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Local Event: Shadow Cast of ‘Repo! The Genetic Opera’

One of Many ‘Unofficial’ Comic-Con Events This Weekend

The San Diego cast of Elective Surgery performing at the Ken Cinema.

Credit: Jerry Abuan

Above: The San Diego cast of Elective Surgery performing at the Ken Cinema.


KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando reports on the shadowcast performance of Repo! at Comic-Con along with some other events surrounding the Con.


Comic-Con kicks off tonight. But the event has gotten so big that not everything is at the convention center any more and many groups are holding unofficial tie-in to Comic-Con events, like the Saturday screening of "Repo! The Genetic Opera" with creator Terrance Zdunich and director Darren Lynn Bousman in attendance.

The pop culture celebration that originally attracted just a few hundred attendees has now become so big that it can longer be contained within the San Diego Convention Center. This sprawling new Comic-Con has a college campus feel with attendees packing the local hotels like dorms and spilling out onto the streets for a 24/7 party feel. For the first time, Comic-Con is using multiple off site venues. Some panels will be at the Hilton Bayfront (something started last year), the Comic-Con International Film Festival will be at the Marriott, and there will be early badge pick up sites in Mission Valley.

The 100,000 plus crowd is also a tempting demographic. Outside organizers are holding their own unofficial Comic-Con events in order to tap into these attractive numbers. Behind the Convention Center you can catch a concert of gaming theme songs with Video Games Live. Then at Horton Plaza, the Zombie Defense Network is creating a Fallout Shelter for its party. 20th Century Fox, which skipped holding a film panel this, will instead have a mobile taco truck at a nearby parking lot to promote its upcoming release of “Machete.”

TRAILER: "If you’re going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy you better make damn sure the bad guy isn’t you."

Photo caption:

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Danny Trejo stars as "Machete"

One of the other satellite events is a special screening of “Repo! The Genetic Opera” at the Reading Gaslamp. The film is about a man who repossesses your organs if you miss a payment.

SONG: “Say you once bought a heart or new corneas but somehow never managed to square away your debts. He won’t bother to write or to phone you he’ll just rip the still-beating heart from your chest.”

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Lionsgate

Anthony Stewart Head is a repo man in "Repo! The Genetic Opera"

The film’s cult following has brought audience participation to a new level. When it screens this Saturday at 11pm, filmgoers will be treated to a shadow cast performance. Amy McCain is the cast director of the San Diego group Elective Surgery.

AMY McCAIN: A shadowcast is basically when they play the movie and you have a live acting troupe that acts out the movie as it’s playing. And if you are going to go to a shadow cast, you should expect not nice and quiet and peaceful, no this is an entire experience…

AUDIENCE MEMBER:“Turn it up…” [then clapping and stomping to music]

AMY McCAIN: People are loud, obnoxious, and you got people yelling at the screen, it’s literally an experience…

Elective Surgery made their debut in April at the Ken Cinema where Hannah Morris became a fan.

HANNAH MORRIS: "It’s a lot of fun because they add little inside jokes and they really bring it into the crowd. Like Graverobber walked up to me and took Zydrate out of my nose."

SONG: “Zydrate comes in a little glass vile…”

During rehearsals, McCain reminds her cast to interact with the audience.

AMY McCAIN: I really want you to be up in the seats up in people’s faces...

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Lionsgate

Elective Surgery performing at the Ken. They will be performing with the LA shadow cast on Saturday.

And that’s a lot of fun for performers like Maggie Leister.

MAGGIE LEISTER: I love the crowd I feed off their energy I love how happy they are how into it they get all their callbacks and they know your lines better than you do I love the crowd.

AMY McCAIN: "Let’s sing it loud and proud…" [audience starts singing the anthem]

This Saturday, Elective Surgery will be joined by the L.A. shadow cast, Addicted to the Knife as well as by some of the creative talent behind the film “Repo! The Genetic Opera” for a highly interactive audience experience.

AMY McCAIN: Let’s get a little applause.

Yes indeed you can!

Comic-Con begins tonight with Preview Night, 6 to 9pm, and runs through Sunday. "Repo! The Genetic Opera" shadow cast is Saturday at 11pm at the Reading Gaslamp Stadium Theaters.

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