BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Suburbia: Collector's Edition (1983) - Blu-ray Review

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Suburbia - Blu-ray

Could there be anything more punk than producer Roger Corman hiring director Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World) in 1983 to direct a movie about youth alienation in Los Angeles?  I think not.  Call it Punxploitation; call it a walk on the wild side of safe suburban homes; call it Squatter’s Paradise; but whatever you do call it, there is no denying that this film, celebrating its (SHRIEKING) 36th anniversary, is a POWERFUL study of the punk rock scene and all the youth scattered about along its highway.

"Watch the movie that, in all its rugged and raging safety-pinned glory, inspired the Pet Shop Boys to write about their own experience with  . . .  Suburbia."

Opening with a harrowing scene that plays out as more of a vignette for things to come, Suburbia (and its deaths) remains a traumatizing AND an important experience.  The film begins with a female hitchhiker.  She tells the young mother who eventually stops to pick her up that she is riding until the end of the highway.  There is a child in the car.  The baby can’t be any older than three or four.  This fact becomes important when a flat tire means that all passengers in the vehicle must walk to the nearest payphone.  Remember those?

The payphone is located in an abandoned part of LA County.  This is a place where lots of sketchy people reside.  It is an area where dogs – trained to kill – suss out undesirables.  And, as things happen relatively quickly once the mother picks up the phone to call for assistance, there will be one death tonight.  And it will be the most innocent of all: the baby.  Trapped in the jaws of a destructive Doberman pinscher, the child is savagely whipped around again and again and again until we fade to black.

And then the film truly begins, highlighting the abuse and the alienation that so many kids felt in suburbia, it centers on one household before tackling a number of alienated youth.  These kids weren’t their parents.  They didn’t want their stuff.  And the rawness; the realness of punk – in the era BEFORE labels – was all that mattered.  Evan (Billy Coyne) is tired of his mother’s verbal abuse and the day she starts throwing trash at him is the day he decides that he has had enough.  He and a pal wind up squatting along with a bunch of other teenagers – The Rejected, they call themselves, burning TR into their skin as a sort of tribal indoctrination – in a neglected area of Los Angeles County.

But even there this gang – featuring the acting talents of Chris Pederson (Point Break), Jennifer Clay, and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) – are harassed by members of the community who shoot their dogs, tell them to dress for success, and are chased by the local police department.  These kids are just looking for acceptance, no matter how wrongheaded they might be in going about it.  To them the punk rock scene is everything.  Co-starring Donald V. Allen as the only forward-thinking beat cop, Suburbia now celebrates new life in HD thanks to Shout! SelectSuburbia - Blu-ray

Featuring exhilarating performances from D.I. performing "Richard Hung Himself", T.S.O.L. performing "Wash Away" and "Darker My Love", and The Vandals performing "The Legend of Pat Brown", the film is all about a side of society that has been tossed out in favor of selling out and cashing in. With one stage dive after another, these teens are having none of it.

The problem is that these teens go too far (as most rebellions do) because the concerts are broken up by sexually harassing a female (to the point of stripping her of her clothes), murder, and a beat down that still has my head ringing from its excessiveness.  And then there are the overdoses, the suicides, and all the angst that fills the abandoned home these squatters are residing in.  Harrowing and bleak (especially that ending), the film remains an honest testament to the punk rock scene of Los Angeles.

The scene might be long dead but the kids are still alright.  Watch the movie that, in all its rugged and raging safety-pinned glory, inspired the Pet Shop Boys to write about their own experience with  . . .  Suburbia

Let's take a ride, and run with the dogs tonight.

4 beers

Suburbia - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
94 mins
: Penelope Spheeris
Penelope Spheeris
Chris Pedersen, Bill Coyne, Jennifer Clay
: Drama | Thriller
The kids from ... The Wild Side ... The Side You've Never Seen.
Memorable Movie Quote: "My old man's gonna be back soon and if we're still here he's gonna shit Twinkies."
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 13, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 29, 2019
Synopsis: Suburbia is director Penelope Spheeris's study of the Los Angeles punk rock scene in the early 1980s. 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.

Suburbia - Blu-ray


Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- January 29, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Shout Select brings Suburbia back to life on blu-ray thanks to a brand new 4K transfer.  The polished visual upgrade from its original DVD release is a winner. The new transfer showcases the draw of the LA County with a nice, scenic beauty of its suburban and its city nightlife.  The film is quite crisp and expressive with its HD upgrade. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its new HD armor. Colors are strong throughout and are particularly memorable with their inclusion of details and strong edges. Black levels are clearly defined, too. Shadows are detailed. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is solid and aggressive.



  • There are two audio commentaries that have been ported over for this release.  The first is director Penelope Spheeris and the second is with Spheeris, Producer Bert Dragin, and actress Jennifer Clay.

Special Features:

Anyone hoping for an interview with Corman about this movie will be disappointed.  This release features only a still gallery and a trailer.

  • Still Gallery
  • Trailer

Suburbia - Blu-ray