Two new movies are being released that claim no connection to Repo Man, yet both are framing all their marketing around its cult brand. I’m Lookin for the Joke with a Microscope.
As countercultural post art-punk film lovers in the 80′s, my unjustifiably snobbish friends and I weren’t too taken with Repo Man on its release. We felt that punk that called itself punk was nothing more than a cartoon of rebellion, so a movie with a soundtrack featuring Black Flag and the Circle Jerks just didn’t fly with us. I came to my senses a few years later when I re-watched the film during the heyday of indy film in the late 80′s and early 90′s, and although I haven’t seen it in a while, it remains on my mental list of cult favorites. Which is part of why I’m tremendously amused with the buzz surrounding the release of both Repo Chick and Repo Men! (YouTube trailer links) this year. If you haven’t followed the story around the release of the films, it goes something like this: Repo Man director Alex Cox was busy developing “Repo Chick”, which he emphatically stated in early press was not a sequel to Repo Man. With movie studios being the litigation-fueled monsters that they are, Universal Pictures (which has rights to Repo Man) sent Cox a cease-and-desist, pulled a film they had shelved since 2008 called “Repossession Mambo” from the vaults, and rechristened it “Repo Men!” for release this year, almost concurrent with Repo Chick. Universal’s strategy is both fitting and ironic in a time of auto-industry bailouts and mortgage foreclosures, and adds an amusing media backdrop for the release of both films, which probably couldn’t have less in common. Repo Chick was produced by David Lynch, and was shot on green-screen with Red HD cameras. It’s been called a “farcical anti-golf parody”, and if the trailers are any indication, looks like it’ll be brilliantly campy. Repo Men, on the other hand, is a rather expensive looking action/adventure flick in which Jude Law plays a repo man who works for a company that reposseses your body organs when you miss a payment. Personally, I’m looking forward to both. I just hope Universal doesn’t manage to repo the rights to Cox’s non-sequel while cashing in on the name with their own “non-sequel”. Cox has an interesting spin on the whole story on his blog, which is impossible to link to directly, so we’ve included it below, along with trailers for both films.
The Repo Chick Trailer
Alex Cox’s “non-sequel” to Repo Man looks like fun, with what is presumably an intentional weird mix of high and low production values. It was shot on green screen with cutting edge “Red” HD cameras:
The Repo Men! Red Band Trailer
Universal – in typical film industry luddite style – put the film on YouTube, but doesn’t allow embedding as of this writing. That’s okay, this R-Rated trailer on TrailerAddict.com is better anyway:
From Alex Cox’s Blog:
“REPO MEN”? PLEASE…
I anticipated the “cease and desist” letter from The Studio, attempting to stop production of REPO CHICK on the grounds that it was an illegal sequal to REPO MAN. That was inevitable, given the history of the company, whose parent – MCA – stood for “Muscle, Cash and Attorneys.” So, when a letter came, forbidding me to make my movie and signed by no less a personage than the Executive Vice President In Charge of Litigation, I stuck it in the drawer labeled ‘Restraint of Trade’ and carried on.
REPO CHICK is a month from being done. She premieres in September, at the Venice Film Festival. Whereas most films get easier as you near the end, this one becomes more and more complex: a third of the backgrounds are in place now, but the rest of them – plus special effects shots from Collateral Image – are still to come.
If studio goons had any brains, they’d buy REPO CHICK and market the bijaziz out of it as if it were a sequal to REPO MAN. It isn’t really; it’s a story of different characters in a different world: but truth never gets in the way of the marketing department, whether it’s pixels or Prozac. That I understand.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the e-mail Jon Davison sent me today: an article reporting that “Universal’s embattled execs” were putting their big hairy monster picture on hold, and rushing out a film called REPO MEN.
REPO MEN is definitely not a sequal to my film. I still have a contract with these guys and – if they ever want to make a film based on my original work – they have to ask me to direct it. What fun that would be! But it seems The Studio has, among its souvenirs, a Jude Law thriller called THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO, shot in Canada, almost two years ago. I’m sure this is an excellent film, which Universal accidentally forgot to distribute, and now are passing off, in their innocence, as the new REPO MAN. Only a cynical person might see any attempt to catch the upward draft of REPO CHICK, and give loft to a turkey.
REPO CHICK ain’t REPO MAN, or REPO MEN. These MEN have nothing to do with me. For shame!