DIRECTOR: PENELOPE SPHEERIS
Her 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization having pegged her as the premiere interpreter of American punk culture, Spheeris was called on by producer Roger Corman to make a fiction film set in the dropout milieu she knew so well. The result was this de-glammed, downbeat drama about the kids of the black hole, a gang of teenage runaways who call themselves T.R. (for “The Rejected”) squatting in derelict suburban tract houses. Begins with a shocking act of violence involving a stray dog and doesn’t let up through live performances by T.S.O.L., The Vandals, and D.I., probing the core of hurt, hate, and alienation at the heart of hardcore.