Profile: Gregg Araki - director of Kaboom

Profile: Gregg Araki, director of Kaboom

A wild, sex-filled ride heavily influenced by the B-movie genre

Name Gregg Araki

Born 17 December 1959, Los Angeles

Background Araki came to prominence in the 1990s as one of the leading figures in what was labelled New Queer Cinema (a collection of films by directors including Derek Jarman and Todd Haynes that challenged heterosexual norms). He is particularly known for his ‘Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy’ (including Totally F***ed Up, The Doom Generation and Nowhere), which reached cult status due to its punk aesthetic and frank portrayals of sex. In 2008 he made Mysterious Skin, a harrowing look at the effects of child abuse. The film received widespread critical acclaim and showed Araki’s ability to turn his hand to more serious subject matter.

What’s he up to now? With his latest film, Kaboom, Araki returns to the style of his earlier films. The story of a college graduate who believes he has stumbled across a conspiracy theory is a wild, sex-filled ride heavily influenced by the B-movie genre.

On John Waters’ influence on the film ‘Whilst I was working on this project, John [Waters] was presenting me with an award at a film festival in Provincetown. While we were backstage, waiting to go on, he turns to me and says, “You know I love Mysterious Skin and it’s a great movie and everything but I really want to see you make an old-school Gregg Araki movie”. I was so flattered for him to say something like that – quite a compliment coming from John Waters, the godfather of all cult movies! It was almost, in a way, a sign from the heavens.’

On the film’s soundtrack ‘This movie, more than any of my other movies, is just so music-heavy and music-dependent. Robin Guthrie from Cocteau Twins and Ulrich Schnauss did the soundtrack for us. So much of the weird, ethereal, dreamy quality comes from the score and then the source cues are this amazing collection of great post-punk indie bands like Placebo, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ladytron … the hits go on!’

Trivia Araki cites filmmaker David Lynch as a major influence on Kaboom, in particular his 90s television series Twin Peaks.

Kaboom is on selected release from Fri 10 Jun. See review.

Kaboom Trailer


  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • US / France
  • 15
  • Directed by: Gregg Araki
  • Written by: Gregg Araki
  • Cast: Thomas Dekker, Juno Temple, Haley Bennett, Roxane Mesquida, James Duval

Smith (Dekker) is a college student in California who lusts after his surfer roommate Thor (Zylka). One night, things take a bizarre turn and he begins to believe he is at the centre of a giant conspiracy. Unbridled fun.

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