Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) Darren Lynn Bousman

Production Budget: $8.5 million
Worldwide Gross: $185,000

Repo is set in 2056 where a disease has struck the whole world that destroys organs (which is seemingly everyone’s heart).  Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino) creates GeneCo a company that creates designer organs and does plastic surgery a must have.  The people who need these surgeries can’t pay and so they sign an installment plan.  If they do not pay, there is a government supported Repo Man who can hunt you down and cut those organs out.  Nathan (Anthony Stewart Head) is a worker for Rotti both as a doctor and secretly as the Repo Man.  Nathan’s 17 year old daughter Shilo who is sickly is being seduced by Rotti to be his heir.  The plot is a little difficult to explain because a lot of characters and plot threads litter this movie.

Repo was originally a stage play in Los Angeles.  After initial success, the story was expanded and new songs upon new songs were added.  Darren Bousman created a short 10 minute movie with some stars of the play and Michael Rooker (who oddly doesn’t appear in the feature) and used the short to pitch to movie studios.  The movie was picked up by Lionsgate and given feature length.  The movie was screened in an unfinished cut and received great reviews from audience members but scathing reviews from major reviewers.  Repo was pushed back several months and Lionsgate cut all promotion for the film.

The movie was given an extremely limited release.  To create promotion for the film, Bousman and the cast would do screenings and do Q & A’s after the screenings and created a Road Tour across several cities.  Fan support and a strong cult following came after the DVD release.  Some theaters have “shadowcasts” where a group of performers re-enact the film in front of the screen.  There are mutterings that there will be a sequel (of a proposed trilogy) but Bousman is pessimistic because of the poor box office of the first movie. (Wikipedia)

Is it any good?  As you probably read in the previous post I was dreading watching this movie.  I read those scathing reviews and you are not exactly winning me over when you try to lure me in with the phrase “From the Producers of SAW!!!”.  Not to mention the fact you have Paris Hilton in this movie.  Really, wasn’t House of Wax enough people?  But now that I’ve finally seen it I just have to say…this movie is damn good.

Now this movie is a Rock Opera so naturally you think of Rocky Horror Picture Show.  How does it compare?  Well, its a little campy but its more goth and bloody (naturally coming from the Producers of SAW!!!)  Repo is very inventive and actually won me over from my expectations of suckage.  Okay here is where I give my verbal blow job to Anthony Michael Head.  He made this movie for me.  The dude steals ever scene he is in and his songs were by far the most memorable.  He works his a** off and he is just the man.  Alexa Vega and Sarah Brightman also have good performances and musical numbers.  Even Paris Hilton isn’t bad as a stuck up bitch with a plastic body.  So she played Paris Hilton.

Now its not all great, there are a few flaws.  Obviously in musicals you have great songs and some crappy ones are slipped in.  And when this is an Opera and you have 64 songs in it you get a few that are just bad and some of them sound similar with the same guitar power chords.  I also had a problem with Paul Sorvino.  He tries, he REALLY REALLY tries but he does not have the voice or the presence for the role they are asking for.  Its actually his songs where I was cringing the most.  It also seemed like they edited a bunch to where the designer drug storyline really seemed like an afterthought and pretty much pointless to the narrative as a whole.

But still I am shocked at how good this was.  I do think this movie will have a strong following since DVD has made it so cheap and accessible to everyone.  It is really easy to rent a copy and just check it out.  So yeah, I recommend this movie.  Its rough around the edges and could have used some polishing from the writing and the songs but its a fun movie.  Check it out.

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