is something undeniably appealing about vital organs being ripped out of living human beings; while hearts are the real crowd pleasers (just ask the Mayans or my main man Mola to your right), the kidney, liver and spleen also look mighty fine when removed from their fleshy confines. That’s why I’m shocked that it’s taken this long for the blood-and-guts peddlers at the major studios to realize whole plots could be built around the idea of extracting organs, especially since we had a mini-run of movies in the early 80s exploiting stuff as ridiculous as a) underwater Nazi zombies and b) the novelty of not only illegally harboring orangutans, but teaching them how to make obscene gestures as well (and crap in squad cars).

Given the sorry state of health care in this country, it’s appropriate that the reason for yanking out hearts and such would be to repossess them from donors who’ve run out of money to pay for the lease. That’s the premise of Darren Lynn Bousman’s Repo! The Genetic Opera and, now, The Reposession Mambo, which has just been set up at Universal by tyro director Miguel Sapochnik (who’s been attached to a variety of projects ever since his short film, "The Dreamer", touched off a bidding war in 2000). The screenplay, by television writer Garret Lerner and Matchstick Men novelist Eric Garcia, must be pretty solid considering that it’s attracted Forrest Whitaker and Jude Law. Then again, maybe they’re as hot on the whole forceful-retrieval-of-operative-organs thing as the rest of us.

The Repossession Mambo will begin shooting this summer, while Repo! The Genetic Opera may not get started until 2008.