Punxsploitation while being such a limited sub genre is full of so many films I fucking adore. I grew up on punk rock and horror films so when you mix those two elements I have all kinds of ‘gasms. Sure not every one is horror, but most at least are heavy on the elements. Narrowing the list down to five was harder than a pope in a preschool. The first thing I did was eliminate the documentaries. That could be a list of its own. If you want to go that route I suggest checking out the wonderful “Decline of a Western Civilization” series all directed by the genius Penelope Spheeris who was also behind “Wayne’s World.” Only two of the three are punk oriented but I still suggest all of them. Todd Phillips who bought us “The Hangover” and “Old School” also attacked the punk world with his brilliant doc on GG Allin, “Hated.” The punxsploitation genre is full of plenty of other films that I hated leaving off the list. Both “Class of 1984″ and “Class of 1999″ are chalked full of punk gangs that will rip your face off, not to mention Stacy Keach’s amazing rat tail. Troma has had some success in the genre with the “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” series as well as one of my personal favorites “Surf Nazis Must Die.” Well, now that I have told you a bunch of films I am not going to talk about(yeah, I stick to my convictions) lets move on to my favorite Punxsploitation films.
5. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains
An often forgot entry with insanely young versions of Diane Lane and Laura Dern. I am pretty sure I can go to jail for finding them attractive in this movie. Members of Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Tubes round out the cast and give it some cred. Often listed in helping bring the riot girl movement to the public eye. The music is pretty awesome and while not being a perfect example is a fun watch nonetheless.
4. Night of the Demons(1988)
One of the greatest cast of characters ever. Stooge is fucking hilarious. Suzanne, played brilliantly by Linnea Quigley has one of the sexiest moments in cinema. Never have I wanted to be a tube of lipstick more in my life. Mimi Kinkade as Angela may steal the show though. Her dance to Stigmata Martyr can only be topped by her dance to Morbid Angel in “Night of the Demons 2.” I would go to Hull house and be attacked by demons just to see that shit in person. This is a quintessential eighties horror film and the punk elements just bring out its badassary. It was followed by two sequels and a remake but only the second even comes close to the original.
3. Repo Man
Emilo Estevez plays a punk rocker who loses his job and then all his money thanks to his parents confusion over fiction and nonfiction when they give it all to a televangelist. He meets up with Harry Dean Stanton and starts repossessing cars. He has some problems with the moral side of things until he gets some cash money. That always helps. I watch this film quite frequently. It is one of Estevez’s shining moments for sure and Harry Dean Stanton always kills it and this is no exception. “Repo Man” is a roller coaster ride of awesome. It starts pretty basic and ends up covering everything from aliens to dead bodies. The soundtrack is full of awesome including Fear, Iggy, Suicidal Tendencies, and The Circle Jerks who also perform in the film.
2. Sid & Nancy
Gary Oldman is near perfect in this. I am aware it is a very fictionalized character of Sid he is playing but he owns the screen. Chloe Webb steals some of his glory with her run as Nancy Spungen though. There is something about the way Alex Cox makes a movie that just grips me and wont let go. I mean for shits sake he is on this top five twice and almost made it three with “Straight to Hell.” Gary Oldman performing “My Way” is, dare I say better than Sid himself. Even though Sex Pistols had no actual songs on this soundtrack I still love the record.
1. Return of the Living Dead
It had to come to this. Never has a film, especially a horror film captured punk culture in such a fun, realistic, yet exaggerated light. The entire cast in phenomenal. Brian peck as Scuz is one of my favorites, not to mention he went on to direct one of my favorite films ever. “The Willies.” Linnea Quigley is back on the list with another amazing and sexy performance as Trash. The graveyard dance scene has wasted many a Kleenex in my home. Pretty much everyone is great. Bert and Ernie are hilarious and Tar Man has become a household name. Now lets get on to the soundtrack. Wow. The Cramps, 45 Grave, T.S.O.L, The Damned, and my personal favorite Roky Erickson. Oh, and SSQ who provide the dance music for Trash as well as “Tonight(We’ll Make Love Until We Die)” which has become a must play at every party I throw. This is easily one of my most listened to soundtracks and rules from start to finish. “Return of the Living Dead” is a near perfect film in every way. It is a perfect horror film. It is a perfect horror comedy. It is a perfect Punxsploitation film and that is why it threw me in the pit and said “Fuck you, I am number one.”
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