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The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years1988

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  • 4.0
Penelope Spheeris' second-of-three documentaries focusing on Los Angeles' social outcasts of the '80s and '90s, THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION II: THE METAL YEARS deals with Los Angeles' heavy metal boom from 1987-1988. Where the first installment chronicled future legends in the punk scene, DECLINE II's subjects fall into three distinct categories: up-and-coming musicians who dream of a life of sex and excess; established acts such as Poison and W.A.S.P. who are filmed at the height of this life; and the older founders (Lemmy Kilmister and Ozzy Osbourne, in particular) who have grown tired of all the whole thing. While DECLINE II has its humorous moments (the film was made when some people still believed there was a sincere Satanic element in hard rock), its scenes of glam excess (Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. gives himself a vodka bath while lying on a pool floatie next to his horrified mother) would inadvertently turn audiences away from hair metal to more economical genres like alt-rock and grunge. - Tom Fritsche

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"Here you can see why [Spheeris had] had an offer to direct THIS IS SPINAL TAP, and also why she turned it down: Outright ridicule was not on the agenda..." - Jonathan Kiefer, Keyframe

Member Reviews (3)

top reviewer

The only real problem with this film is, it's called 'The Metal Years', and really it should be called L.A.'s glam rock scene. That's what is mostly on display here. All in all, not bad.


one of my all time favorite docs on music. excellent how its put together is brilliant.