Jewish Journal

Virgins welcome at ‘Hebrew Horror’ night

Again with the time warp?

by Adam Wills

Posted on Dec. 20, 2007 at 7:00 pm

A fan dressed as Magenta

A fan dressed as Magenta

Inspired by this week's Jewish pastime of movies and Chinese food, the Los Angeles "Rocky Horror Picture Show" cast Sins o' the Flesh is hosting an inaugural Jewish-themed send-up of the midnight cult classic at the Landmark Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Each week, the Sins troupe performs a synchronized below-the-screen recreation of the film with sarcastic social jabs, bawdy sexuality and biting fan in-jokes. And the "Hebrew Horror" will be no different.

The event marks the first time the players have devoted an entire evening to poking fun at the Jewish community, said Sins co-cast leader Bernie Bregman, 28, who plays the title role of Rocky. He added that "Hebrew Horror" is likely the first Jewish theme night for any "Rocky Horror" cast since audience participation began in the late 1970s.

"It's one of those things that started out as a joke and really became serious after we started spewing out ideas," the 11-year "Rocky" veteran said of the brainstorming session among Sins' cast, which is mostly Jewish.

One cast member will get a Chasidic makeover with payot, while another will have the requisite doily on her head replaced with a white kippah. During the film's same-sex wedding ceremony, the Sins players will erect a chuppah. Simulated sex scenes will include a sheet with a hole in the middle. And expect at least one nod to Mel Brooks.

For the uninitiated -- known to fans as "virgins" -- "Rocky Horror" is a spoof of 1950s science fiction and horror films. The original "Rocky Horror Show" began as a London musical in 1973 before coming to Los Angeles' Roxy Theater for its U.S. debut in 1974. Richard O'Brien penned the production and helped Jim Sharman adapt it for the screen as "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in 1975.

"Rocky Horror" recounts the strange case of a recently engaged couple, Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), whose car suffers a blowout during a rainstorm. The virginal twosome stumble upon a nearby castle where strange characters have gathered for a Transylvanian Convention hosted by Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a cross-dressing bisexual alien who creates a new lover, Rocky, in his laboratory. Let's just say everything goes downhill from there.

The 20th Century Fox production was all but ignored or panned by critics when it opened, but today it's the longest-running and most popular cult film ever released. Its domestic box office has grossed nearly $113 million.

Midnight showings in New York helped generate the cult following, which inspired audience participation, such as fans heckling the film with lewd callbacks and throwing objects (toast, toilet paper) or performing as part of casts, like Sins o' the Flesh.

Every showing opens with a "virgin" sacrifice, and "Hebrew Horror" will be no different. The Sins preshow contests this week will include dreidel spinning and finding the afikomen (be afraid), and latkes with applesauce and sour cream will be served.

Sins pokes fun at almost anything, but the players say they won't cross over into Holocaust humor. Several Shoah-themed jokes came up during the brainstorming, but the cast agreed those would be in bad taste, even by "Rocky" standards.

"That crosses the line into an area that's just not funny anymore because it's so uncomfortable," said Moraca, a self-described super-sensitive liberal. "We slaughter the sacred cow, but I'm hoping this comes off as something in good fun and not offensive."

"Hebrew Horror," Dec. 22, 12 a.m., Landmark Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles.

Landmark Nuart


Sins o' the Flesh


Participation Guide


(Check with Sins o' the Flesh to see what's kosher to bring)

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