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The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)

Documentary showcase, what life was like for the music artists living during the Los Angeles Heavy Metal scene in the mid and late 1980s.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Dall ...
Himself (Poison bassist)
Himself (Poison vocalist)
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Joey Scott Harges ...
Gene Allen ...
Mychal Davis ...
J. Holmes ...
Mark Michals ...


Documentary showcase, what life was like for the music artists living during the Los Angeles Heavy Metal scene in the mid and late 1980s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's more than music...it's a way of life.


Documentary | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 August 1989 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

O Declínio da Civilização do Ocidente - Os Anos do Metal  »

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)


$373,743 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


In a 1999 interview, director Penelope Spheeris confessed that Ozzy Osbourne's orange juice pouring scene was faked, as some viewers suspected. The particular scene of the orange juice missing the glass was filmed at a different time and inserted into the clip. See more »


On the Blu-ray Disc menus, under commentary, Nadir D'Priest (singer from London) is incorrectly referred to as "THE Nadir D'Priest." See more »


Lemmy: It's fast and it's aggressive and it's rebellious and their parents hate it, which has always been the mark of good rock and roll. If your parents don't like it, it's good.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Chuck Behler's last name is misspelled as "Beehler" in the end credits. This is not corrected on the DVD/Blu-ray. See more »


References Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) See more »


Bathroom Wall
Written by Taime Downe
Performed by Faster Pussycat
Recorded live on October 13, 1987 at The Cathouse, Holywood, CA
Gypsy Fetish Music
Recorded by TIM PINCH
Produced by RIC BROWDE
Engineered by Tim Bomba
FASTER PUSSYCAT appears Courtesy of ELEKTRA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Decent, but incomplete, documentary
16 January 2006 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

Obviously with a screen name like "MetalGeek," I was bound to get around to reviewing this movie sooner or later. :)THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION II: THE METAL YEARS (1988) is an fascinating, occasionally hilarious study of the "Glam Metal" scene that was raging in Los Angeles during the late 1980s. If you lived through this period (like I did) and loved the music, then you will find much to enjoy here, from the live performances by L.A. staples Lizzy Borden and young (at the time) hopefuls Odin and Seduce, to the words of wisdom from hard rock royalty like Gene (Kiss) Simmons, Lemmy of Motorhead, and Ozzy Osbourne. The scenes of bikini contests at L.A.'s infamous Gazzari's night club will also provide necessary eye candy. :) The reason I call this an "incomplete" documentary is that for the most part it mainly focuses on the "hair metal" scene and many of the participants are unknown rockers who (righfully) remained unknown after this movie was released. There is no exploration of the history of the genre, nor is there any talk about some of the other trends in metal (thrash, crossover, death metal) that were also making noise in the scene around this same period of time. In addition, many of the younger band members interviewed here come off as delusional, chortling, sex-crazed dorks who are sure that HUGE success is right around the corner for them. Looking at this movie nearly 20 years later you wonder how many of them wound up asking "Would you like fries with that, sir?" when the grunge movement came along in the early '90s and wiped hair metal off of the musical map. In addition to the unintentionally hilarious interviews with the many band members and assorted hangers-on, the film is worth seeing for two things: the absolutely harrowing scene featuring Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P., who floats in his swimming pool, drunk as a skunk, telling the world "I drink because I'm not happy," and the scenes featuring Megadeth in the studio working on the song "In My Darkest Hour." In their interview scenes, Megadeth seem to be the most "together" and lucid band in the entire film, which is kind of ironic now because that short-lived Megadeth lineup eventually dissolved due to massive drug use. In short, headbangers and hair metallers will love the trip down memory lane that this movie provides, but those looking for a documentary about metal that looks beyond the hairspray may be disappointed. I don't believe the film has been released on DVD (probably too many hassles with music publishing rights) but if you can find it on VHS in an out of the way video store it's well worth your while.

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