Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/12927
Don't judge a book by its cover: The Camp and Queerness of Rocky Horror Picture Show
This essay examines the quixotic notions of camp and queer in terms of the 1975 film adaptation of Richard O’Brien stage musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Its starting point is the unparalleled international success of the film version and its unique cult status across the entire gamut of sexual and gender identities. In short, its appeal is not restricted to any particular ethnic, age or gender groups. At the same time, and perhaps as a result of its broad-based popularity, the show and the film have proved to be instrumental in the call for equal rights and acceptance of the queer culture. Questions are raised about the problem of assessing or defining identity by means of gender in the wider context of the film musical and the development of queer culture and queer theory. Some of Judith Butler’s writings on gender underpin part of the discussion, but this essay is by no means intended as a critique of her writings or systematic application of her ideas to this particular work of art. Examples and references to the film’s structure, songs, lyrics, characters as well as to Richard O’Brien, Jim Sharman and Richard Hartley are included to shed light on why the musical has become a cult classic. With some help from Judith Butler, as well as from other feminist theorists and queer theorists, it also tried to shed some light on this musical’s social significance.