Repo: The Genetic Opera – The Little Cult Movie that Could!

So, for the lovely Halloween season I would like to let people know about a wonderful cult movie. This is the new Rocky Horror Picture Show! It is called Repo the Genetic Opera, and it stars such greats as Tony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame), Sarah Brightman, Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Paul Sorvino and . . . well, yes, Paris Hilton (She’s really good in it, I promise). Currently the film is being shown regularly in Midnight Showings with live Shadowcasts that have formed all over the states, and internationally.

Here is a little back history on Repo:

Repo the Genetic Opera started as a 10 minute stage play called “The Necromerchant’s Dept”.   It starred Terrance Znudich as “Graverobber” and Darren Smith, the co-writer, handled all the music and instruments. They toured local clubs in California and eventually expanded the show to a full Rock Opera. Darren Lynn Bousman found the script and practically begged Terrance and Darren to direct the play. It again toured the local club circuit and Darren Bousman decided he was going to eventually make this a movie. T hen he was offered to direct Saw 2, but kept plans on the back-burner to make Repo. It took a while, two more Saw films were directed by him and were extremely successful. Then, he got the go-ahead to work on the movie with Lionsgate Films and Twisted Pictures studio.

The movie was filmed on a fairly low budget and used a lot of props from the Saw films, and crew as well. They managed to attract quite a few stars to the film. For one, Paris Hilton heard about this film – which I have heard a rumor, while she was in jail someone brought her a copy of the script and she learned the part while there. Anthony Stuart Head was cast last minute for the part of “Nathan Wallace/”Repo Man”. Sarah Brightman makes her film debut in this film as “Blind Mag”, being a fan of the Saw films and wanting to do the project with Mr. Bousman. She still says, to this day, if they ever decided to bring the project back as a play, she would love to reprise the part of “Blind Mag”. Other well known actors and singers like Bill Mosley (House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Reject) and Nivek Ogre (Skinny Puppy) signed on as well.

Lionsgate Films did not know how to market the film, so they decided not to market it at all. Initially, it was scheduled for a direct release to DVD. Then they decided to make it a very limited showing, due to the already growing fan base and the Director’s work with 8 theaters in the states. The website has a message board and a community began forming to support this film, which continues to be the marketing effort for the film to this day.

Mr. Bousman and Mr. Znudich decided to take the film on tour to 8 cities; funding the trip themselves, to meet the fans, screen the film, and do a question and answer sessions. This “Road Tour” became so successful; it led to 3 more tours. I, myself got to attend two stops on the tour: one in Boston and one in Foxboro, MA and it was a blast. Both theaters sold out, or nearly sold out, and so did most stops on the tour. The last road tour was in the United Kingdom, where no one got to see the film in the theaters before, and from what I understand it was very successful as well. People from the boards met, became friends and family. Never have I seen such a diverse fandom before. You have fans from Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of Tony Head, the Goth Community, fans of Sarah Brightman. Where else can these groups meet?

Lionsgate Films continued to ignore the fandom of this fine film and released the DVD and the Extended Soundtrack in limited markets. Both sold very well. To this day you can only purchase the soundtrack at Hot Topic stores, or you can download it online. There is a Blu-ray release, which did include deleted scenes from the film, not previously released on the DVD.

Currently, the film is still being shown in theaters, more now than ever before. There are more and more Shadowcasts popping up all over the place. I, myself have my own Shadowcast in the Boston area, The Legal Assassins. There are actually three Shadowcasts in Massachusetts. The very first Shadowcast was in Toronto, Canada – The Shadowcats. The first one in the US, was The Midnight Surgeons, which I was also a small part of. Terrance got to witness both of these live, and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

Do you think this movie will live on, or is it a flash in the pan? Will it live up to cult status like Rocky Horror Picture Show? Will people still be watching this film in 20 years and doing Shadowcasts? I think so, but I would love to get other people’s opinions of the film and its status!



Gayle Rudolph aka “Misty Pendragon”

Misty Pendragon is a Jossaholic, and has worked on Pagan Newsletters, and a few online Fandom websites thru the years, and keeps her self busy with watching anything with Zombies on it!