Comic-Con Report: Repo! The Genetic Opera is Trippy, Opera-y

The Repo! stars were out in force at the San Diego Comic Con this year with attendees including director Darren Bousman, writers Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith, and stars Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, Alexa Vega, and Nivek Ogre. In a stunning turn of events, it took at least a full 40 minutes before Paris Hilton referred to something as hot, but according to her, Comic Con is, in fact, hot.

The panel started with the trailer, which I dug. It has a trippy sort of goth look to it with a rock-goth opera sound. It’s a dirty, apocalyptic looking world and it seems to full of babes, blood, and righteous guitar. When the lights came up things got rolling and the cast and crew revealed that the musical parts had been recorded about two months in advance of filming. This forced Bousman and Co. to really plan out the scenes ahead of time and plot the performances of the songs so that the recordings would match the physical activity happening onscreen.

We were then treated to a scene of the movie where Bill Moseley and Ogre were arguing over who would take control of the business when their father was no longer in charge, and of course they did it in song and added a few bits of blood and beautiful women dressed as nurses. The scene was interesting, the style was cool, though the singing itself didn’t rock my world.

The next scene we got to see was the performance of the song 17 by Alexa Vega, who plays Shiloh. Her character is upset after being forced to remain in her room for 17 years and now she’s gotten all angsty and is ready to rock and roll right out of her father’s control. To do this, she has to rock hard, jump on her bed, have an audience appear outside out of nowhere and be joined by Joan Jett hammering away on the guitar. Totally weird, but a pretty decent song.

The final song and dance was my favorite by far. It was a really catchy song that takes place in a back alley and revolves around the drug trade. Paris Hilton had a big part and nailed the song, in my opinion, though her acting seemed to lack confidence at a few parts. By the end of the song, it had exploded into a full out sexy Paris thing and I was way into it. Co-Creator Terrance Zdunich also sings and plays the role of “Grave Robber” and I thought his performance and voice was great.

When it comes down to it, I’d imagine this film is going to be very love it or hate it. It’s odd and strange and weird and different. It’s a real Opera. It’s not a movie or a musical. It’s as if an elaborate opera was staged and a camera had free reign to dive in and out of it. There is singing from minute one to the last frame, no spoken words. The music is at times rock and at times operatic, switching around at a whim. Definitely a hard sell and a dangerous movie to make, but it’s got enough of my interest to merit me watching it. There was a passionate fan base in the audience who were really excited about the film and I think that it will play well to the fans and some genre folk, though it most likely won’t secure a big movie-goer audience.

It’s the dream of creators Zdunich and Smith to one day perform Repo! live on stage, preferably with the cast of the film – that would surely be a sight to behold. The 33-track soundtrack will be available soon and the official site Repo-Opera.com will soon be updating with a series of “Making Of” featurettes that will go over all aspects of the production, including the audition of the Repo Man himself, Anthony Head.

For those of you who don’t remember, Repo! takes place in a world where massive organ failure has let GeneCo, an organ manufacturing company, rise to prominence. In this dystopian future, if you fail to keep up on your payments, your organs, and your life, are forfeit. Also, opera is apparently really popular. This wild and rocking time hits theaters November 7, 2008.