Penelope Spheeris Double Bill – Unboxing

In Features by Samuel Love

Filmmaker Penelope Spheeris could just be one of the most underrated directors in cinema. While her highest-grossing film – and certainly, for better or worse, the one she will be remembered for – is Wayne’s World, it is the back-to-back films she made in ’84 and ’85 that are the best representations of her style and skill behind the camera.

Those wonderful folks at 101 Films have released these two incredible cult classics as part of their Black Label series, and we took a closer look at both…


101 Films presents Penelope Spheeris’ searing drama Suburbia (1983), title 021 on the 101 Films Black Label. Starring real-life punks rather than trained actors, and featuring live performances from punk bands D.I., T.S.O.L. and the Vandals, Suburbia is an authentic and compassionate study of the Los Angeles punk rock scene in the early 1980s, and a bleak indictment of the American suburban experiment.

Evan and his younger brother leave their broken home in an attempt to escape their alcoholic mother. They fall in with “The Rejected” (aka T.R.), a group of punks who live as squatters in an abandoned shack by the side of the highway. With the T.R.s, the boys find a new family. But their new family will be tested when they become the target of “Citizens Against Crime,” a group of unhappy suburbanites.


• Interview with director Penelope Spheeris

• Limited edition booklet: includes Punks in Suburbia by Jon Towlson and Before Suburbia: Gangs on Film by Barry Forshaw


• Commentary with director Penelope Spheeris

• Commentary with director Penelope Spheeris, producer Bert Dragin and actor Jennifer Clay

• Still Gallery

• TV Spots

• Trailer

SUBURBIA is available from 101 Films’ store here


101 Films presents The Boys Next Door (1985), a violent and disturbing crime thriller from director Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilisation) and screenwriters Glen Morgan & James Wong (Final Destination, The X-Files).

Bo Richards (Charlie Sheen) has trouble talking to girls. Roy Alston (Maxwell Caulfield) is filled with an uncontrollable rage. On the weekend of their high-school graduation, the two suburban outcasts head for Los Angeles and embark on a violent murder spree that shocks the nation. But these young men are neither hardened criminals or foaming-at-the-mouth maniacs. They are simply The Boys Next Door.


Limited edition booklet: Includes Living with the Boys Next Door by John Towlson and AssassiNation: Cold-blooded Rebels and the Death of the American Dream by Rich Johnson


Audio commentary with director Penelope Spheeris and actor Maxwell Caulfield

Blind Rage: Interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA

Both Sides of the Law: Interview with actors Maxwell Caulfield and Christopher McDonald

Give Us Your Money: Interviews with street band performers Texacala Jones and Tequila Mockingbird

Caveman Day: Cinemaniacs interview with director Penelope Spheeris and actor Maxwell Caulfield

Tales from the End Zone: Interview with actor Kenneth Cortland

The Psychotronic Tourist – The Boys Next Door

Alternate Opening Title Sequence & Extended Scenes (Silent)


THE BOYS NEXT DOOR is available from 101 Films’ store here