Suburbia: A Film by Penelope Spheeris

A Film by Penelope Spheeris
(Shout! Factory)

And you thought Roger Corman only made cheesy horror flicks and T&A sex romps… “Suburbia,” directed in 1984 by Penelope Spheeris, is one of the first movies to give an honest and sympathetic portrayal of punks. Up until this point, Hollywood treated the sub culture as either comic relief or little more than an “After School Special” warning.

The cult classic, recently re-released by Shout! Factory as the first in a series of DVD salutes to the ever prolific Corman, follows a group of young, misunderstood punks that take refuge from their suburban upbringings in an abandoned house.

The movie, filmed with few real actors, relied mainly on LA street kids and rockers from the punk scene to fill out the main roles (including a young Flea), comes across surprisingly authentic. Punk bands like The Vandals, D.I. and TSOL all perform live sets throughout the film.

The re-release also includes a great commentary by Spheeris, a producer and a handful of actors.