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Repo! The Genetic Opera

In this article, we will delve into the exciting world of Repo! The Genetic Opera, exploring its many facets and its impact on different areas of daily life. Repo! The Genetic Opera is a topic that has sparked the interest of experts and fans alike, due to its relevance in today's society. Along these lines, we will examine its origin, evolution, challenges and opportunities, and how it has shaped the way we live, work and relate. No matter if you are an expert on the subject or if you are just beginning to discover its wonders, this article promises to give you an informative and enriching perspective on Repo! The Genetic Opera. Get ready to embark on a fascinating journey of discovery!

Repo! The Genetic Opera
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDarren Lynn Bousman
Screenplay by
Based onThe Necromerchant's Debt
by Terrance Zdunich
Darren Smith
Produced by
CinematographyJoseph White
Edited byHarvey Rosenstock
Music byDarren Smith
Distributed byLionsgate
Release dates
  • July 2008 (2008-07) (Fantasia)
  • November 7, 2008 (2008-11-07)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8.5 million
Box office$188,126

Repo! The Genetic Opera is a 2008 American rock opera directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. Based on the 2002 opera of the same name, written and composed by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich, the film stars Alexa Vega, Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Nivek Ogre, Zdunich, Bill Moseley, and Paul Sorvino.

Repo! premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival in July 2008, followed by a limited release on November 7, 2008, on seven screens in various cities.


By the year 2056, an epidemic of organ failures has devastated the planet and wiped out 99% of the human population. The megacorporation GeneCo provides organs on a payment plan. Clients who miss payments are hunted down by Repo Men, skilled assassins who "repossess" the organs. The CEO of GeneCo, Rotti Largo, discovers he is terminally ill. Rotti's children Luigi, Pavi, and Amber bicker over who will inherit GeneCo ("Mark It Up"), but Rotti believes none of them are worthy heirs and instead plans to give his fortune to 17-year-old Shilo Wallace, the daughter of his late ex-fiancée Marni.

Shilo has inherited a rare blood disease from Marni that requires her to stay indoors, though she longs to see the outside world. Shilo's overprotective father Nathan believes he accidentally killed Marni with a treatment he created for her illness – in truth, a jealous Rotti secretly poisoned Marni's medicine and blackmailed Nathan, promising not to arrest him if he agreed to become GeneCo's head Repo Man, though he has convinced Shilo he is a doctor. One night, Shilo secretly visits Marni's tomb and runs into the omniscient GraveRobber, who is digging up bodies to secrete Zydrate, a euphoric and addictive pain-killer that he sells on the street to keep up with his GeneCo payments.

Rotti lures Shilo to GeneCo's fair with the promise of a cure for her disease. There, she meets Blind Mag, an opera singer and GeneCo's celebrity spokesperson. Born blind, Mag has been given surgically enhanced eyes by GeneCo at the cost of indefinite employment, though she is soon resigning. GraveRobber helps Shilo escape the fairgrounds, encountering several of his customers including the surgery-addicted Amber. Shilo learns that Mag's eyes are set for repossession and that Amber will replace her as GeneCo's spokeswoman. After GeneCops arrive, Shilo quickly returns to her room before Nathan notices her missing.

Rotti hires Nathan to repossess Mag's eyes, but Nathan refuses, citing that Mag was Marni's best friend. An infuriated Rotti vows to have Nathan taken out. Mag visits Shilo and reveals she is her godmother, and that Nathan had told her Shilo died with Marni. She cautions Shilo to not make the same mistakes she did. Nathan arrives and forces Mag out after she scolds him for lying and incarcerating Shilo. Meanwhile, Rotti writes his will, ready to make Shilo his sole beneficiary.

Rotti invites Shilo to the Opera. Nathan heads to the opera to find her, pursued by GeneCops, whom he quickly dispatches. Amber makes her stage debut, but her performance is ruined when her transplanted face falls off. Mag completes her final performance, but deviates from the song's grand finale, denouncing the Largo family and gouging out her eyes in an act of defiance. Rotti cuts the cords suspending Mag, impaling her on a fence, but assures the panicking audience that Mag's death was staged as part of the show.

Shilo is approached by a Repo Man and attacks him with a shovel, revealing that he is Nathan. She angrily confronts Nathan for lying to her about his profession. Onstage, Rotti reveals that Nathan has been poisoning Shilo's "medicine" in an attempt to keep her safe from the outside world after being unable to cope with the loss of Marni. As his disease rapidly worsens, Rotti offers Shilo GeneCo if she kills her father. When she refuses, Rotti uses the last of his strength to fatally shoot Nathan, and dies after disowning his children. After a tearful farewell to her father, Shilo leaves, deciding that her father's actions do not dictate her future.

Shilo flees, leaving GeneCo with no legal heir. Amber inherits the company instead and auctions her fallen face to charity, which Pavi wins after Luigi kills the top three bidders.


Joan Jett makes a cameo appearance playing guitar during the song "Seventeen". Dean Armstrong appears as the victim during "Thankless Job". Co-writer Darren Smith appears during "We Started This Op'ra Shit" as the GeneCo band leader. Frequent Bousman collaborator J. LaRose appears during "Zydrate Support Network" as a GeneCo spokesman.


The film's soundtrack was produced by Yoshiki from X Japan.

The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released September 30, 2008.

In the film, the following songs are performed:

  1. "Genetic Repo Man" – GraveRobber
  2. "Things You See in a Graveyard" – Rotti
  3. "21st Century Cure" – GraveRobber, Shilo
  4. "Shilo Wakes" – Nathan, Shilo
  5. "Infected" – Shilo
  6. "Legal Assassin" – Nathan, Ghostly chorus
  7. "Lungs and Livers" – GeneCo Chorus
  8. "Mark It Up" – Genterns, Amber, Luigi, Pavi
  9. "Tao of Mag" – Mag
  10. "Things You See in a Graveyard" (reprise) – Rotti
  11. "Limo Ride" – Rotti and Shilo
  12. "Thankless Job" – Nathan
  13. "Tao of Mag" (reprise) – Mag
  14. "No Organs? No Problemo!" – GeneCo chorus
  15. "Largo's Little Helpers" – Child chorus
  16. "Genterns" – Genterns, Pavi
  17. "Luigi, Pavi, Amber Harass Mag" – Luigi, Mag, Amber, Pavi, Rotti
  18. "Seeing You Stirs Memories" – Rotti
  19. "Seeing You Stirs Memories (Reprise)" – Rotti, Mag
  20. "My, What Big Scissors You Have" – Shilo
  21. "Inopportune Telephone Call" – Nathan, Shilo
  22. "GraveRobber and Shilo Escape" – GraveRobber, Shilo
  23. "Zydrate Support Network" – Rotti, Reporter
  24. "Zydrate Anatomy" – GraveRobber, Shilo, Amber, Zydrate addicts
  25. "Disposal Crew" – Disposal crew
  26. "Who Ordered Pizza?" – Luigi, Pavi, Nathan, Rotti, Amber
  27. "Night Surgeon" – Nathan, Rotti, Henchgirls, Luigi, Pavi, Genterns
  28. "Chase the Morning" – Mag, Shilo, Marni
  29. "Everyone's a Composer" – Mag, Nathan, Shilo
  30. "Come Back!" – Nathan and Shilo
  31. "What Chance Has a 17 Year Old Girl" – Nathan, Shilo
  32. "Seventeen" – Shilo
  33. "Happiness Is Not a Warm Scalpel" – Amber, Rotti
  34. "Gold" – Rotti
  35. "Nathan Discovers Rotti's Plan" – Nathan, Shilo
  36. "Tonight We Are Betrayed" – Nathan
  37. "At the Opera Tonight" – Shilo, Mag, Nathan, Amber, GraveRobber, Rotti, Luigi, Pavi
  38. "Bloodbath!" – GraveRobber
  39. "We Started This Op'ra Shit!" – Bandleader, Luigi, Pavi, Rotti, GeneCo chorus
  40. "Interrogation Room Challenge" – Rotti
  41. "Blame Not My Cheeks" – Amber, GeneCo chorus
  42. "Chromaggia" – Mag
  43. "Pièce De Résistance" – Rotti
  44. "Let the Monster Rise" – Nathan, Shilo
  45. "Sawman's Lament" – Rotti, Luigi, Pavi, Shilo, Nathan
  46. "The Man Who Made You Sick" – Rotti, Shilo, Nathan
  47. "Cut the Ties" – Rotti, Luigi, Shilo, Pavi
  48. "Shilo Turns Against Rotti" – Shilo, Rotti, Nathan
  49. "I Didn't Know I'd Love You So Much" – Shilo, Nathan
  50. "Genetic Emancipation" – Shilo
  51. "Epitaph" – GraveRobber, Zydrate addicts
  52. "Repo Man" – Ogre (end credits)
  53. "VUK-R" – Violet UK (end credits)
  54. "Needle Through a Bug" – Shilo, Graverobber (end credits)
  55. "Bravi" – Mag, Pavi, Luigi, Rotti, Amber (end credits)
  56. "Aching Hour" – Sarah Brightman (end credits)

Score tracks

Includes songs only heard as instrumentals and not parts of any deleted songs: (* = instrumental)

  1. "Depraved Heart Murder at Sanitarium Square"* (First song heard in the film)
  2. "The Prognosis"* (Heard right after "Crucifixus")
  3. "Nathan's Story"* (Heard right after "Infected")
  4. "Rotti's Story"* (Heard right after "Tao of Mag")
  5. "A Ventriloquist's Mess"* (Heard right after "Thankless Job")
  6. "Blind Mag's Story"* (Heard right after "Seeing Your Stirs Memories")
  7. "Before the Escape"* (Heard right after "Inopportune Telephone Call")
  8. "Worthy Heirs?"* (Heard right after "Zydrate Support Network")
  9. "A Dump Truck Home"* (Heard right after "Disposal Crew")
  10. "The Visitor"* (Heard right after "Night Surgeon")
  11. "Pre-Happiness"* (Heard right after "Seventeen")
  12. "Not Your Parents' Opera"* (Heard right after "Bloodbath!")
  13. "Mag's Fall"* (Heard right after "Chromaggia")
  14. "A Ten Second Opera"* (Heard right after "Let the Monster Rise")



In 1996, Darren Smith had a friend who was going through bankruptcy and whose possessions were going into foreclosure. Inspired by this, Smith came up with the idea of a future where not only one's property, but also one's body parts, could be repossessed. Smith and Terrance Zdunich collaborated ideas and plot lines to create the first version of Repo!, titled The Necromerchant's Debt, which told the story of a grave robber in debt to a Repo Organ Man. It premiered at the John Raitt theater in 2002. After being such a success, Smith and Zdunich expanded on the universe to create all of the storylines that became Repo! The Genetic Opera later in 2002. Many changes were made, gradually, to the characters and music throughout various incarnations through 2005. For example, Rotti, in the earliest performances, was not father to Luigi, Pavi and Amber. Instead, he was a younger brother to Luigi and Pavi, while Amber was Luigi's daughter. Lyrics were adjusted to new arcs and some songs were dropped altogether, such as "But This Is Opera!", cut out in an effort to change the direction of Mag's character.

After years of being performed as a stage play, Repo! was adapted into a ten-minute short film directed and financed by Darren Lynn Bousman to pitch the idea to film studios. The film starred Shawnee Smith as Amber Sweet (then named "Heather Sweet"), Michael Rooker as the Repo Man, Kristen Fairlie as Shilo, Zdunich as GraveRobber and J. Larose as Pavi.[citation needed]


Once picked up by Lionsgate, principal photography began in September 2007 in Canada. The film was scheduled to be released on April 25, 2008, but was pushed back to November 7. X Japan leader Yoshiki produced the soundtrack, along with composing one extra track for the film.


Theatrical release

The film received a limited release in the United States and Canada on November 7, 2008. It had a further limited Canadian release, playing in Toronto from November 21–27, 2008. It was released in the Czech Republic on November 20, this was followed by a theatrical release in Spain on January 2, 2009. In December 2008, several more US theatrical screenings were announced running between January 13–24, 2009 in several cities The Repo! Road Tour made its 4th and final leg in Europe from March 7–12, 2009.

After initial theatrical release and DVD sales, fan support has caused Repo! The Genetic Opera to be played in select theaters for the duration of 2009 and well into 2014, some with "shadow casts" in which a group of actors and performers re-enact the film in front of the big screen while the film is playing on stage, much like the followers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was re-released in a special screening at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Home media

The film was released January 20, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States. In Canada, the DVD was released on January 20, 2009, and the Blu-ray was released February 10, 2009. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2009. It was released in Ireland on March 6, 2009. The DVD was released in Germany on April 14. The US DVD release contains two audio commentaries (one by Bousman and actors Vega, Moseley and Ogre; the other by Bousman, creators Smith and Zdunich, and music producer Joseph Bishara), two featurettes and the theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray contains all DVD features including a select-scene audio commentary by Bousman and Hilton, two additional featurettes, a video sing-along with bouncing heart, four deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer.


Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 37% of 59 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The website's consensus reads: "Bombastic and intentionally gross, Repo! The Genetic Opera has a unique style but lacks the wit and substance to be involving." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 32 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.

Nathan Lee for The New York Times declared the film "feels destined to please a campy coterie of fans and no one else" and criticized the music, saying, "A few catchy melodies, some clever lyrics or even a sense that the score wasn't just one long, unmodulated track might have energized this singularly inert tale..." Tasha Robinson for The A.V. Club said, "One of the main issues with Repo! The Genetic Opera is that nearly every aspect of it goes on too long. The songs are generally overextended, which is a particular problem given that most of them are also atonal and dull, either chanted or seemingly assembled from a series of clunky, ill-fitting, barely rhyming lines." And ultimately "...I spent the vast majority of the film either bored or squirming with discomfort over the cheap gore, the arrhythmic songs, and the phenomenally bombastic performances..."

Box office

Repo! grossed $53,684 in its opening weekend, a $6,711 average per theater. The film's full eleven-theater release earned $146,750 in the United States, and an additional $41,376 internationally, for a total of $188,126 worldwide.


Hilton's performance won her the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress at the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards. The songs "Chase the Morning", "Chromaggia" and "Zydrate Anatomy" were shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, although none were nominated.

See also

  • Repo Men, a film involving a similar plotline regarding the repossession of transplanted organs


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  2. ^ "The Genetic Opera - Repo! (18)". BBFC. December 16, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2024.
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  13. ^ a b Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) EOFF
  14. ^ "Repo! The Genetic Opera" Will Be Seen Around the Country in January Playbill. December 26, 2008
  15. ^ "Blog Archive " Repo! Is Now Booked In Theatres Through The End Of The Year!". Terrance Zdunich. April 24, 2009. Archived from the original on June 19, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  16. ^ Barton, Steve (July 17, 2010). "San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Repo! Screening and a New Lesson from The Tutor". Dread Central. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  17. ^ "Repo! The Genetic Opera (US - DVD R1 / BD RA) in News > Releases at DVDActive". DVDActive. December 1, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
  18. ^ "Repo! The Genetic Opera". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 7, 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  19. ^ "Repo! The Genetic Opera". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  20. ^ Lee, Nathan (November 6, 2008). "Playing the Organs". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
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  22. ^ "Latest Academy News". September 10, 2014.

External links