Let's (Not) Do the Time Warp Again

The Last Rocky Horror at the River Oaks Theatre

After the final movie screening at the beloved theater, mourning crowds began to sing an old classic.

By Emma Schkloven With Jacob Calle March 26, 2021

They won’t be doing the Time Warp again—at least not at the River Oaks Theatre.

The final credits officially rolled for the much-cherished vintage cinema on March 25, bringing its 82-year run in Houston after a saga with as many twists and turns as an M. Night Shyamalan film. For any movie trivia buffs out there: The first showing was Ginger Rogers and David Niven’s Bachelor Mother; its final screening was the critically acclaimed Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand.

Built in 1939 on West Gray Street, the theater is the last remaining vestige from the golden age of movies, but it might be most notable for being one of the only sights in town to hold midnight screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with shadow cast and interactive props, each month.

So it makes sense that fans of the campy tradition performed a special rendition of "Over at the Frankenstein Place"—obviously subbing out references to Frank N Furter’s mansion for those of the beloved theater—during a special candlelight vigil on closing night.

"There's a light over at the River Oaks Theatre," the crowd sang, while waving cellphone lights and candles. "There's a light, light in the darkness of everybody's life."

Of course, some locals are still holding out hope that this won’t be the theater’s final act. A benefit to save the cinema is set for March 27 at Warehouse Live and a panel discussion, featuring director and native Houstonian Richard Linklater and other guests, will take place on March 31.

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