The film was produced by Universal Studios (who co-finianced the project) with Rockstar Productions as a main.
The film received extreme controversy at the time of its theatrical release, especially because of its disturbing violence which resulted in an X-rating classificated by the MPAA. This made it one of the first movies in the New Age Hollywood area to be released in theaters with an X-rating. The film was re-rated to an R-rating in the 1989s.
At the time a lot of critics and viewers critized and panned the film because of its disturbing content, but Rockstar Games (and James L. Opius) believe that the film was released in a time where it shouldn't have. The violence in the film is a metaphor for the stages of physical pain and grief that a man can get through in his life because of a trauma. The violence committed in the film is supposed to be the pain and grief on a symbolistic way and to show that some people can't deal or cope with a friend or relative slowly meeting his downfall because of himself.
Although the film is considered to be a movie classic in present day, the film was a financial flop and was given outrageous negative reactions by critics who were shocked by the disturbing content in the film.
Rockstar Games and Michael Rooker did not get along with each other personally. Michael Rooker once even said that the role was in terms of working with the crew the hardest one.
Although the film was given an X-rating for its violence, the film's most disturbing scenes are known for the extremely quick shots of Rooker's penis which are shown often throughout the film.
The film was based on the book "THE WALKER" by James L. Opius.
Because of the flop of this film, Rockstar Games was not given big and anticipated directorial projects until the end of the 90s when his films received more acclaim and were re-discovered.