Addicted to the knife… (or “why I love Repo! The Genetic Opera”)

I’m surprised I haven’t really written about one of my favorite geeky things yet in the past two weeks I’ve been a proud writer here at The GeeksFTW.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Never heard of it? Let me give you a few reasons why you should go out and pick this up:


1. Much of the movie involves ripping out people’s organs and singing maniacally while doing so.
2. Anthony Stewart Head (yes, Giles!) sings the lead role.
3. Where else can you see Bill Moseley and Nivek Ogre (from Skinny Puppy) play homicidal brothers?
4. Terrance Zdunich as the Graverobber is definitely a hot goth boy.

And the reason that actually gets most people to watch it:

5. Haven’t you always wanted to see Paris Hilton’s face fall off?

Now that you have those reasons, I can give you a quick summary:

It’s in the “not too distant future” and the human race got a little ahead of itself with technology. The population fell victim to a disease called Neural Overstimulation Syndome which cause massive orgran failures. Billions died because of this until a company called GeneCo, headed by the Largo family, came up with a way to create and patent replacement organs. People who couldn’t afford transplants could finance them instead. With this new lease on life “upgrading” your body with surgery became fashionable and very popular. A new anesthetic was developed by GeneCo called Zydrate. This drug was highly addictive and blackmarket (and dangerous) versions of it extracted from dead bodies started being sold as well (with the dealers often being Graverobbers).

The downside to this came if you defaulted on your payments. When that happened GeneCo sent out special enforcers called Repo Men to get back their property…without anesthesia.

It’s in this setting that we find one man, his daughter, a corrupt family and the ties that bind them all in a complex web as one young girl tries to break free of her genetic destiny.

Tell me that didn’t intrigue you a least a little bit.

As you probably guessed by now, this is a rock opera. Yes, that means there is singing. However, with people like Bill Moseley and Ogre singing a couple of lead roles, this isn’t your typical musical. Even my friends who can’t stand musicals seem to love this movie. The gore is the type that is so over the top that it’s funny. (wait till you get to the “puppet” moment….trust me) The comic art sequences that are inserted to give the backstories are amazing and drawn by one of the creators of the movie, Terrance Zdunich. The music is catchy. I promise that “Zydrate Anatomy” will get stuck in your head in a good way.

And finally, the story is well written. As Shilo (the daughter) explores the world outside that she’s been locked away from during her life you find yourself caught up in her discoveries and how she reacts to the strange people that she encounters. I also love the interactions between the head of GeneCo, Rotti Largo, and his three children.

The movie itself has already attained a solid cult status among fans and has followed in the tradition of Rocky Horror Picture Show of being a film that has “official” shadowcasts around the world. Many cities boast a Repo! shadowcast that is well rehearsed with costumes, props, sets, special fx and even their own home venues. I’m the creator and co-director (and Graverobber) of the shadowcast here in Nashville, Testify! And I gotta say, we’re about to have our third performance and even after watching/listening to this movie hundreds of times (I’ve lost count….I lost count about 2 months into creating the shadowcast) I still love this film. It’s one that I just can’t seem to get tired of.

Terrance often describes the movie as one that you either love or hate. I have to agree, though I was originally “meh” about it untill a sudden obsession with it hit me three months after the first watching. Even knowing that, give it a try. Watch it through to the end. Then drop me a line and let me know what you thought.