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Parents

By Bryan Reesman

In Parents, director Bob Balaban deconstructs our Father Knows Best perception of '50s suburbia, skewing it via moody cinematography and Angelo Badalamenti's sinister score. Ten-year-old Michael Lamele (Bryan Madorsky) thinks his parents (Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt) are cannibals. His constant fear of his folks and their supposedly evil doings begin to warp his view of the world, and he starts seeing a social worker to confront his problems. Are they merely childhood fears intensified by an overactive imagination, or do Michael's parents really crave human flesh? Much in the way that David Lynch approached the sinister underside of small-town America in Wild at Heart, so too does Balaban challenge our notion of the 'burbs as an escape from the harsh reality of the city. If anything, Michael's parents show their true colors once they become wrapped up in the materialistic, socially predatory world of suburban life. Vastly underappreciated, Balaban's Parents is one of those rare modern horror films that uses psychology to freak you out rather than tossing buckets of blood at you (although there are a few in the film, given its theme). This is one horror film that stands up, and deserves repeated viewings.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Bob Balaban

Stars: Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt

Released: January 27, 1989

Availability: DVD VHS


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