The Doom Generation is a 1995 American dark comedy film written and directed by Gregg Araki. It stars James Duval, Rose McGowan, and Johnathon Schaech. The film follows two troubled teenage lovers Amy Blue (McGowan) and Jordan White (Duval) who pick up a young handsome drifter named Xavier Red (Schaech). After he accidentally kills a store's clerk, the trio embarks on a journey full of sex, violence, and people from Amy's past. Billed as "A Heterosexual Movie by Gregg Araki", The Doom Generation is the second film in the director's trilogy known as the "Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy", the first being Totally Fucked Up (1993) and the last one Nowhere (1997). The characters of Amy Blue and Jordan White are based on the Mark Beyer comic strip "Amy and Jordan".
The Doom Generation was Araki's major film debut. It was shot mostly at night during January 1994 in Los Angeles on a budget of $800,000. The crew avoided well known landmarks and shot in undeveloped areas of urban sprawl to give the film an apocalyptic feel. The reasonable budget allowed Araki to hire professional crew, making it the first of his films not shot by himself.
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 1995, before appearing at various other film festivals. It received mixed reviews from critics. During the press screening, many of the critics walked out. However, at the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), the film received critical acclaim, most proclaiming it as Araki's breakthrough film. Distributed by Trimark Pictures, it was released in the United States on October 25, 1995. Despite the favorable reviews, the film did not achieve financial success, earning only $284,785 at the box office. McGowan was nominated for the Best Debut Performance at the 11th Independent Spirit Awards.
Teenage lovers Jordan White and Amy Blue pick up a handsome drifter named Xavier Red while driving home from a club. Jordan gives Xavier the nickname "X". A late-night stop at a convenience store leaves the three on the run when X accidentally kills the store's owner, forcing the trio to hide in a motel to avoid arrest. While Jordan and Amy have sex in the bathtub, X learns from the local television news program that the store owner's wife disemboweled her children with a machete before committing suicide, thus, he concludes, removing any possibility of the trio being caught by the police.
Later that evening, Amy has sex with X, even though they do not get along. Eventually Jordan finds out, and things become tense as the two men develop a lingering sexual attraction for one another. As the trio journeys around the city of Los Angeles, they continue to get into violent situations due to people either claiming to be Amy's previous lovers or mistaking her for such. The FBI has a meeting and declares it will find Amy and kill her (exactly the same sentiment is voiced by several other parties in the film). She is mistakenly identified by a fast food window clerk as "Sunshine" and later by a character played by Parker Posey as "Kitten".
Jordan, Amy and X spend the night in an abandoned warehouse, where they engage in a threesome. While Amy goes to urinate, Jordan and X are attacked by a trio of neo-Nazis, one of whom had previously mistaken Amy for his ex-girlfriend "Bambi". The gang proceeds to beat up X and then hold Jordan down as the aforementioned neo-Nazi ties up and rapes Amy on top of an American flag. The group finally severs Jordan's penis with pruning shears and forces it into his mouth. After Amy breaks free, she kills the neo-Nazis with the shears and escapes with X, leaving Jordan for dead. The film ends with Amy and X driving aimlessly on the road with no communication as the film fades.Rose McGowan as Amy Blue
James Duval as Jordan White
Jonathan Schaech as Xavier "X" Red
Dustin Nguyen as Nguyen Coc Suc, the convenience store clerk
Margaret Cho as Nguyen's wife
Parker Posey as Brandi
Lauren Tewes and Christopher Knight as TV anchorpeople
Nicky Katt as Bartholomew, Carnoburger cashier
Amanda Bearse as Barmaid
Cress Williams as Peanut
Skinny Puppy as Gang of goons
Perry Farrell as Stop 'n' Go clerk
Heidi Fleiss as Liquor store clerk
Khristofor Rossianov as Don
The Doom Generation received mixed reviews, with critics often comparing the film both favorably and unfavorably to Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Film website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 47% based on 34 reviews. Roger Ebert famously gave the film "zero stars" and wrote "Note carefully that I do not object to the content of his movie, but to the attitude." Ricky da Conceição of Sound on Sight named the film the best of Araki's "Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy" and said it "represented a major artistic leap forward" for Araki, who "creates a twisted pastiche of science fiction, nihilistic road movie and teen angst filtered with dead pan comedy and his own unique commentary on the depravity of modern America." He praised the set design, lighting, score and actress Rose McGowan, who "steals the show as the foul mouthed, morally aimless femme fatale on crystal meth and Diet Coke."
In March 2012, the UK company Second Sight Films released a DVD with amamorphic widescreen and director/cast commentary. Previous releases up until this point lacked the commentary, with many lacking the widescreen format.