Alexa PenaVega in Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

For Your Halloween Watching Consideration: Repo! The Genetic Opera

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One of the best things about the Halloween season is that people are always showcasing and exposing each other to new films related to the holiday.

It’s the perfect time to revisit old favorites and try out some new things, so for your Halloween watching consideration I would love to recommend one of my favorite movies with a 10 year anniversary coming up: Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Repo! takes place in the future where plastic surgery is common and fashionable, as well as an epidemic of organ failures that has devastated the planet. GeneCo provides organ transplants on a payment plan, which of course targets the poor. If you can not keep up your payments then the Repoman is sent to take the organs back.

The CEO of GeneCo, Rottissimo “Rotti” Largo, discovers he is terminally ill with a short life expectancy and his three children, Luigi, Pavi and Amber Sweet (Carmela Largo), are the worst and he doesn’t think they deserve his company.

As a result, he decides to pass his fortune to Shilo, the daughter of his ex-fiancé Marni. Shilo, seventeen, has spent her life believing she has a blood disease and is kept locked away by her father, Nathan Wallace. However, they both live double lives. Shilo escapes her house frequently to collect insects and Nathan is the feared Rep man, and now with Rotti’s plan to make Shilo his heir, old blood feuds rise the surface and a lot of singing happens.

What I love most about Repo! is how fun the music is. While not everyone is a trained singer, they all bring an electric energy to the performances that I literally can not imagine anyone else in the roles and yes, that includes Paris Hilton as Amber Sweet. It is fun and bombastic with a lot of heart, especially with the character of Shilo. Alexa Vega infuses Shilo with a curiosity and strength that is really appealing as a viewer. Her Little Mermaid journey to trying to find her place in the world is compelling, and the universe she operates in is so much fun.

Repo! is a unique experience, and like an opera, it is sung almost all the way through, with Anthony Stewart HeadPaul SorvinoSarah Brightman, and Terrance Zdunich delivering some amazing vocals (also Darren Smith and Zdunich’s compositions are fantastic; every song has personality, and even “Seventeen” works as a Big Lipped Aligator music moment).

Most importantly, it’s about a young woman trying to find a place in the world, and trying to find some autonomy in her life. Blind Mag is a boss and even Amber Sweet gets to be fetish fodder. As a fan of gothic musical horror comedy films, this movie has continued to bring me joy for years on end (and has inspired many fan videos). I’d say give the soundtrack a listen first because if you enjoy the music you’ll enjoy the movie—that’s how I got into it.

What are some of your favorite cult movies? And for Repo! fans in the comments, what is your favorite song? (Me: “At the Opera Tonight”)

(image: Lionsgate)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.