As promised, I watched The 'Burbs today for my 450th post. You may be asking why The 'Burbs? It isn't a horror movie. I know that this is mostly a comedy, but it does draw from the horror genre a little bit. It isn't a scary film at all, but it can be a little creepy at times. Since it is one of my all time favorite films, I figured why the hell not? After the first set of football games was played, I sat down with this movie, and watched it yet again. I have watched this film more times than I care to admit, but it has been a couple of years since I last watched it. If nothing else, doing a review of this film gave me an excuse to watch it again. I have it on VHS somewhere at home, but I decided to get the DVD from Netflix so I could check out any possible extras on the disk.
The plot for The 'Burbs is pretty simple really. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is taking week long vacation from work. He has decided that he will sit around the house, take in a ball game, and drink a couple hundred beers. He enjoys watching the neighbors do their things as well, like Walter's (Gale Gordon) dog taking a poop on Rumsfield's (Bruce Dern) lawn. About a month ago, Ray got new neighbors, the Klopeks. No one on the block has met any of the Klopeks though. No one has seen them coming or going. No one shows up at their house either. All they know is that strange noises come from the Klopek's house. Pretty soon Ray, and the rest of the neighbors, begin to get some crazy thoughts in their heads about the Klopeks. Like maybe they are killing people over there. When Walter disappears, Ray and the others start to look into this theory.
If I remember correctly, I first discovered The 'Burbs on some movie channel. From there I went out and bought the VHS of it, so I could watch it more often. My obsession with this film firmly started once I had the VHS. This is a movie that I would put in when it was time for me to go to bed. I would get ready for bed, put the movie in, turn the lights off, and watch this movie. Sometimes I would fall asleep before it finished, and I didn't feel too bad about this, since I knew it would stop and rewind itself once it reached its end. Once in a while I would fall asleep before it really got going, but most of the time I would watch it completely. I have no idea how long I did this for. So to say that I know this film forward and backwards, even today, is an understatement. I'm not really sure how I broke away from watching The 'Burbs. I know that for a while, Dumb And Dumber took over as my obsession movie, but not for as long a period as The 'Burbs did.
The 'Burbs came along just as I was starting to like watching horror movies, but was still kind of leery about them. The 'Burbs wasn't scary to me then, but it was just creepy enough for me to feel that, while still laughing at the jokes. There are no real special effects, outside of what Tom Hanks looks like after being blown up. Well not literally, but I'm sure you understand what I mean if you have watched the movie. What really sold me on this movie though is the cast. Tom Hanks is great. Carrie Fisher, to my delightful surprise, played his wife. Bruce Dern is one of the neighbors, the military guy. Wendy Schaal plays his wife. Rick Ducommun was an unknown to me, but I understand he is very good at stand up comedy. Rick plays Art, who happens to work for the phone company, and is always getting Ray in trouble with Carol (Fisher). Art is married, but we never really get to meet his wife. Corey Feldman rounds out the neighbors. The Klopeks are played by Henry Gibson, Brother Theodore, and Courtney Gains. Dick Miller and Robert Picardo make cameo appearances as garbage men. To round out the main cast, we have Cory Danziger, who plays the Peterson's son.
What helps the cast, in a big way, is the script. The 'Burbs isn't what I would call a rolling around laughing movie. But it does have its moments where you will find yourself laughing out loud. I still laugh at some of the scenes, or some of the things that are said. For the most part though, I just grin wide and chuckle a little at all kinds of things. The attention to detail is another thing that I like about this movie. For example, in a dream sequence, Ray sees Walter with an ax in his head. Walter is holding his dog, which has a much smaller ax in its own head. Little things like that are what makes me love this film so much. A lot of the things that are said in this movie, are things that I can still remember. Sometimes I still throw a quote out, mostly just to see if people know what I am talking about. Very few actually do.
If you have yet to watch The 'Burbs, you need to do so. I know this is a horror blog, and this isn't a horror movie. But it does use horror as a back drop. A few horror movies are shown on TV that Ray is watching at one point. I can now name all of the films that are shown in that scene. It was nice to be able to watch this film on DVD. There aren't a lot of extras to be found, but there is an alternate ending. I didn't like it as well as the ending we always see in the film, but it was great to see something new from the film. The trailer is also included, and I noticed a couple of scenes that were new, or slightly different than what is found in the film itself. Trust me, I have watched the film enough to spot something new in the trailer. It has been great to watch The 'Burbs once again, and talk about it here. I have stopped watching films in an obsessive way a few years ago, before I started this blog actually. Don't worry, I won't start watching it every night again, but I think I will spend a little more time with it than I have been over the last couple of years.
6 days ago