Reviewed by Dave Manack
Performed by Sarah Brightman, Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega, Paris Hilton, Anthony Head, Bill Moseley, Ogre, Terrance Zdunich
Distributed by Lionsgate
Over the past few years movie soundtracks, especially in the horror genre, have become little more than showpieces for a record company’s latest “hot” artists. Sadly, the songs and bands on these soundtracks have absolutely nothing to do with the movie itself, but are instead filled with flavor-of-the-day acts meant to increase a movie’s hip factor with the PG-13 crowd.
But the soundtrack for Repo! The Genetic Opera is far more than simply a collection of irrelevant songs from throwaway rock bands. In many ways the soundtrack for this horrific “rock opera” is the movie, as each song is an integral part of storytelling process. These tracks are not musical diversions; they feature key dialogue and reveal plot points that the viewer (or in this case, the listener) would be lost without. This is Rocky Horror Picture Show meets The Wall — only darker, and just a tad more violent.
For those still unfamiliar with this truly one-of-a-kind movie, Repo! The Genetic Opera is a futuristic, horror musical, that is scheduled for release on November 7, 2008, and has already been described as an instant cult classic. As the plotline states, in the year 2056 an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants … for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for “repossession” and hunted by villainous Repo Men.
In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl, Shilo (played by Alexa Vega), searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family’s mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera.
In addition to Vega, the film features a very talented cast including Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head, Bill Moseley, Sarah Brightman and (gasp!) the oft-maligned Hollywood debutante Paris Hilton. It’s especially interesting to note that because this is a true “rock opera,” each character actually has to sing his/her own part — and no one gets off the hook, not even Hilton. But each actor is up to the challenge; Sorvino effectively croons in the track “Gold,” Vega displays a punk rock edge in “Seventeen,” and Head shines in “Legal Assassin,” memorably exclaiming, “I am only living out a lie!” Even Hilton manages to impress, as evidenced by her taunts of Repo’s GraveRobber character in the song “Can’t Get It Up If the Girl’s Breathing?”
Not surprisingly, however, it is Brightman (who plays Blind Mag) who provides the majority of the standout performances. Brightman, who has starred in such well known Broadway shows as Cats and Phantom of the Opera, displays her exceptional operatic talents throughout the soundtrack, and it would not be a stretch to think that her efforts in Repo! The Genetic Opera could garner her yet another Grammy nomination. Songs like “Crucifixus,” “Chromaggia,” and “At the Opera Tonight” showcase exactly why Brightman has become a Platinum-selling artist.
Another all-star cast of sorts also provided the original music that accompanies Brightman, Vega, Head, and the rest of the cast in the film’s soundtrack. Richard Patrick of Filter, Steven Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Clown from Slipknot, and David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets are just some of the musicians who contributed to the music in Repo! The Genetic Opera, music that leans heavily on industrial sounds, Gothic overtones, and operatic rock elements, while also infusing more traditional classical sounds. Japanese musician and composer Yoshiki Haysahi (of the legendary rock band X-Japan) co-produced the music with Joe Bishara, and together they’ve created a diverse, intense collection of songs that will blend seamlessly into this horrific rock opera.
Despite the fact that Repo! The Genetic Opera hasn’t even hit theaters yet, it’s still a must-have for curious listeners and those eagerly anticipating its release. We have never seen — or in this case, heard — anything quite like Repo! The Genetic Opera. In a time where movie soundtracks have become stale and predictable, it’s refreshing to see true artists given the opportunity to actually take some chances and produce something that is both unique and memorable.
1. At The Opera Tonight
3. Things You See In A Graveyard
5. Legal Assassin
7. 21st Century Cure
8. Mark It Up
9. Can’t Get It Up If The Girl’s Breathing?
10. Zydrate Anatomy
11. Thankless Job
12. Chase The Morning
13. Night Surgeon
16. We Started This Op’ra Shit
17. Needle Through A Bug
19. Let The Monster Rise
20. I Didn’t Know I’d Love You So Much
21. Genetic Emancipation
22. Genetic Repo Man
4 out of 5
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