The Repo Men are coming 

The Repo Men are coming. No, they aren't here to take your TV. You missed a payment on one of your internal organs, and they are here to collect.

This is the premise of Repo! The Genetic Opera, a film that has survived (and thrived) purely through the efforts of its creators and masses of underground, devoted followers who, in Rocky Horror fashion, sing along, dress up and throw out lines during the movie. For one night only, Jan. 14, the Repo Road Tour 3 will be in Indianapolis at Landmark Keystone Arts Cinema.

"Repo has a cyberpunkish Blade Runner feel to it while still having the hallmarks of any good horror film," says Shanna Edwards, Repo Road Tour leader for Indianapolis. "The atmosphere is fascinating and engaging and the characters are entertaining and lively. The music is unbelievably catchy."

Repo started out as a stage show. It was picked up by Lionsgate films, and was originally slated as a straight-to-DVD release until its fans, the "Repo Army," and Terrance Zdunich (writer) and Darren Lynn Bousman (director) took the show to theaters via the one-night event screenings called the Repo Road Tour. The film company wouldn't back the theatrical release of the movie, believing there wasn't enough of an audience for it to make money. "The director and creators decided to use their own money and time to travel around the country, bringing the film to those who wouldn't be able to see it otherwise. Thus, the Repo Road Tour," explains Miranda Baldwin, a devoted member of the Repo Army in Chicago.

"The fans have taken the film from being a straight-to-DVD release to being in over 20 cities with two sold out Road Tours, getting ready to embark on yet another!" Edwards says.

According to Baldwin, "One thing that is amazing about this film is the amount of interaction between the director, the creators, the designers and the actors with all the fans. They are on the [online] boards and chat every single day, talking to us, answering questions, letting us know inside information - anything to help spread Repo."

The plot

Set in 2056, the population is suffering from an epidemic of organ failures. GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants on payment plans, is born. If you miss a payment, Repo Men will come calling. GeneCo has created a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law. In this dark setting, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare blood disease and information about her family's mysterious history. Thanks to GeneCo, all of her questions will be answered at the Genetic Opera.

The film is directed by Bousman (Saw II, III and IV) and stars Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), actor and singer Anthony Stewart Head (Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), world-renowned opera singer Sarah Brightman (Broadway's Phantom of the Opera), Paris Hilton, Ogre (from the band Skinny Puppy) and Zdunich, with appearances by Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects) and Paul Sorvino (GoodFellas).

"I first learned about Repo during the 2008 San Diego Comic Con. I checked out the teaser trailer and was instantly hooked. Sarah Brightman and Anthony Stewart Head together in the same trailer? Singing industrial rock opera? I was sold," Edwards says.

The Road Tour

"A Road Tour performance is just that: a performance," Edwards explains. "It's an event. It's not merely a film showing. Fans sing along, mouth the words, dance in the aisles, pass out glow sticks, act out skits, you name it."

Because the film never saw a comprehensive release, fans have had to make pilgrimages to see it. "Many of us have traveled hundreds of miles for multiple screenings. I've seen it three times now and have traveled over 1,200 miles," Baldwin says.

"There are people flying into the cities for the shows and following the Road Tour dates by car. The energy for the film during a regular showing is amazing. The energy during the road tour is electric," Edwards says.

"Seeing the film on the Road Tour is like going to a rock concert!" Baldwin says. "It is an event, not just a movie! I went to the largest venue on the first tour. The Music Box in Chicago seats 750 people. It was sold out for the tour. People came dressed in costumes as their favorite character, people had on Repo T-shirts, someone was able to park their car next to the theater and blasted Repo's soundtrack, to which we all sang."

Because everyone involved with the film has been so active in its promotion and screenings, you can occasionally see actors at the Road Show performances, as well as Bousman and Zdunich. "Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich do a question and answer session that's often humorous and very informative. They're thankful to the fans and that kind of appreciation means a lot. The Road Tour lets fans speak and learn things about their film that they didn't get a chance to know before as well as meet the brilliant minds behind its creation. There's just a whole lot of appreciation there from both sides," Edwards says.

"It isn't just the movie that has me going back," Baldwin says. "It really has turned into a Repo family. Complete strangers have become unlikely friends, meeting up to see a movie, sharing hotel rooms, opening their homes and apartments. The director is from Kansas City, and when Repo toured there, he even invited fans to his parents' home for a pre-show party. I can't think of many - if any - Hollywood directors who would do that!"

Repo and the rest of the world

While the film remains relatively unknown to the general public, the Repo Armies are doing what they can to promote the show, including flyering and even street busking. "It's just outrageous and fun enough to draw someone into [its] world. But [Repo] also has distinct and unique characters that invite people to the fantasy that is Repo. Repo appeals to the misfits as much as it does the music lovers. I've seen alternative adults, emo kids and straight-laced college students at Repo showings. The crowd is as eclectic as the cast," Edwards says.

"Repo's popularity is growing every day. It is still being shown in theaters even though the DVD and Blu-ray is about to be released on Jan. 20," Baldwin says. "Then a whole new audience of people will be able to see the film, and who knows where it will grow from there! The fans certainly are not going to give up."

"Three songs from the film - 'Zydrate Anatomy,' 'Chromaggia' and 'Chase the Morning' - have been included in the list of songs that are eligible for nomination for the Academy Awards' Best Song category," Edwards says. "The world at large might not yet know about Repo, but it's going to happen."


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