Doom Generation – DVD Review

DVD available at Amazon.com

Director:
Gregg Araki

Cast:
James Duval….Jordan White
Rose McGowan….Amy Blue
Johnathon Schaech….Xavier Red

Lionsgate Home Video presents Doom Generation. Screenplay by Gregg Araki. Running time: 83 minutes. Rated R. Theatrical release: Oct. 27, 1995. DVD released August 7, 2007.

The Movie

Has really been a dozen years since Rose McGowan took us on a hellish road trip? Seems like only last year that she exploded on the silver screen as Little Miss Doom and Gloom with her foul mouth, dainty middle finger and Louise Brooks haircut. Maybe that’s blowing it out of proportion. Rose’s role as Amy Blue blossomed on TV screens. Doom Generation owes its legacy completely to home video since it made a mere $259,319 in the theaters. To many punk cinephiles, Rose replaced Betty Blue‘s Beatrice Dalle as the unbalanced lust object gal.

It’s wrong to describe this movie as a road trip to hell since the first scene takes place at a night club called Hell. The kids are slam dancing to Nine Inch Nails and Amy Blue looks bored at the collisions of flesh on the floor. She heads out to an out-of-commission drive-in to lose her virginity to her equally innocent boyfriend, Jordan White. While attempting to pop cherries in the front seat, they’re interrupted by the members of Skinny Puppy beating Xavier Red on the hood of the car. Blue and White rescue Red from the angry band. They quickly sense that Red is too freakish for them and dump him on the road. White and Blue drop by a convenience store for nachos and slush drinks that cost $6.66. The agitated owner pulls out a shotgun and threatens Blue when she drops a cigarette on the floor. Red “protects” his new friends by attacking the owner. During the tussle, the gun goes off and the owner’s head ends up in…best let you watch that gross moment unspoiled. The trio hits the road as not merely jaded kids, but fugitives from the law.

The trip becomes a winding nightmare as Red shows that he’s a kinky kind of guy. While he wants his way with Blue, he doesn’t mind getting tight with White. He’s not trying to split up the happy couple. He’s willing to share the bed. Like characters in a Radley Metzger movie, Doom Generation doesn’t tease us with off camera action and an occasional glimpse. There’s plenty of flesh on the screen and a few gross out moments involving bodily fluid. While there’s no hardcore penetration; we do get to see plenty of Rose in the bathtub.

Their journey across America keeps getting weirder. The hotel rooms have outrageous interior design. Take pleasure in the checkerboard hotel that goes to the extreme. Everything they buy costs $6.66. The signs around them get creepier with imposing messages. Even though they’ve traveled into unknown lands, plenty of nutjob guys claim Blue is a girl they once dated. They all want her back. This leads to comic moments that ultimately add up into a horrific ending. Doom Generation was not the feel good indie hit of the 1995 like Brothers McMullen.

Amongst the freakish action are cameos that rival a season of Love Boat. There’s Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street), Margaret Cho, Christopher Knight (Brady Bunch), Amanda Bearse (Married With Children), Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), Don Galloway (Ironside), Heidi Fleiss, Parker Posey and Lauren Tewes (Love Boat). The iconic faces fit with the aesthetic of a generation that grew up in front of a TV set. Why shouldn’t they expect the cop from Ironside tracking them down?

Doom Generation is a film that lives up to coolness of its name (unlike Doom). You’re either going to become engrossed in the film or disgusted by the action. There’s no way you can just let it wash over you like a Merchant-Ivory production. This isn’t wallpaper cinema. Rose McGowan’s performance grabs you by your ear and refuses to stop tugging. Look at her face during the bathtub sex scene. She’s a pure vision of passion and urge. It’s a shame that Rose hasn’t been able to land a role that touches upon the intensity she exposed in Doom Generation. She made bleakness look hot.

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.33:1 pan and scan. Why after nearly nine years since the first DVD release, did they not give us the widescreen action? The missing action on the right and left of the screen adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the film. The camera nearly slams into the actors faces especially when their heads are nearly touching. It almost works with the film, but it’s annoying in a DVD age with widescreen TVs to get less. The transfer looks better than the older release.

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is 2.0 Dolby Surround. The levels are good especially since the music goes between harsh industrial music to quiet numbers. The subtitles are in Spanish and French.

EXTRAS:
Trailer (1:28) emphasizes the madness of their journey.

Filmography is a weak listing of the three stars films.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Doom Generation
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

1
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
7
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
If you like watching Rose McGowan on Charmed, you’re going to get a great view of her in Doom Generation.

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