It’s hard to believe that Penelope Spheeris’ three documentaries about the grime and glamor of the hard-rocking lifestyle in L.A. have never been available on DVD. Hell, they were barely even available on VHS back in the day. But now, at last, the Decline of Western Civilization Collection is out on DVD and Blu-Ray — a no-brainer, perhaps, although for Spheeris it was anything but easy. She told the Wall Street Journal:
“That’s my identity, those movies, and I wanted it to be right, but looking back at Decline meant I had to relive the pain of not getting them seen. … [Putting together the reissue] was like being at the shrink for two years, and not being allowed to leave.”
Spheeris sucked it up, with lots of help from daughter Anna Fox, and now ShoutFactory! is selling the Decline of Western Civilization Collection, a four-disc set (three movies plus bonus material), for less than 50 bucks.
The first film chronicles the L.A. punk scene at the turn of the ’80s, focusing on bands including Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X. The second, subtitled “The Metal Years,” documents the music and (more importantly) excesses of KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Poison, Aerosmith, Megadeth and others. The third movie looks at the homeless punk scene in L.A. circa the mid-’90s.
The middle film is, of course, the best. Here are promo clips from ShoutFactory’s YouTube channel: