The Decline of Western Civilization | Penelope Spheeris’ celebrated rock doc trilogy gets a first-ever official release

The Decline of Western CivilizationPenelope Spheeris’ music documentary trilogy The Decline of Western Civilization has long been celebrated as an important cultural record of LA’s hardcore punk, metal and gutter-punk scenes of the 1980s and 1990s, and now all three films are getting a first-time UK DVD and Blu-ray release from Second Sight.

The box-set comprises the influential 1981 original, charting the chaotic lives and gigs of the likes of Black Flag, the Circle Jerks and The Germs; the 1988 sequel chronicling the OTT excesses of Hollywood’s hard rock scene from thrash metal merchants Motörhead to glam-metal stars Poison and rock gods like Alice Cooper; and the 1998 film, exploring LA’s punk rebirth – set in world of homelessness and societal breakdown – through a new generation of bands like Final Conflict.

Plus, there’s a raft of extras that’s been a real labour of love from Spheeris’ daughter, Anna Fox, who is the person to thank for bringing her mother’s work together for the first time.

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And if you want further reason for adding this to your music documentary collection, then here’s what some recent reviewers had to say:

‘The first two Decline of Western Civilization docs are among the greatest rock movies ever made – and until the release of this four-disc boxed set packed with extras, they existed only on VHS…. They’re gritty mementos of an earlier, better generation of rock films.’ Playboy

‘In addition to recording powerhouse bands in their prime, Spheeris also used these films to explore youth culture, the unifying power of music and the varying conceptions of (success). Her work here is outstanding, and it’s great to have it available again.’  The Los Angeles Times

The Decline of Western Civilization is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Second Sight in the UK, and from Shout! Factory in the US.


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on September 3, 2015, in Documentary, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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