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The Living End is a 1992 American comedy-drama film by Gregg Araki. Described by some critics as a "gay Thelma and Louise," the film is an early entry in the New Queer Cinema genre. The Living End was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.

The Living End
The Living End (poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGregg Araki
Produced byJon Gerrans
Marcus Hu
Jim Stark
Written byGregg Araki
Music byCole Coonce
Sascha Konietzko
CinematographyGregg Araki
Edited byGregg Araki
Distributed byCineplex Odeon Films
Release date
  • August 21, 1992 (1992-08-21)
Running time
84 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$692,585[2]



Luke is a restless and reckless drifter and Jon is a relatively timid and pessimistic film critic. Both are gay and HIV positive. After an unconventional meeting, and after Luke kills a homophobic police officer, they go on a road trip with the motto "Fuck everything."


  • Mike Dytri as Luke
  • Craig Gilmore as Jon
  • Mark Finch as Doctor
  • Mary Woronov as Daisy
  • Johanna Went as Fern
  • Darcy Marta as Darcy
  • Scot Goetz as Peter
  • Bretton Vail as Ken
  • Nicole Dillenberg as Barbie
  • Stephen Holman and Magie Song as the 7-11 couple
  • Peter Lanigan, Jon Gerrans, and Jack Kofman as Three Stooges
  • Chris Mabli as a Neo-Nazi
  • Michael Now as Tarzan
  • Michael Haynes as Jane
  • Peter Grame as Gus
  • Craig Lee and Torie Chickering as the arguing couple at Ralph's
  • Jordan Beswick as Buddhist
  • Paul Bartel as Twister master


The film's soundtrack is mostly industrial, post punk and shoegazing music. Many references to bands and their members are made throughout the film. Joy Division's Ian Curtis is mentioned, along with Dead Can Dance, Echo & the Bunnymen and others. A Nine Inch Nails sticker is on the dashboard of Jon's car. The film's title comes from a song by The Jesus and Mary Chain, and a cover version of the JAMC song is performed by Wax Trax! Records artists Braindead Soundmachine during the film's credits. Early in the movie, Luke is seen wearing a JAMC shirt. Braindead Soundmachine guitarist Cole Coonce is credited with scoring the film's original music.


Janet Maslin of The New York Times found The Living End to be "a candid, freewheeling road movie" with "the power of honesty and originality, as well as the weight of legitimate frustration. Miraculously, it also has a buoyant, mischievous spirit that transcends any hint of gloom." She praised Araki for his solid grasp on his lead characters' plight and for not trivializing it or inventing an easy ending.[3] Conversely, Rita Kempley for The Washington Post called the film pretentious and Araki a "cinematic poseur" along the lines of Jean-Luc Godard and Andy Warhol. The Living End, she concluded, "is mostly annoying".[4] Rolling Stone's Peter Travers found The Living End a "savagely funny, sexy and grieving cry" made more heart-rending by "Hollywood's gutless fear of AIDS movies".[5]

In a letter (09/25/92) to playwright Robert Patrick, Quentin Crisp called the film "dreadful."[6]


  1. ^ "THE LIVING END (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 1992-12-18. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  2. ^ The Living End – Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2010-05-27.
  3. ^ Review/Film Festival: The Living End; Footloose, Frenzied and H.I.V.-Positive
  4. ^ ‘The Living End’
  5. ^ The Living End
  6. ^ Patrick, Robert (1992). Letters from Quentin Crisp. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

External linksEdit