Director Gregg Araki has issued a statement to explain his film Kaboom being pulled from UK’s FrightFest.

The film had been set to screen at Film4 FrightFest in late August in London (the festival runs Aug 26-30). But on July 30, festival co-organiser Alan Jones posted the following on the festival blog about Kaboom: “I feel sorry for director Gregg Araki, I really do. When I saw his latest movie Kaboom at Cannes this year, I absolutely loved it and knew it would be perfect for FrightFest. Okay, so it wasn’t your average horror fantasy, instead it was a smartly written, sexy and hyper-hip mix of Buffy, Twin Peaks, and Donnie Darko. Like Araki’s other works, Nowhere and The Doom Generation in particular, it was a celebration of alternative lifestyles, a live-and-let mantra about people existing outside the norm.  

“Can you imagine our surprise then when we were told that Araki wanted Kaboom pulled from our line-up because he didn’t want it being seen by a ‘bunch of geeks’, his alleged words. The first thought that crossed our minds was, how come he’s taken this long to tell us when we’ve been publicizing the program for a month now and every major website has carried the news. The second thought was what sort of film does he think he’s actually made. The third was so much for the pleas of tolerance and acceptance he advocates in his movies. The fourth was, Wow has he got the FrightFest audience wrong. The fifth was, F**k him, we don’t need his movie if that’s his blinkered attitude.”

Araki responded in a statement issued last night: “In light of the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of my film Kaboom from London’s FrightFest this past weekend, I wanted to set the record straight. Alan Jones’ inflammatory story claiming I deemed the movie too good for a “bunch of geeks” is a complete fabrication. I would NEVER call anyone who wants to see any film of mine “a bunch of geeks”.

“I’ve never spoken or corresponded with Alan Jones and I’m stunned he would put words in my mouth that I never said. This kind of blatant and willful misrepresentation is not only damaging to my reputation, it’s hurtful to my fans so I take this offense very seriously.

“As anyone who’s seen my movies would know, I’m a cinema geek and genre fan myself - and in fact I have two projects I’m currently developing which are, yes, straight up horror genre films.

“As an indie director, I never take any fan of mine for granted and am grateful for each and every one. The only part of this sordid saga that’s true is that Kaboom was unfortunately removed from the FrightFest lineup. That decision was made after careful consideration by myself, the other producers, the financiers and upon the advise of friends who work in distribution. The sad fact of the matter is it’s becoming harder and harder to make and distribute truly independent films in the current marketplace. Getting your film out there to audiences is more difficult than ever and requires careful planning and strategy.

“Fan buzz-generating screenings like FrightFest are of course amazing and great fun to do but they’re normally slotted closer to a film’s theatrical release date as part of an orchestrated marketing effort. Our foremost concern right now is what’s best for Kaboom overall and how to parlay the movie’s amazing debut in Cannes into the widest distribution possible. As to why the film was pulled so late, I wasn’t even told of its inclusion in the festival till a little over a week ago (sorry but I don’t Google myself or my films on a regular basis and have no staff or assistants to keep me updated on stuff like that).

“Finally to everyone who was eager to see Kaboom on Sunday night, I sincerely apologize and believe me, I’m just as excited for you all to see it. I’m super proud of the movie - everyone involved really put their heart and soul into it - and I truly hope there’s a chance to see it there in the UK soon!”

The 11th FrightFest will now screen Brett Anstey’s Damned by Dawn instead of Kaboom on Sunday, Aug 29.

Other selections for FrightFest include Monsters, A Serbian Film, Bedevilled, Cherry Tree Lane, Amer, Hatchet II and Primal.

Guests expected include Eli Roth, Tobe Hooper, Jake West, Simon Rumley and Paul Andrew Williams.