remembering my first viewing on HBO circa 1986
Thirty years ago, aimlessly channel surfing late one evening (HBO or Cinemax) and saw the first scene with Parnell in the Malibu, the vaporized cop, and the smoking boots. I was instantly transfixed. I had never even heard of this film. This scene just hit me out of the blue. Tirelessly mining the vast wasteland for decades in vain had I finally struck gold? Our infant son had fallen asleep so I called for my wife to come quick and we watched it in amazement together. By the time the Malibu lifts off (to the sound of The Plugz, Reel Ten https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7KcasScIU) the intensity of my wonder had reached a breaking point, and I mean a real, slack-jawed, tear lubricated, melon farming epiphany.
VCRs were a luxury then and if video stores even existed in my neck of the woods they were rarities. I was really afraid this impossibly quirky movie would have its run on HBO and it would fade back into whatever dark corner it had come from and I would never see it again! The thought of this was unbearable. Repo Man was obviously a blueprint for a soul saving vision barely emergent in my own imagination and for art's sake it had to be saved!
One guy I knew had a VCR. It was his prized possession but I begged him to loan it to me for just a day or two so I could record it. He reluctantly agreed and after a quick AV tutorial I managed to make my first ever video recording. I would cherish my one and only video tape cassette for years to come. Over the next few months I showed Repo Man to any friend who would humor me and though some of them seemed to like it nobody reacted like I did. Was I the only one? Had I over-reacted? Or was I just ahead of my time and of my friends who were just a tad provincial in their tastes and a few years older than me?
It was only after I came to this board years later that I learned many others felt like I did and at last my love was vindicated. Now I can die at peace.
Thank you Alex Cox, thank you Internet, and thank you IMDB.