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Rediscovered punk gem Savage Beliefs is the Midwest answer to Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Photo: Savage Beliefs / Facebook

Since the beginning of time, filmmakers have wanted to become musicians, and musicians filmmakers. From David Bowie to the Lt. Dan Band, creative types have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to transfer music magic to movies, and vice versa. Oft-overlooked Chicago punk rockers Savage Beliefs were no exception, and their foray into cinema, Savage Beliefs: The Movie, was completed in the fall of 1984 and has remained unreleased to this day. This Friday, the film will have its theatrical premiere—and only second screening, period—at Chicago’s Logan Theatre, along with a live set from the current line-up of the band.

Savage Beliefs: The Movie is not a music video collection, Super 16 footage of their first show, or even a film documenting the band’s final show at Chicago punk club Tut’s, which was rumored to be shot for HBO. Rather, it’s a narrative tale of a drug dealer who takes issue with Savage Beliefs’ lead singer, then proceeds to go on a murderous rampage. The band members play heightened versions of themselves in the film, which features footage shot at The West End (another Chicago punk club) with Naked Raygun as the opening band.

The feature was directed by Charles Fink and featured “first assistant camera work” from Columbia College graduate and Academy Award-winning Saving Private Ryan cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. The trailer feels like Alex Cox’s Straight To Hell done Chicago-style, or a roughie take on Rock ‘N’ Roll High School.


Savage Beliefs: The Movie premieres Friday, September 9 at the Logan Theatre. Tickets will be available at the door. No plans for a wider release of the movie have been announced as of yet.

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