Thursday, March 20, 2008

Video Flashback: Over The Edge, 1979

Sometimes disguised as an after school morality play and other times as a late-night horror flick, Over The Edge was mainly discovered on HBO by a Fast Times-loving audience in the early-80s. A gritty film based on actual accounts of kids terrorizing a planned suburban California community, few theaters ran the film in 1979 for fear of copycat teen violence. Directed by Jonathan Kaplan, Over The Edge was shot in Colorado in1978 with a large cast of young teens (without their parents) including Matt Dillon in his first role prior to his S.E. Hinton character days.

Decades before satellite television, Internet and iPods, the film depicts bored teens defying authority figures, drinking & drugging and listening to vinyl records through giant headphones. This highly influential movie left an indelible pop culture mark on kids everywhere including Kurt Cobain, who related to character Claude Zachary and with the seemingly endless days of teenage monotony.

Sometimes a film is only as good as it’s soundtrack and this one is superb. Over The Edge plays like a classic hard rock musical yearbook signed by Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Ramones, Jimi Hendrix, and The Cars. Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me” perfectly captures the urgent excitement entering a suburban house party, while Valerie Carter’s soaring vocals on “Ooh Child” during the euphoric finale are powerfully cathartic. This film rocks.

Legacy: “A kid that tells on another kid is a dead kid.”

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