September 22 is the 20th anniversary of Showgirls, a film that stands among the great gay icons of camp films. Released in 1995 with the then-scandalous (and basically unheard of since) rating of NC-17, a market-friendly way of saying “This should be on late-night Cinemax,” the film promised to be a titillating look at the seductive and sexy world of Las Vegas life.
It was, of course, a big flop, mostly because the script was stupid and the acting was crazy. But if nothing else, the actors seemed to be having a good time, unaware of the fact that they were saying their lines wrong with every word that came out of their mouths. That’s where the magic lies. Much like Rocky Horror Picture Show, another energetic catastrophe, Showgirls simply can’t help itself from being fun.
Perhaps this is why the movie is so beloved by the gay community: after years of finding refuge in high school drama clubs and performing awful plays, and then watching drag queens lip sync for the masses in dirty bars, gay men understand what it feels like to give everything you’ve got on stage, even if the end result is terrible. Like the drag queen who high-kicks as hard as she can but can only get her leg up to her waist, Elizabeth Berkeley really tried. And for that, the gays will always love her.
In honor of the 20th Anniversary of this glorious artistic achievement, GayCities took a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to revisit iconic filming locations of Showgirls. Most of the filming locations are gone, but our writer did stumble upon a pool full of cute guys.
Also, Slate created an artistic analysis of the film. The narrator, a rather lazy-voiced gentleman who mumbles his way through his remarks, obviously loves Nomi Malone as much as anyone could. Although it takes a special type of fan to create a video analysis of Showgirls, and for that, we salute him.