‘Just’ a sweet transvestite(?): (re)contextualizing Rocky Horror’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sullivan Hamilton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Risa Applegarth

Abstract: Over the past decade, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the gender-bending Frankenstein riff of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror [Picture] Show has found his/her/themselves caught in a tangled web of blurred and conflicting gender conceptions as the original stage show, film, and telefilm remake “time warp” from an experimental theater piece in 70s London to an international phenomenon. Using the original 1975 film adaptation and the 2016 television remake, this paper unpacks and analyzes the cultural contexts in which Tim Curry and Laverne Cox’s portrayals of Frank-N-Furter find themselves while foregrounding how the character and its text have faced changes and reinterpretation in reaction to the project of queer and trans liberation. I argue that while 21st century interpretations of Frank-N-Furter (particularly the 2016 remake) may prefer more binary, legible embodiments of trans womanhood in order to adopt a more progressive, forward-thinking interpretation of the character, these readings erase the non-binary/genderqueer embodiment of the character and remove the transgressive stance that the text takes towards the boundaries of gender and sexuality and how they attempt to navigate these tensions through queer embodiment.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Film Studies, Frank-N-Furter, Performance Theory, Queer Studies, Rocky Horror, Transvestite
O'Brien, Richard, $d 1942- $t Rocky Horror show
Rocky Horror picture show (Motion picture)
Gender nonconformity $x Social aspects
Queer theory

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