Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)…A Blood-Drenched Musical Blast

I have a dirty little secret to share…

A secret so shameful it has been festering in the darkest corners of my soul since I was a wee horror chicklet.

…I can no longer hide the truth.

I have always…ALWAYS…loved…musicals.

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Well, I guess that really wasn’t as shameful as I implied, but my fucked up obsession with musicals (we’re talking Barbara Streisand, Hello Dolly, goodbye shame, full on sing-along obsession) isn’t something that most people expect from me (twisted bitch that I am). Of course I’m not actually ashamed of my love of musicals, and why would I be? Musicals are fun and dumb and don’t have to make total sense…come to think of it, I guess musicals are a lot like horror films.

Come on now…think about it…you’re gonna think about it later and realize I’m right.

Ahem, moving on.

Horror musicals, which combine my two favorite genres, have always been like a rare and special treat…like most treats they are few and far between and the really REALLY good ones are practically non-existent.

Which for a horror musical fan like me, sucks a fat one.

And then came Repo!

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Repo! The Genetic Opera (genius title) a gritty, blood-soaked cinematic experience with so much singing it could make a musical lovin’ gal wet her panties with glee…whatever, don’t judge.

Side Note: Now before we start, lemme just say one thing. Yes, I know Paris Hilton is in this movie…and so the fuck what? I’m no fan of the blonde socialite, but Hilton is onscreen for a grand total of like five minutes AND at some point during that time her face falls right the fuck OFF. Aside from that, she’s actually pretty perfect in the small role of the bratty, over-privileged, surgery addicted rich girl and her presence does nothing to wreck the movie…so let’s not dwell on her casting, shall we…

Based on an off Broadway show by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich (doing double duty off-screen as writer and onscreen as the Zydrate dealing Graverobber) and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II – IV), Repo! is an epic piece of work that is at times both thoroughly grotesque and immensely enjoyable. Set in a dystopian future where organ transplants are less life saving and more fashion statements, Repo! centers around the Largo family, owners of Geneco who provide fresh organs…for a price, and the surrounding people caught in the sometimes deadly web of organ repossessions.

Filled with razor sharp one liners, constant blood flow and designed like an S&M nightmare on PCP (in a good way), Bousman’s unconventional Opera has all the look and feel of a badass horror film. One can almost picture Jigsaw, the killer from the director’s torture themed Saw movies, lounging in the background and being quite content in the sensory overload insanity of Repo!

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Oh, and did I mention the cast? I doubt that such a vastly diverse group of actors and singers has ever before been put together for a film before, and it is GENIUS. Paul Sorvino (yes, from Goodfellas), Alexa Vega, Anthony Head (Eeek it’s Gilles!), Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre (Skinny Puppy) and Sarah Brightman (Broadway super star who originated the role of Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera) all somehow star (and sing) in the same movie and it works, it really fucking works brilliantly.

Now of course the success of any musical is the music, and Repo! possesses a mostly awesome soundtrack sung entirely by the cast, some of whom, admittedly, are not quite meant to be singers. But fuck that, everyone gives it their all, belting out the offbeat numbers with enough ardor to make up for the less than perfect delivery (I Didn’t Know I Loved You So Much will make you cry…oh yes it will). Of course Sarah Brightman is mesmerizing and Paul Sorvino is a trained opera singer (seriously…right?!?!?!) and even among the stellar performers, writer Zdunich’s Graverobber stands out as the ever present narrator whose deep, commanding voice seems to be the only repository of reason in a world gone nuts…also the guy can sing his ass off (Zydrate Anatomy is one of my faves).

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Besides re-watching this flick to refresh my memory, and also just ’cause, I’ve been checking out some reviews which have admittedly left me a little confused. Repo! seemed to be pretty despised by mainstream critics, like really really despised. Also a lot of comparisons were made to Rocky Horror, with many emphatic remarks about how Repo! is NOTHING like Rocky Horror and will NEVER be anything like it and NO ONE should ever compare the two. Well, of course not, Rocky Horror is what it is, and it’s a work of absolute genius, but that doesn’t mean that critics didn’t also hate that movie when it was first released. Also, just because Repo! is also a musical, I don’t see what an automatic comparison must be made between those two films. Repo! doesn’t claim to be Rocky Horror and aside from the singing there are no similarities, so what the hell?

I’ll never understand why people (in general) must always feel the need to crush one thing to bits in order to elevate another, it really isn’t necessary…no, fuck that, it’s actually plain stupid. Isn’t enough for a movie to be well cast, unique and fun as fuck? No? Maybe…whatever.

Well this horror chick loved Repo! The Genetic Opera and I had a blast watching (and re-watching) it. Like Rocky Horror (heeheehee) there is no logic or reason, just music and fun, so if you’re hungry for a bizarre musical with the occasional spine being ripped out, then this is the flick for you and I really hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

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Lemme know what you thought of this flick horror fans and, as always, give a girl some love and click that Like button 😉

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