The Decline of Western Civilization Trilogy
Mainstream moviegoers know director Penelope Spheeris as the director of Wayne’s World (and other, lesser big-budget comedies like Black Sheep and The Beverly Hillbillies), but music fans know her for The Decline of Western Civilization, the monumental 1981 documentary of the Los Angeles punk scene, and its two sequels (Part II: The Metal Years covered the L.A. “hair bands” of the mid-80s; Part III looked at the region’s “gutter punk” scene in the late 1990s). The first film featured performances by Black Flag, Fear, X, and others; Part II included Megadeth, Kiss, W.A.S.P., and Ozzy Osbourne, among others, engaging in indulgent “rock star” behavior (some of which was later revealed to be staged — shades of Robert Frank). All three films were released on VHS, but various legal issues over the rights to the copious music have made them, thus far, MIA on DVD. Spheeris’s website for the films claims that they are “coming soon to DVD & Video” — but the site has claimed that since at least 2007.