Back in 1984 a certain movie came out focused around a group of men who ideally remove people’s cars from their property once the owners failed to pay the bank what was owed. The movie, Repo Man, of course was not just about stealing back cars for the bank and had a twist of sorts including aliens, drugs, and also offered one of the best punk rock movie soundtracks to date. The movie is a comedic sci-fi cult classic to many and still to this day one of my favorite movies to watch.
Starring a young brat pack Emilio Estevez (The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, Men At Work) as well as Harry Dean Stanton (Cool Hand Luke, Alien, Escape From New York) the movie focuses on Otto (played by Estevez), a young punk kid with hippie parents and no plans on life. Soon Otto meets up with Bud (played by Harry Dean Stanton) who takes him under his wing into the twisted world of booze, drugs, hi speed chases, and of course hot wiring cars. Soon Otto is part of the repo crew and he is slowly discovering a sense of maturity.
If the movie sounds boring to you then maybe I should also mention the hunt for a certain 1964 Chevrolet Malibu from New Mexico driven by crazed old man who has something hidden in the trunk. I am not going to ruin it for you but I can tell you the contents in the truck emit incredible heat and also vaporize anyone who opens the trunk door to see the actual contents. With a hefty reward for repossessing the car no one will stop at trying to get it.
Add a crew of druggie punk rockers raising hell in the city, a girl who wants to help the said aliens, and the lady with the tin foil hand this movie really goes all over the place. This crazy trip through the mean streets of L.A. is one hell of an adventure.
One of the highlights during the film for me is to see punk rockers The Circle Jerks playing as a lounge act at a bar that Otto visits. The song they play is a slowed down version of “When The Sh*t Hits The Fan”. I also loved all of the generic food products in the movie. Beer is labeled “Beer” and chips are labeled “Chips”. So generic yet so perfect for the movie especially when Otto eats of an open can of “Food”.
The soundtrack to the movie was one of the first of it’s kind as it was full of punk rock songs from major punk acts of the 80’s. Featuring Iggy Pop, The Plugz, Suicidal Tendencies, and Black Flag just to name a couple the soundtrack was like no other soundtrack of it’s time and remains a classic to this day.
I had actually purchased the soundtrack on cassette when I just was a young kid before I even saw the movie. Seeing a soundtrack featuring Iggy Pop and the Circle Jerks was good enough for me. I eventually grabbed a VHS copy of the move and watched that movie over and over. It was really one of the first movies I repeatedly would watch. Once DVDs came out a good friend of mine bought me the Repo Man collector’s DVD tin box that includes the movie and the soundtrack on CD. Score.
This movie is not going to ooh and aah people who are looking for something serious. It is a comedy action sci-fi punk rock movie with no structured plot other than a bunch of hoodlums trying to get the car to get the reward. Punk music backing up a movie about repo men, guns, drugs, violence, car chases, and a surprise ending. Can a movie get any better than this?
“Repo Man” performed by Iggy Pop: