred - Pomeroy Wardell - Martin, Clyde, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, Philadelphia, Saunders, 1953.

Klemm, Michael D., “Of Gays and Ghouls”, Cinema Queer.com,

http://www.cinemaqueer.com/review%20pages/ofgaysghouls.htm, online, (ultimo accesso 30/04/2016).

Lawrence, David Herbert, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), trad. it. L’amante di Lady Chatterley, Ed. Silvia Rota Sperti, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2013.

Mallory, Michael, Universal Studios Monster. A Legacy of Horror, New York, Universe, 2009.

Meyer, Moe (ed.), The Politics and Poetics of Camp, London and New York, Routledge, 1994.

Miller, Henry, Tropic of Cancer (1934), trad. it. Tropico del cancro, Ed. Luciano Bianciardi, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2013.

O’Brien, Richard, The Rocky Horror Show, London, Samuel French, 1983.

Priestley, John B., Benighted (1927), Richmond, Valancourt Books, 2013.

Ross, Andrew, “Uses of Camp”, No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture, Ed. Andrew Ross, New York, Routledge, 1989: 135–170.

Rotondi Armando, “James Whale’s The Old Dark House: Classic Gothic Cinema as the Origin of The Rocky Horror Show”, The Gothic. Probing the Boundaries, Ed. Eoghain Hamilton, Oxford, Inter-disciplinary Press, 2011: 61-69.

Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein (1818), Milano, Mondadori, 2002.

Shrum, Wesley - Kilburn, John, “Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras: Ceremonial Exchange and Moral Order”, Social Forces, Vol. 75, No. 2. (Dec., 1996): 423-458.

Siegel, Mark, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: More than a Lip Service”, Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Nov., 1980): 305-312.

Sontag, Susan, “Notes on Camp”, Partisan Review, Fall Issue (1964): 515-530.

Sontag, Susan, “Notes on Camp”, Art Theory and Criticism, Ed. Sally Everett, Jefferson & London, MacFarland, 1991: 96-110.

St John, Graham (ed.), Victor Turner and Contemporary Cultural Performance, New York, Berghahn, 2008.

Staiger, Janet, Interpreting Films: Studies in the Historical Reception of American Cinema, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1992.

Staiger, Janet, Perverse Spectators – The Practices of Film Reception, New York, NYU Press, 2000.

Steiner, George, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1975.

Torop, Peeter, La traduzione totale (1995), Milano, Hoepli, 2010.

Tinkcom, Matthew, Working Like a Homosexual: Camp, Capital, Cinema, Durham, Duke University Press, 2002.

Turner, Victor, From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness to Play, New York, Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982, trad. it. Dal rito al teatro, Bologna, Il Mulino 1986.

Turner, Victor, Anthropology of the Performance, New York, Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1987, trad. it. Antropologia della performance, Bologna, Il Mulino 1993.

Van Gennep, Arnold, Les rites de passage, Paris, E. Nourry, 1909, trad. it. I riti di passaggio, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri 2002.

Weinstock, Jeffrey, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, London and New York, Wallflower Press, 2007.

Weinstock, Jeffrey, Reading Rocky Horror: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Popular Culture, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Wyndham, John, The Night of the Triffids, London, Michael Joseph, 1951.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2182

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-18885

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


Between Journal is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA  Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal is published with the funding of the Bank of Sardinia Foundation.

ISSN 2039-6597

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe