Kids of the Black Hole

Double Feature: Over the Edge & River's Edge

Over the Edge
Jonathan Kaplan, US, 1979, 35mm, 95 min.

To the kids of New Granada their planned housing community feels more like a penal colony. Fed up with the boredom and isolation of their sterile suburban wasteland, Carl, Richie (a young Matt Dillon) and their friends embark on a lawless rampage that involves drugs, guns, vandalism and burglary. As the parents lose control and the local law enforcement becomes increasingly repressive, events escalate toward an explosive climax. Unlike other teen rebellion films of this era where teens were often portrayed by adult actors, Over the Edge stars a cast of real-life teens, giving the gritty story an added level of veracity. With a soundtrack that features The Ramones, Cheap Trick and Van Halen, Over the Edge has obtained cult status and has often been cited as one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite films.

Print courtesy of the Tim Hunter Collection at the Academy Film Archive

Followed by:

River’s Edge
Tim Hunter, US, 1986, 35mm, 98 min.

Tim Hunter, writer of Over the Edge, depicts another group of troubled teenagers flirting with disaster, this time involving the murder of one of their own by another acquaintance. Allegiances are tested and paranoia abounds when John (Daniel Roebuck) is discovered to have killed his girlfriend Jamie. John’s lack of remorse and his friends’ bungling attempts to help him conceal the crime offer a disturbing portrait of disaffected youth and their dysfunctional families. Acting as mentor to John and his group is Feck (Dennis Hopper), a reclusive ex-biker and drug dealer who serves to only exacerbate the tragic events that have ensnared the teens. Starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves and Ione Skye, River’s Edge is among the darkest visions of adolescence committed to celluloid.

About Kids of the Black Hole 
Teen rebellion has always been a favorite topic of movies, from James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause to the hippie delinquents in Riot on the Sunset Strip. By the late 1970s, with the counterculture baby-boomer generation moving comfortably into adulthood, a new crop of angry youngsters was taking the stage. Fueled by punk rock and heavy metal, these kids emerged from their subterranean, black light poster-covered bedrooms to cause real damage. With shaved heads, dyed hair, torn jeans and a penchant for spiked jewelry, these wayward youth succumbed to the paranoia and depression of Cold War-era America led by Ronald Reagan. The five films in this series offer a glimpse of every parent’s nightmare – pure anarchy with none of the sentimental charm of John Hughes or the hopefulness of John Cusack comedies. Watch your back because “a kid who tells on another kid is a dead kid.”