6. It's Just a Step to the Right: Transformative Gender and Sexuality from Frankenstein to The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Caitlin Flowers Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Joseph Colavito Butler University
Get ready to shiver with antici… Frankenstein’s most provocative spawn, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, shocked audiences with an innovative approach to gender and sexuality—the lead character is a “Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania,” with polyamorous, pansexual sidekicks, and seduces two recently-married virgins. Seeds planted in Frankenstein of homosexuality between creator and creation, sexual repression, and gender norms bloom in the colorful The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In Mary Shelley’s original novel, Dr. Frankenstein picks attractive elements to create his creation. Elaborating on this, Dr. Frank-N-Furter makes his creature, Rocky, as a lover for himself, and creates the most perfect man possible. When Dr. Frankenstein births a new being, he is coded feminine for giving life. Dr. Frank-N-Furter furthers this by dressing in feminine attire. While Brad and Janet are portrayed as sexually inexperienced virgins, (i.e. typical society), Dr. Frank-N-Furter counters this by being sexually aggressive to the men and women around him, and having an affair with both Brad and Janet. Inspired by Frankenstein, The Rocky Horror Picture Show takes questions of gender and sexuality from the original novel and amplifies these to the extreme, in order to provoke a reaction in a heteronormative audience. The horror genre forces the audience to experience what society has repressed. Rocky Horror’s blatant counterculture asks questions society refuses to answer. The Rocky Horror Picture Show graphically displays unconventional gender norms and sexualities to subvert normative society in an entertaining and unique way. …pation!
English Literature & Creative Writing
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library 2nd Floor