Happy Anniversary Repo! The Genetic Opera.
As we approach the end of November. Just before we start winding down for the end of the year, lets take a moment to remember a special anniversary that has just passed. No I don’t mean the annual American genocide feast, or the Ritual Low Prices Gladiatorial Combat. No I’m talking about the 10th anniversary of one of the greatest pieces of film making of recent times. Repo! the Genetic Opera.
I still clearly recall then in late 2008, when my long time friend, and my predecessor as person in charge of this ballsup that calls itself a blog sat me down for a whirlwind ride into music and murder.
Best described as an over the top Goth / Metal Opera depicting a dystopian future full of doctor-assasins. Repo! was never going to be you typical big block buster. Hollywood salesmen (like most salesmen) have a very strict set of rules to ensure everything is sufficiently cliche and formulaic before it even has a chance. But much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show before it, Repo! thrusts it’s campy wonderfulness deep into the souls of a die hard cult fan base. Additionally Repo! also had it’s start as a piece in a series of stage plays was written and composed by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich. Both of whom would appear in the film. Smith in a cameo, while Zdunich takes on the role of Grave-robber, the main side character and at least 80% of the fans’ favorite character.
Darren Lynn Bousman, fresh off the success of Saw 2 and 3 jumped on to direct a film adaptation. Bousman had also previously directed one of the Repo! stage productions in 2002. Distributor Lionsgate didn’t do much in the way of promotion of the film. This lead the cast and crew to market Repo! via the internet, as well as go out and do a series of roadshows. Shadow cast shows where fans put on a stage performance whilst the film plays in the background are still popular.
With 58 songs in the film, Repo! has one of the largest soundtracks of a film. A large ensemble of musicians comprise the baking music, Including Shawn Crahan of Slipknot. The hard rock style of many songs could easily remind one of Sir Anderw Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, while the darker tone and over the top gothic aesthetic wouldn’t be out of lace in a Tim Burton production.
Unfortunately Lionsgate, who now hold the rights have never been interested in doing a sequel even though most the cast was keen. Bousman and Zdunich eventually went on to do a new series of films, called the Devil’s Carnival, which are very similar in style. And have cameos by a number of Repo! cast members. Zdunich is now working on the musical play American Murder Song.
While this film might not be for everyone, I do think everyone should give Repo! a try. It’s probably one of my most re-watched classics.