"I love the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I love going to the Nuart and seeing the insanity that takes place inside that theater. I think Rocky Horror Picture Show gave people a shelter to feel safe. If you were a freak, if you were a weirdo, if you were fat, if you were skinny, if you were goth, if you were a transvestite, it was OK, come to Rocky Horror Picture Show, you're fine here. And people went there and they embraced it, and everyone felt comfortable, and everyone kind of acted weird and strange and they were comfortable with that, and I grew up in that environment. That's how I basically learned it was OK to be artistic, it's OK to have weird ideas. And I hope that people continue to understand that about Repo!"
Darren Bouseman, SuicideGirls, October 2008.
By definition, you can't create a counter culture experience without polarizing the mainstream culture you're hoping to be countering. With Repo! The Genetic Opera, director Darren Bouseman has certainly achieved this basic cult criteria. Mainstream outlets unanimously derided the film: The Los Angeles Times said the film was "bloody awful," USA Today referred to it as a "preposterous bloodbath," and it has been called "the worst move of all time" by numerous critics.
But Bouseman did not make this movie to please po-faced pen-pushers (those in the horror genre rarely get into the business to seek critical acclaim), and his film is clearly finding its intended niche. While Rotten Tomatoes' survey of professional film writers gave the film a measly 31% rating, those in the RT community gave it a more than respectable 84%. And it was this community that came out in force on Saturday night for the final sold-out stop on Repo's 13 date Road Tour.
By 8.30 pm the line of those willing to "testify" to the legitimacy of Repo's cult status snaked around the block. Many had seen the film multiple times, and most were dressed up in character for the occasion. Cast members Alexa Vega, Terrance Zdunich, Paris Hilton, and Ogre, mingled with the crowd alongside co-writer Darren Smith (seen above signing a cast) and Bouseman. Particular respect should be given here to Hilton, who, with an unfailingly sweet demeanor, showed support for the film in the face of adversity -- much of the critics ire having been directed at her (it's not like she's short of stuff to do on a Saturday night).
After a brief introduction, in which Bouseman embraced the notoriety his film had been blessed with, the fun really began. The audience showed their dedication by being word -- if not note -- perfect. Their semi-rehearsed cat-calls, dances and zydrate-addicted glo-stick waving adding humor to the movie Darren had warned me during an interview in October 2007 was "not intended to be taken seriously."
Repo is now available on Blue-Ray and DVD.
And yes, that is SG Radio's Sam Doumit in the photo (top left) with Paris and Darren!
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