This Movie Monday features one of my favourite movies of all time, Repo! The Genetic Opera.
After an epidemic of organ failure Rotti Largo (Paul Sorvino) set up GeneCo, a company which offers replacement organs. However, they come at a price – if the recipient is unable to keep up their repayments, the Repo Man comes to repossess their organs. 17 year old Shilo is kept under house arrest by her father Nathan due to her apparent blood disease inherited from her dead mother, Marni. Unbeknownst to Shilo, her father is leading a double life, and is actually the Repo Man. Largo discovers he is dying, and as an ex-lover of Marni, he pinpoints Shilo as a possible heir to GeneCo, rather than his own offspring, and offers her a cure for her blood disease. Her estranged godmother, opera superstar Blind Mag urges her not to take up the offer in fear of Shilo making the same mistakes that she did – when GeneCo gave her new eyes, she fell under the control of Largo, trapped in a contract to be the voice of GeneCo.
Oh, and I should mention – it’s a musical!
The combination of musical and horror genres isn’t a common one, but it somehow works perfectly. The visual style is absolutely stunning, especially for something on a comparatively low budget. The costumes are theatrical and the whole film mixes gothic and futuristic beautifully. The final scenes, framed by GeneCo’s ‘Genetic Opera’, are something of a messed up Moulin Rouge. Although if you’re squeamish about gore, you’ll be hiding in a pillow a fair bit, as this movie doesn’t hold back on it!
The cast is a crazy mixed bag. Ever since Giles’ moonlighting acoustic tendencies in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I’ve always been a massive fan of Anthony Head, and here his incredible vocal skills are put to easily the best use in his career. Also featuring is opera legend Sarah Brightman, looking incredible for 50! And surprisingly, Paris Hilton does a pretty good job outside her comfort zone, playing a spoilt, bratty heiress…oh…wait…
If you thought musicals were for drama geeks and girly girls, think again (although I am both, and still loved it!). Repo! The Genetic Opera offers something the mainstream film market fails to offer – uniqueness. The mishmash of many different musical and visual styles makes it exciting and the strong cast pull off the fast-paced, ever-changing storyline. Mixing horror, sci-fi and opera, it’s Rocky Horror meets Saw meets Blade Runner, a postmodern feast of visuals and sound – a perfect cult classic.