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Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008): Goth Opera for Theatre Kids & Organ Repossession

Repo tells the tale of a distant dystopian future where the healthcare system is managed by the incredibly wealthy and innocent people die if they can't afford treatment...hmmm sounds familiar.

Gabe talks about how the film feels a bit too real in our pandemic worlds and Kat discusses the very real challenges and barriers around organ transplantation.

Sources in this episode:

Ways to Help:

Read and give feedback on developing policy:

Attend regional meetings:

Volunteer of join a committee

Sign up to be an organ donor:

Website that claims to help find affordable medicine and clinic access:


Media from this week's episode:

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) Director: Darren Luynn Bousman

Summary by IMDB: A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however.


This Dystopia Looks a lot Like Ours: Repo! the Genetic Opera

by Gabe Castro

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Interesting concept -- organ repossession. Honestly, not too far fetched considering our current medical insurance industry. I can see the allure and why people would be drawn to a premise like that. If only this film actually covered this topic at all. It's also a rare goth-musical. I first watched this film in high school after a pirate told me about it at the flea market (I am from Florida so this all makes sense). I remember enjoying the aesthetics and angst of it all. Bousman created the piece thinking of the oddball kids I fancied myself to be at the time. In an interview in Filmmaker Magazine Bousman explained, "The movie appeals to the fringe, it appeals to the goth-y outside-the-box [crowd], the gay crowd, the theater crowd." In looking up articles and reviews, I found that the film has a strong cult-following and that many people are rediscovering the 2008 musical. Its tones and themes hit a bit harder in today’s dystopian world.

In an article on Film Cred, Repo! The Genetic Opera is the Hot Mess America Deserves Right Now, author Emma Ambrose hits the nail on the coffin, “The Repo Man is a pure personification of the terror of living in a state where insurance is given only at the behest of corporations and medical infrastructure is forgone in the name of overfunding an already bloated military and police budget. “None of us are free from this horror,” Zdunich continues, “because long ago we all fell into debt.” With this song, the Repo Man is presented as the inhuman slasher of predatory Capitalism. If you cannot pay in cash, you can pay in blood.”

My biggest gripe with the musical is that I wish this part of the story was more of the focus. It turns to focus on family drama. Others felt the same which is why I imagine the film, Repo Men with Jude Law was made. It’s the same rough idea but not a musical and maybe better? I haven’t watched it yet.

The song, 21st Century Cure sums up the idea pretty succinctly:

“Industrialization has crippled the globe

(Enjoy GeneCo's day and nighttime formula of Zydrate)