Basement Films: Not Enough Bang for Your Buck

Sean Strain

Even though I am a bit of a movie nerd, I rarely ever watch a movie several times. My philosophy is that there are millions of movies out there and even more being produced all the time, so why waste time with something I’ve already seen? Yet, my Junior year I watched one movie at least over ten times, which is a pretty good record for me (The Rocky Horror Picture Show does not count in my book). This movie was Repo! The Genetic Opera.

I had seen the movie during my Sophomore year, but only became obsessed with it after receiving the film as a birthday present that summer. I watched it several times, then watched it several times with friends, and then I bought the soundtrack to sing obnoxiously down Bardstown Road with said friends. It was one of those movies you have a stormy love affair with for a year before you find something better and move on.

Actually, the plot of the movie may sound familiar to you. In a not too distant future, a company called GeneCo. provides the masses with organ transplant surgery as a bizarre form of fashion statement, but if they fail to meet their payment schedule, a Repo man will come to repossess their organs. Sound familiar yet? Hmmm, it sounds almost like that Jude Law movie Repo Men? Yes, Repo Men is based on a novel that was not actually published until 2009, but Repo! is based on a stage musical produced a decade before the movie’s release in 2008 and there are other similarities that are pretty glaringly obvious.

Yes, in the end this all just conjecture and probably merely an angry fan rant, but I think there’s a bigger issue that annoys me more than a favorite movie of mine getting ripped off. It’s more infuriating how a more mainstream movie can easily do this to a cult film. Repo! had gore, but it also had a Gothic atmosphere and several musical numbers. Repo Men has none of that, but does have a million-dollar budget to back it. So no one is really going to cause a ruckus over any suspicious similarities, because who saw Repo! anyway? Not enough to make a buck.