Science Fiction Double-Feature
Alrighty folks, it’s October! A time for cider, candy and spooky scary skeletons – but most of all, awesome movies. Whether we’re dealing with slashers, psychos or downright crazies, the horror genre encompasses all – in this case, cult movie musicals! That’s right, I’m using my Don’t Quit Your Day Job feature to segue into my new category, Drinking the Kool-aid, where I delve into awesome examples of cult cinema. Without further a due, let’s have some old and new with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo! The Genetic Opera.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
When it comes to sci-fi cult classic musicals, there really is nothing that compares to The Rocky Horror Picture Show – I mean, there’s nothing like it. Granted it is a parody of B-Movies of the 1940s-1970s, but this film reigns strong on its own as one of the more popular cult film of pretty much all time. Just what makes it so darn awesome?
Well to start off, the music’s fantastic. I seriously cannot find anything to harp on about it: it’s well-written, well-performed, and catchy as all hell. As of now “The Time Warp” stands as a staple on most Halloween party albums and plays at the occasional Hard Rock Café – that’s not half bad.
Let’s take into consideration Dr. Frank N. Furter’s big intro number, “Sweet Transvestite”:
This song serves as a pivotal moment in the movie. Once our young protagonists Brand (ASSHOLE) and Janet (SLUT) meet this man, this turns from a musical misadventure to a most bizarre sex romp. It’s like when From Dusk Til Dawn went from a crime thriller to a Mexican vampire gore fest.
I think the addition of the sex element to the B-Movie formula that makes it so unforgettable. Rather than a Dr. Frankenstein, we’re given an omnisexual Frank N. Furter, whose life’s work is creating the ultimate sex toy, a living muscle-man known as Rocky Horror. Brad and Janet are thrust into this perplexing world and forced to become part of Frank’s self-absorbed floor show. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s revealed that Dr. Frank and his (SLAVES) servants (SAME THING) are aliens! Dun-dun-duuuun!
Like I said, I think if it wasn’t for its originality in combination of how the film’s presented, we would not have the pop culture iconism that we have today. There is a sequel, Shock Treatment, but it’s not nearly as memorable…or good. Personally I just wonder about how these shout-outs and other Rockyisms came to be. Were they planted during the Broadway run or was someone at the midnight show just that bored? The world will never know.
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Oh Repo, where do I begin? Repo was a graphic novel turned stage play (not unlike Rocky Horror) – eventually gaining interest from Lionsgate. Then things kinda went south and it really didn’t get much promotion – it was pretty much known as that goth musical with Paris Hilton. For shame, I say. I think it’s fair to say that Repo is this generation’s Rocky Horror – complete with midnight showings and shadow casts and the whole bit. I honestly don’t know if there are shout-outs or cues or anything but it really wouldn’t surprise me.
Repo! The Genetic Opera is dystopian tale where in the near future mankind will fall due to a horrible onslaught of genetic disease. Fortunately, a company called GeneCo has discovered how to farm healthy organs. However, if you do not make your payments on time, your organs will be repossessed by GeneCo’s Repo-Man. So far it sounds a little like a failed movie, huh? (*cough*rip-off*cough*) The story of Repo focuses on a young girl named Shiloh (Spy Kids‘ Alexa Vega), whose father is a Repo-Man. Not only does she not know her father’s terrible secret, but she also doesn’t know that her family holds the secret to the future of GeneCo.
To be honest the music in this movie is fairly hit-and-miss. You get the greatness of Buffy‘s Anthony Stewart Head belting his heart out, and you learn that Frank Sorvino can actually sing really well. Also Phantom of the Opera‘s Christine herself, Sarah Brightman, makes a memorable appearance as an opera singer known as Blind Mag. On the other hand, well, other than Paris Hilton, some of the songs can be annoying, such as “Seventeen.” Yes! I get that you’re seventeen Shiloh! I totally don’t care about your typical rebellious nature! Overall I think that the good outweighs the awful on this one.
Now what really raised the bar for me was the GeneCo heirs, namely Pavi Largo, played by Skinny Puppy’s Ogre.
This is a man who sleeps with women and cuts off their faces. I’ll be honest here, he fascinates me. He’s just a strange little character who ought to get more screen time, but whatever the movie’s not about him. He’s just a sweet little perk to this strange and wonderful world.
Watch for the performances, stay for the Pavi.