The Decline Of Western Civilization Part Ii: The Metal Years

Penelope Spheeris’s feature-length promo devoted to heavy metal groups (1988) is essentially an hour and a half of dross featuring Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, and various members of Aerosmith, Kiss, Motorhead, and Poison, with truncated performances by Faster Pussycat, Lizzy Borden, London, Odin, Seduce, and Megadeth. There’s so little respect for the music that we never see or hear a number from beginning to end, and we rarely hear any of the musicians speak more than a few seconds at a time. Spheeris mainly encourages them to talk about how much sex and money they have, and to broaden things out a little, she interviews Chris Holmes while he’s guzzling vodka in a swimming pool next to his mother, gets a probation officer to describe demetaling, and devotes a lot of footage to some strip acts at Bill Gazzarri’s rock club. Overall the glibness and self-contempt are so thick you can cut them with a knife. R. (JR)

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