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REPO!: The Genetic Opera

Posted by Goran / July 22, 2008


I was a wee bit apprehensive about accepting an offer from the Fantasia Film Festival to attend a press screening of REPO!: The Genetic Opera at Cinema du Parc and subsequently interviewing director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II through now apparently VII) and actress Alexa Vega (Spy Kids Trilogy) at the beautifully designed Ex-Centris Theatre on St. Laurent. What the heck do I know about movies and interviewing celebrities?

Although the film is a musical horror, the experience was not so scary after all. The screening was a pleasure, while Bousman and Vega were actually quite nice. They were happy to be in Montreal plugging away at their most recent project, which boasts one of the most accomplished casts ever assembled on a shoestring budget, including: Paul Sorvino (Mambo Italiano), Bill Moseley (Army of Darkness), Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and everyone’s favourite actor/singer/all-purpose celebrity Paris Hilton (The Simple Life & Homemade Internet Porn).

“The actors essentially donated their time,” remarked Bousman on the unprecedented correlation of cast depth and low budget. Miss Vega expressed her immediate attraction to the script/concept combo. Perhaps, she felt it was time to break out of her Spy Kid mould and apply the musical theatre talents she acquired as a lead on Broadway’s Hairspray in a less conventional setting. According to Bousman, all the songs, written by composer/co-writer Terrance Zdunich, “actually feature the real voices of the cast members.” The rock opera inspired soundtrack will be released well before the film hits the theatres.


“We want audiences to know the songs, and speak the language of the Repo World, before they come to see the movie,” explained Bousman. In a best-case scenario, Bousman hopes that the film will create a Rocky Horror Show style cult following; “most Americans eat meat and potatoes while only a small percentage enjoys sushi. This is a sushi film. People will either love it or hate it.” He also admitted that the movie’s success is highly dependent on internet buzz created through blogs and such. I think he was just trying to hit on me.

Repo is set in a quasi-apocalyptic world plagued by organ failure where the only means of survival are exorbitant GeneCo organ transplants. Those who can’t afford to pay upfront are forced to sign GeneCo financing agreements IN BLOOD! Unfortunately, the transplants are no more than a mere temporary postponement of one’s impeding doom. For if you miss but a single payment, the Repo Man will come to get ya. The ‘coming to get ya’ consists of song and dance routine during which the Repo Man opens indebted victims with razorblade precision in order to reclaim GeneCo’s genetic property.

All in all, the movie was actually pretty cool and entertaining enough to watch. I enjoyed the visuals, but the quality of the music was mediocre at best. Although the actors displayed professional vocal talent, the lyrics were actually quite lame, superficial, and generally in desperate need of better rhyme. Picture any other movie you’ve seen before, except imagine the actors singing instead of talking, and you’ll get the idea. But if you like freaky musicals and gory horror, then Repo may very well be right up your cinematic alley. So look for it in theatres this fall. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that Alexa Vega refused my offer to join me as a co-star in another low-budget, organ-related film for which I wrote the script, screenplay and soundtrack myself.

Photos from REPO!: The Genetic Opera

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