Repo! The Genetic Opera

posted November 13, 2008 by Jer


Regular readers will know how Splurd's own macabre mistress, Q, has been anxiously anticipating the release of Repo! The Genetic Opera. I tagged along knowing nothing about it, and seeing it made me a certified GeneCo Propaganda Agent. How could this happen? Gather round, I'll tell you.

Before we go on, I want to weed out the people I'm not talking to. If you think there is nothing wrong with Hollywood today, get the hell out of my website right now. If you don't see that the past eight years of American cinema have been a blight on human development where the whole-grain that is the creative spirit has been crushed, ground, separated and processed into the white-flour that bakes the cookie cutter tripe Hollywood suits feel are safe investments, I want you to curl up and begin the process of dying from colon cancer. If you didn't shit a ship anchor when you heard Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are going to remake Old Boy, I'm coming to your house to play Repo! the home game. It's your fault no-one can make an non-formulaic movie anymore, you wretched festering crotch droplings. Stay home and watch Transformers while drinking Budweiser and eating Wonder-Bread and Jiff, and stop funding the cancer that's killing cinema creativity.

I kinda lost my train of thought there. Where was I? Ah yes, Repo.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is a truly original movie. I was endeared to it as soon as I learned Lionsgate - the very people who offered pittance to fund it - would rather bury the project claiming there was no audience for such an embarrassing pile of shit, all while Universal Pictures is already producing a movie for next year (Repossession Mambo) with the exact same premise jammed into the Hollywood formula with bigger name actors. This tragic struggle was relayed to me live by director Darren Lynn Bousman just before the showing, and the heartfelt plea made me love the movie in spirit, even if I was to hate it in body. The fact that it rocked my balls off was simply a bonus.

Repo! is set in a distopian future where everyone got sick until a major corporation called GeneCo found a cure then used their success to branch off into offering upgraded organs with convenient financing plans under the pretext that if you fail on a payment the sold organs will be violently repossessed by the Repo Man. The story, told entirely through song, is much too complicated to summarize, yet is so well woven and smoothly told that one never gets lost in its depth. It's tragic yet funny, the heroes have flaws, the villains have emotion and everyone involved feels human to a degree I thought impossible through modern film.

"But wait," you might say, "I heard Paris Hilton was in that movie and seeing her gives me the blood vomit." Funny thing about that. I didn't know it was Paris until the end credits, but it turns out her character is comedically repugnant and she's got an odd talent for portraying that. So get over it. Or focus more on Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman or Bill Moseley. Fuck that, go for Terrence Zdunich and Alexa Vega, who stole the god damn show. The casting in this movie was immaculate.

"Hang on a damn minute," you might say next, "Jer, you're trying to tell us that Darren Lynn Bousman, the guy who made three sequels to Saw, actually managed to create something original?" Yes, actually I am saying that, and it's one of the reasons I've really come to like the guy. As Bousman explained it, the Saw movies were a job. This is a concept I empathize with personally, having worked a really stable day job for 8 years while trying, trying to get my elf stories down on paper in a marketable manor so I can make a living with my creativity instead. Everyone has a day job and a dream. Repo! is Bousman's dream, and it was a damn beautiful and entertaining one.

"Okay," comes the question I think you should ask next, because I'm in your head, "where is this movie playing?" Well, this is where things get typical. I mentioned earlier Lionsgate's desire to bury the project. The fact is they have almost succeeded. The road-tour is a last ditch effort by Bousman and friends to save the movie and get a real theatrical release. Lionsgate executives have said pretty explicitly that there is no audience for this movie. So pretty much the only thing people interested in Repo! can do is call Liongate general inquiries at (310) 449-9200 or e-mail them at and articulate how bloody wrong they are.

So in conclusion, the plight of Repo! The Genetic Opera is the reason why movies suck. It's a unique, non-formulaic masterpiece that is too much of a creative risk for corporate Hollywood. The only way you will ever see it is if you demand it be shown. Even if a macabre opera isn't really your thing, the success or failure of Repo! is going to define the place of creativity in Hollywood for the next decade.

So get up! Stand up! Don't be shy. Everybody, EVERYBODY, TESTIFY!

Still not sold on this? Seek ye out the soundtrack. It rocks. That's it. I'm done. The defense rests. I give it an arbitrary rating of five vodka shots vials of Zydrate.

Rating: 5.0 vodka