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Presentation

Abstract

One could hardly imagine anything queerer than the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Four decades after its release, Rocky remains a primary method of introduction into the queer community, and to the idea that not everyone expresses sexuality and gender in the same way. Yet, a disturbingly large portion of academic work on the film aims to reduce it to a merely Saturnalian ritual, erasing its queer impact and dubbing it instead some kind of coming-of-age story for heterosexual teenagers. This is a strange misreading. Rocky Horror is not merely queer in its means; it is deeply queer in its ends as well. The purpose of my paper and subsequent UMCUR presentation will be to explore the queerness of Rocky Horror, and ultimately demonstrate that it, as a piece of fiction, does not allow for a return to normalcy, but represents a watershed moment in queer representation and interpretation in fiction. This piece is a continuation of the research I have done in my Literary Criticism course last semester.

The methods I employed to carry out this project were to conduct research and develop an argument based around the literary lens of Queer Theory, especially relating to David Halperin’s quote “Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant.” I employed close reading to many scenes throughout the film, with particular emphasis on the final "floor show" scene. I also paid particular attention to the character of Dr. Frank N Furter, as he is especially maligned by previous critics. My approach is original in that there is a lack of academic writing on the subject employing modern queer theory. My project is significant because it represents a modern interpretation of a culturally and socially significant film.

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Humanities

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Apr 15th, 1:40 PM Apr 15th, 2:00 PM

You Better Wise Up, Janet Weiss: Reclaiming the Queerness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

One could hardly imagine anything queerer than the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Four decades after its release, Rocky remains a primary method of introduction into the queer community, and to the idea that not everyone expresses sexuality and gender in the same way. Yet, a disturbingly large portion of academic work on the film aims to reduce it to a merely Saturnalian ritual, erasing its queer impact and dubbing it instead some kind of coming-of-age story for heterosexual teenagers. This is a strange misreading. Rocky Horror is not merely queer in its means; it is deeply queer in its ends as well. The purpose of my paper and subsequent UMCUR presentation will be to explore the queerness of Rocky Horror, and ultimately demonstrate that it, as a piece of fiction, does not allow for a return to normalcy, but represents a watershed moment in queer representation and interpretation in fiction. This piece is a continuation of the research I have done in my Literary Criticism course last semester.

The methods I employed to carry out this project were to conduct research and develop an argument based around the literary lens of Queer Theory, especially relating to David Halperin’s quote “Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant.” I employed close reading to many scenes throughout the film, with particular emphasis on the final "floor show" scene. I also paid particular attention to the character of Dr. Frank N Furter, as he is especially maligned by previous critics. My approach is original in that there is a lack of academic writing on the subject employing modern queer theory. My project is significant because it represents a modern interpretation of a culturally and socially significant film.