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Repo! The Genetic Opera Sells Out at Chandler Cinemas, Draws Local Notables to Premiere

Revelers dressed as characters from the film Repo! The Genetic Opera at the movie's Arizona premiere. (See a slide show from the Repo! premiere here.)

"When you put Paris Hilton and Sarah Brightman in a movie together, that's a 'What the fuck?' moment."

Director Darren Bousman described Repo! The Genetic Opera to the sold-out crowd at Chandler Cinemas on Thursday night, with all the passion of a director who's made an instant cult classic.

Bousman, who directed the Saw sequels (2-4), said he "wanted to make a movie that was completely different. I was fed up with the unoriginality in my career. It would've been easy for me to do Saw 6 through 10. It's a lot harder to do something like this."

"Something like this" is a campy film like Repo!, which is set in "the not too distant future," where an "epidemic of organ failures" paves the way for a company called GeneCo to finance transplants. The problem is, when recipients fail to make the payments, the Repo Man shows up to repossess the organs.

The film features a most unusual cast: Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Paris Hilton, Sarah Brightman, and industrial musician and Skinny Puppy mastermind Ogre. Joan Jett also makes a cameo. 

The story is told through a series of musical numbers -- it's an opera, after all. And while Lions Gate originally tried to sell mainstream critics on the film as "a new experience in terror," there's nothing scary about Repo! It has its gory moments, but it's more of a bizarre futuristic goth-rock opus than a horror flick. "It's more along the lines of Tommy or Jesus Christ Superstar, but with a campy twist," Bousman says.

Bousman says that Lions Gate and mainstream critics "don't get" his film, but the audience at Chandler Cinemas on Thursday night certainly did. Hundreds of people lined up for the 10 p.m. showing (which sold out), prompting a second screening at midnight.

Terrance Zdunich, who wrote the film and stars as GraveRobber, says, "They say there's no audience for this film, but the audience is right here. This is our second road tour, and every show's been full. People come dressed like characters from a movie they haven't even seen yet."

And they certainly did so at Chandler Cinemas. Among the audience were people dressed as Blind Meg, Brightman's character, and Shilo Wallace, one of the main characters. Also in attendance were several local notables. In addition to the "Midnite Movie Mamacita," Andrea Beesley-Brown, who hosts horror and camp movies at the cinemas every weekend, local photogs Andy Hartmark and Joi Carey were on hand, along with AZ Fetish Ball co-founder Mitch Palmer, *Sadisco DJ and founder Squalor, and even Brian Pulido, creator of the Lady Death character in the Evil Ernie comics.

The Repo! The Genetic Opera road tour continues through New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia, and Houston. For more information on the film, visit Niki D'Andrea 

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea