Something Different, Something Fun – Throwback Review of Repo! The Genetic Opera

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In the year 2056 – the not so distant future – an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family’s mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera. I was looking back through some of my reviews and realized that I had plugged and hailed The Devil’s Carnival like it was going out of style, but I’ve never reviewed the first movie that Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich collaborated on: Repo! The Genetic Opera. (synopsis from www.imdb.com)

Repo is a horror rock opera, which many people will not exactly appreciate. I, however, love this show. Adding horror and a lot of gore to a rock opera containing an amazing cast including Paul Sorvino, Bill Moseley, Alexa Vega, Nivek Ogre (Skinny Puppy), Terrance Zdunich, Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman, and Paris Hilton. With these names, only great things could be expected, and do they ever deliver.

*Warning* If you haven’t watched this movie yet, there will be spoilers!

Anthony Stewart Head plays our tragic hero (hero who has tragic flaws) who is raising his daughter Shilo (played by Alexa Vega) after his wife dies. Their story is a futuristic, twisted version of the Rapunzel story, where the daughter is secretly given a “medicine” that actually makes her sicker. Nathan (Head) is trying to protect his daughter from the new world as well as the perceived truth behind her mother’s death. Nathan is also the Geneco Repo man, who slaughters those who miss their payments and repossesses the leased organs.

Take a look at this clip of Anthony Stewart Head signing during one of his killing scenes:

 

Terrance Zdunich gives an amazing performance as the Gravedigger. He has some of the most amazing singing scenes that typically involve Alexa Vega or Paris Hilton. Gravedigger’s role is to stick syringes into dead bodies’ heads and extract Zydrate, a drug that is used to reduce the pain of those who are addicted to cosmetic surgery.

While I am typically not a fan of Paris Hilton (except in the remake of House of Wax where a steel pole is pushed through her head), she does a great job acting as the spoiled, surgery addicted daughter of GENECO’s founding father, Paul Sorvino. Paul Sorvino (playing as Rotti) has two other children: Luigi (played by Bill Moseley) and Pavi (played by Nivek Ogre). All together, they present a decadent family that is at risk of falling apart when it becomes apparent that the cornerstone of their GENECO empire (Rotti), may not be there for much longer.

I love this movie. Sarah Brightman has an amazing voice and her role is truly heartbreaking and touching, in a violent, self-mutilating way. I still have to voice my favorite: Anthony Stewart Head as Nathan. It is amazing watching Head portray a man who is trapped in his past and fighting to protect his daughter, but who is also a literal monster. There is a Jekyll and Hyde mentality with Nathan that pops out when he goes into his “repo” scenes.

The transition between scenes are accomplished by using comic book cut aways that explain parts of the backstory or herald in other changes to the characters. It is a stylish move that adds to the over-the-top feel of the film.

Do yourself a service and check out Repo. It is one of those movies that you either love it or hate it. I’ve heard very few people say that they “just liked it” or “it was ok”. This is really different for most people, but, for me, the difference is what makes it all that much more interesting and exciting.

Take a look a the trailer and let me know what you think!

 

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