REPO! The Genetic Opera

I finally came accross REPO! The Genetic Opera during the Christmas holidays, and what a nice surprise!

Repo! The Genetic Opera is a Horror-Rock Opera Musical film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and released in 2008.

The idea came to Darren Smith in 1996 as a friend of his was going through bankruptcy and whose possessions were going into foreclosure.
Inspired by this, Smith came up with the idea of a future, where not only your property could be repossessed, but also your body parts.

Smith and Terrance Zdunich worked fast on ideas and plot lines to create “The Necromerchant’s Debt”, the first version of REPO.
It tells the story of a grave robber in debt to a Repo Organ Man.

It was first performed at the “John Raitt theatre” on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. After being such a success, creators Smith and Zdunich expanded on the universe to create all of the storylines that became Repo! The Genetic Opera.
After years of being performed as a stage play, Repo! was adapted into a 10-minute short film directed and financed by Darren Lynn Bousman to pitch the idea to film companies.

The mini film starred:
Shawnee Smith (Amanda Young in the Saw films) as Amber Sweet (then named “Heather Sweet”),
Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) as the Repo Man,
Kristen Fairlie as Shilo Wallace,
Terrance Zdunich as GraveRobber,
and J. Larose as Pavi Largo.

Finally it was then picked up by a studio to make REPO as a movie.

This Goth Opera takes place in the not so distant future, 2056 to be precise, in a chaotic world where a mysterious epidemic of organ failures has taken over society. Geneco is an insatiable company which profits on selling transplants to those in need through a trusty payment plan.

However, if one can not afford to make payments, they will have their organs repossessed by “Repo Man” Nathan, a man who is forced to take the gore-filled job by the evil Geneco President Rotti Largo in order to save his very sick daughter, Shilo. Mayhem,Heavy metal and blood ensues!

The cast is made by:
Alexa Vega as Shilo Wallace
Paul Sorvino as Rottissimo “Rotti” Largo
Anthony Head as Nathan Wallace
Sarah Brightman as Magdalene “Blind Mag” Defoe
Paris Hilton as Carmela Largo/Amber Sweet
Bill Moseley as Luigi Largo
Nivek Ogre as Paviche “Pavi” Largo
Terrance Zdunich as GraveRobber
J. Larose as Vanity & Vein news reporter
Darren Smith as Band leader
Sarah Power as Marni Wallace
Joan Jett (cameo) as Guitarist

Repo! The Genetic Opera holds the record for the most songs ever composed into one film, with a total of 64. A 22-track cd soundtrack is now available.

I was very happy to see a brief scene with Joan Jett, who appears as a guitarist on the song “17” during Shilo rebellion phase to her father. It is Sarah Brightman’s first film appearance.

Originally, a different actress was cast as Blind Mag, but due to the film’s low budget the actress dropped out and Sarah was chosen. She is better known as the original character “Christine Daaé” in the west end musical show “The Phantom Of The Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
But the nicest surprise is the participation of Nivek Ogre, best known as a founding member of the industrial band Skinny Puppy.He appears as Pavi Largo.

The film opened in a very limited release on November 7, 2008, on seven screens in Pasadena, Chicago, Mobile, Charlotte, Kansas City,Toronto and Ottawa.

The film took in an average of $3,250 per screen on its opening day.
To coincide with the film’s release, Bousman, Smith and Zdunich, as well as various cast members, did a tour version of the film. Principal cast and crew also did extensive Q&A sessions following each screening. Because of strong ticket sales, a second and third touring session was added, in addition to a British tour across four locations.

A Repo! Road Show was announced on January 28 in 10 cities.
This show was similar to the Repo! Road Tour, except it was almost completely fan-run.

In an email interview for, co-creator/ co-writer / cast member Terrance Zdunich tells “Repo was never a concept geared toward the mainstream.
It’s a goth rock opera for christ’s sake!”

So it is with no surprise that major mainstream critics are absolutely not in favour of this movie!

Having said that, Repo! The Genetic Opera has a unique style,it is fresh and exciting, as well as mind blowing on a visionary level. This movie breathes with originality and creativity.

The first 15 minutes of this horror musical are absolutely mind blowing on a visionary level. It sets the tone for the rest of the film and the audience is offered a film that blends in the perfect elements from films such as Blade Runner, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Phantom of the Opera.

Repo! had gained a cult film following. Still today, people are actually shadow-casting the movie in theatres, meaning they act out in front of the movie in a theatre dressed as the characters.Some fanatics even got Repo themed tattoos on them.

On the movie website ,there is an excellent Podcast to download, involving discussions about the movie and all the tribulations to make it happen by the creators and cast of the incredible movie.

Watch it, listen to it, and you will understand everything about the reasons why the Grave Robber “can’t get it up if the girls breathing”!

The DVD and Blu-ray were released January 20, 2009.

DVD extras includes:
– a commentary by director Darren Lynn Bousman and actors Bill Moseley, Alexa Vega and Ogre
– a second commentary by director Lynn Bousman, creators Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich and music producer Joseph Bishara
– 2 featurettes (From Stage to Screen, Legal Assassin—A Repo Man)
– theatrical trailer

The Blu-ray includes:
– all of the above features, plus:
– select scene audio commentary by Bousman and actress Paris Hilton
– 2 additional featurettes (Zydrate Anatomy—Amber Sweet: Addicted to the Knife, Chase the Morning—Blind Mag: The Voice of GeneCo)
– deleted scenes
– video sing-alongs

The CD 22 soundtracks includes:
“Genetic Repo Man” – GraveRobber, Chorus
“Crucifixus” – Mag, Ghostly Chorus
“Things You See in a Graveyard” – Rotti, Mourners
“Infected” – Shilo
“Legal Assassin” – Nathan, Marni, Ghostly Whispers
“Bravi!” – Mag, Luigi, Pavi, Rotti, Amber
“21st Century Cure” – GraveRobber
“Mark It Up” – Amber, Luigi, Pavi, Genterns
“Can’t Get It Up If the Girl’s Breathing?” – Amber, Eunuch valets, GraveRobber
“Zydrate Anatomy” – GraveRobber, Shilo, Amber, Zydrate Support Group, Genterns
“Thankless Job” – Nathan
“Chase the Morning” – Mag, Shilo, Marni
“Seventeen” – Shilo, Chorus
“Gold” – Rotti
“Night Surgeon” – Nathan, Rotti, Henchgirls, Luigi, Pavi, Genterns
“At the Opera Tonight” – Shilo, Mag, Nathan, Amber, GraveRobber, Rotti, Luigi, Pavi, Chorus
“We Started This Op’ra Shit!” – Band Leader, Genterns, Luigi, Pavi, Single Mother, Rotti, Opera Audience, GeneCo Chorus
“Needle Through a Bug” – GraveRobber, Shilo, Chorus
“Chromaggia” – Mag
“Let the Monster Rise” – Nathan, Shilo
“I Didn’t Know I’d Love You So Much” – Shilo, Nathan
“Genetic Emancipation” – Shilo, Chorus