Hamilton may just
have unleashed a monster with its plans for a statue to commemorate
its links with the Rocky Horror Show, writes the Waikato Times
in an editorial.
Show creator Richard O'Brien wants to bring the annual convention
for the film of the show to the city next year. It will be the
30th anniversary of the making of the Rocky Horror Picture Show,
a movie that has developed a huge cult following all around
The plan for the
convention follows the first official recognition that Hamilton
had a big part in the picture and the original stage show. O'Brien,
while not born here, spent his formative years in the city and
the old Embassy theatre, now demolished, was inspiration for
much of the show.
But a plan by the
city and Perry Foundation to mark the fact with a statue of
O'Brien dressed as Rocky Horror character Riff Raff has polarised
Hamiltonians since it was announced last week. While there has
been huge support from those pleased to see that the city is
finally recognising its artistic talent, the anti-statue lobby
is horrified that the city can be associated with a show that
has transsexual overtones. They are also upset that they had
no input into the spending of $25,000 of ratepayers' money and
have used that fact to berate a council that can see the long-term
benefits of the plan.
But the city's contribution
to the statue is a small one and will be a tiny investment if
the three-day convention goes ahead and the city becomes a focus
for Rocky Horror tourism in the future. The critics can't see
that because most of them have no conception of what the show
is, or its cult status, more than 30 years after it first appeared
on stage in London's West End.
What they don't realise
is that the show and the film that followed it are international
stars. The official Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club has 50,000
members in North America alone. The website of the British fan
club has had more than 230,000 hits since it was established.
News of the statue
plans has already been posted on the site - and received
an enthusiastic response. "What a good excuse for a trip
to New Zealand," says one fan. "Hopefully one day
I'll be able to afford to visit it," says another.
Rocky fans are true
enthusiasts. Therefore they'll find the money for a trip to
New Zealand for a Rocky Horror event if it's promoted and offers
them something they can't get anywhere else. And even better
if it's in the hometown of the show's creator.
That's because Rocky
Horror isn't just a movie, or a show. It is an experience with
many fans dressing up and getting into character. In Austin,
Texas, the film has run continuously every Friday and Saturday
night for the past 25 years with audience participation encouraged
Hamilton has just
been given a huge opportunity to reinvent itself as the Rocky
Horror capital of the world. It has to take that opportunity
fast - and make the most of it.