Araki’s follow-up to the melancholic alienation of Totally F***ed Up was this scorchingly sexy hellraiser of a three-way road movie, roundly and virulently condemned by critics who were clearly not expecting to see a supposed art film slathered with gory violence ripped straight from the bloody maw of the splatter-gore eighties. Nor, one suspects, were they prepared for a New Queer Cinema alum to place a subversive, highly sexualized female character at the centre of his film. Amy Blue (Rose McGowan, establishing for all time her potty-mouthed, hot-Goth-slut persona) is wallowing in a boring relationship with her high school sweetheart Jordan White (a charmingly scruffy and perpetually Valiumed-out James Duval) when white-hot drifter Xavier Red (the unspeakably handsome Johnathon Schaech) literally lands on their car and climbs aboard. Convenience store mayhem, raunchy motel sex and vindictive ex-boyfriends soon follow, en route to an appropriately apocalyptic conclusion. Riffing on Anna Karenina and Godard’s Bande à part, The Doom Generation has become a key influence to a new generation of young filmmakers. –TIFF
One of the angriest, most unconventional, and relentlessly intriguing voices in independent cinema, filmmaker Gregg Araki emerged on the film scene with the subtlety of a gunshot to the head with The Living End in 1992. His story of two HIV-positive gay lovers on a highway rampage quickly established him as one of the key figures in the “New Queer Cinema.” The film reached out to many of society’s more alienated members—gay and straight—who related to its energetic rage and identified with the anger of its principle characters.
Of Asian-American heritage, Araki is a native of Southern California. After attending film school at the University of Southern California—where he was particularly influenced by screwball comedies such as Bringing Up Baby— he made his directorial debut in 1987 with Three Bewildered People in the Night. With a budget of only $5,000 and using a stationary camera, he told the story of a romance between a video artist, her lover… read more
Almost predating New French Extremity, if NFE first absconded, and got stoned, on a West Coast road trip - or, was simply born out of such. More likely, the MTV generation as the biological offspring in the family yearbook of Natural Born Killers. Quintessential '90s cinema, for better or worse; for its fleet, mercurial vulgarism - as gratifying as ever - I’m more inclined towards the former. Eat my fuck.