“Out of Bounds”: Siouxsie & the Banshees’ memorable cameo in a mostly forgotten 1986 action-thriller

By on July 14, 2016

In this archived episode of “Night Flight” which originally aired on August 2, 1986, Pat Prescott previews Richard Tuggle’s mostly forgotten Out of Bounds, one of a handful of films she collectively refers to as this summer’s sci-fi blockbusters although truthfully the film isn’t really sci-fi at all — it’s really more of an action-thriller and memorable mainly for its cameo appearance by Siouxsie and the Banshees, who mime along to their hit song “Cities in Dust” in a real downtown L.A. underground club called the Dirtbox. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.


This action-packed thriller — released thirty years ago this month — follows the story of a cornfed farmboy teenager named Daryl Cage (played by 17-year old Brat Pack-er Anthony Michael Hall), fresh off the boat from Iowa, who is sent out to live in L.A. by his folks, who hope that living with his brother means he’ll have a better life.

However, things take a quick turn for the weird when his brother ends up picking up the wrong bag for him at the baggage carousel at L.A.X., and instead of a duffle full of checkered flannel shirts Daryl’s suddenly got one filled with a million bucks worth of heroin.


Then, within hours of his arrival, his brother Tommy (Kevin McCorkle) and the brother’s live-in girlfriend are both brutally slain and the police, of course, suspect Daryl of committing the bloody crime (his fingerprints are the only ones they can identify, of course), which means he not only has to go on the run to dodge detectives and a crooked drug enforcement agent (Raymond J. Barry), but he also has to clear his name by tracking down a psycho drug kingpin Roy Gaddis (Jeff Kober), who wants his product back, of course, and that dude’s so mean he even suffocates a pet mouse to show us he means business.


Not knowing where to turn for help, Daryl ends up seeking out the the beautiful offbeat punk rock chick Darlene, who’s nicknamed “Dizz” (played by the lovely Jenny Wright) he met on his plane trip west. This waitress — who claims she starred in a b-movie called Psychosluts from Hell — ends up dragging Daryl “out of bounds” in the bizarre underground Hollywood leather-clad, spiky-haired punk rock club scene.


Somehow, of course, they even end up falling for eachother while they’re being chased by killers and cops and seeking revenge, but this is all too much for our farmboy hero, who even stops at one point to ask his punk rock girlfriend: ”What do you think this is, a video?”

Anthony Michael Hall was of course already well known for his memorable geeky teen roles in John Hughes’s Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, and later would be known for offbeat roles in movies like Weird Science and Edward Scissorhands, and was at the time in the cast of TV’s “Saturday Night Live”.

He’d landed the role as Daryl with the hope that he’d be able to avoid being typecast by showing he could also play tougher, gun-toting characters.


Jenny Wright had also made appearances in Brat Pack films like St. Elmo’s Fire (1984), and was afraid she was also going to end up being typecast, which is why she was also looking for edgier roles, and within a year would land a leading role in director Kathryn Bigelow’s cult fave vampire flick Near Dark (1987), the most memorable role of her career.

At the time she was appeariing in Out of Bounds, by the way, she was in a relationship with actor Nicolas Cage, and you’d have to ask the director, Richard Tuggle, or the screenwriter, Tony Kayden, if the last name of Hall’s character (also Cage) was just a coincidence, but here’s a clue: during a chase scene in an abandoned building, “Nic + Jenny” is seen spray painted on a wall.


Richard Tuggle had written the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood prison film Escape from Alcatraz (featuring Night Flight special contributor Larry Hankin!), and had directed Eastwood in Tightrope two years earlier, his first theatrical directing job, and he was obviously still trying to find his feet as a director.

Out of Bounds would end up being the first produced screenplay by Tony Kayden, who was mostly known for his work in television at the time, writing episodes for TV’s wholesome “Little House on the Prairie,”“The Waltons” and an ABC afterschool special, and a couple of network crime dramas too, “Baretta,” and “The Streets of San Francisco.”

Production on the $9-million budgeted film for Columbia Pictures began on December 9, 1985, starting off with two days of shooting in Bakersfield, California, which stood in for Iowa’s sprawling farms and cornfields, before the cast and crew moved on for the next ten weeks to locations in and around Los Angeles, including the infamous star-lined sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard, with its quirky mix of tourists and street people, and on Melrose Avenue, a weekend mecca for hip teens from all over the greater L.A. area, noted for its fashionable new-wave clothing boutiques.


Tuggle also felt that he should use actual existed L.A. clubs, and selected two of them for locations used during night shoots. During one of these scenes, filmed at the Stardust Ballroom, a popular dance hall dating back to the 1940s, Tuggle put Tommy Keene and his band right into the action, having a chase take place across the bandstand while the band are performing.

For the other rock clubs scene, Tuggle selected The Dirtbox (sometimes spelled as two words), a then-popular underground after-hours club that wasn’t actually a fixed location, as it moved from warehouse to warehouse the downtown L.A. area, at the whim of the club’s promoter, Solomon Mansoor, who announced the club’s new location to a small offbeat, new wave clientèle who loyally spread the news along by telephone (this was obviously pre-internet).


The locations would usually end up being in a warehouse located somewhere between Seventh and Fourth Street, near Mateo, not far from L.A. Artcore and LACE and Al’s Bar, a popular downtown bar where some of the best bands in L.A. played on a regular basis (the same year that Out of Bounds was released to theaters, Mansoor would end up being busted for selling alcohol without a license).

Tuggle had sent Siouxsie and the Banshees the script and asked them to appear in the film, and the band agreed, having seen Tuggle’s Tightrope on their 1985 British tour and enjoying it.


The band arrived in L.A. on January 23, 1986, to shoot their scene, and that same day, drummer Budgie and guitarist John Carruthers nearly avoided disaster while shopping on Sunset Boulevard, where they’d gone to visit guitar shops in search of a Gretsch White Falcon guitar which Carruthers had wanted to use in the film. While there, they managed to walk straight into a street fight, and Carruthers ran away from the fracas and ended up in the street and then splayed across the hood of a car that had slammed on its brakes to avoid hitting him.


Filming took place over the course of a long day, and the band were happy to have their own trailer — which was divided into four individual rooms for each of them — where they hung out together when they weren’t miming to “Cities in Dust,” the one song they’d be “performing” live in the underground club. The song had been the first single released (in October ’85) from their seventh studio album, Tinderbox, which was also their first for the U.S.-based Geffen label.

“Cities in Dust” — written by Siouxie (real name: Susan Ballion), Peter Edward Clarke and Steven Severin — describes the destruction of the city of Pompeii, which — along with the city of Herculaneum — was decimated by a volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D.

The single would peak at #21 in the UK singles chart, and also become the band’s first song to chart on the U.S. Hot Dance Club play charts, climbing to #17.


On March 2, 1986, the L.A. Times‘ Patrick Goldstein would profile some of the real-life punk underground kids who would be appearing as extras in the film, which was released into theaters in July 1986. It’s a pretty fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the film during its production: “Down and Underground in Hollywood“.

A few weeks later, Siouxsie would talk about their cameo appearance in the pages of the UK’s Record Mirror (March 15):

“There weren’t really any stars in it, just a lot of young people, superbrats. It came across as a kind of Repo Man. The director did Tightrope, I really liked the tension in that. I just thought it’d be a good thing to see what it was all about appearing in films and not feeling repulsed about doing it, because we’ve been offered a lot and they always want to make us more punkified. We actually got offered The Howling II, which on paper sounded perfect– [their album] Hyena was just out, but the script was like cliched Hammer horror. I got an offer to be a ghost in Mexico as well — I was quite up for it, it’s somewhere I’ve never been to and I’d go just to be there, but we had commitments here.”


“Cities in Dust” would also be included on the movie’s soundtrack, along with tracks by Adam Ant, Belinda Carlisle, The Smiths, The Cult, The Lords of the New Church, Sammy Hagar and Night Ranger, along with instrumental synth-based soundtrack music composed by Stewart Copeland of The Police.


Watch this original “Night Flight” episode which featured a half-hour presentation of one of our popular “Comedy Cuts” (number 5 if you’re keeping track), along with previews of Aliens (and an interviews we did with actors Michael Biehn and Paul Reiser), the Stephen King-penned Maximum Overdrive, Prince’s Under the Cherry Moon and much more! It’s all on Night Flight Plus.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.