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Parents - Vestron Print E-mail
User Rating: / 6
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 17 January 2013

Parents Poster on Severed Cinema

AKA: Hús a húsból, Morgue ao Domicílio, O Que Há Para Jantar?, Pfui Teufel! - Daddy ist ein Kannibale, Pranzo misterioso

Directed by: Bob Balaban
Written by: Christopher Hawthorne
Produced by: Bonnie Palef, Mitchell Cannold
Cinematography by: Ernest Day
Editing by: Bill Pankow
Music by: Jonathon Elias
Special Effects by: Derek Howard, Jordan Edell
Cast: Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Bryan Madorsky, Sandy Dennis
Year: 1989
Country: Canada/USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 21min

Distributor: Vestron

It's easy to say the late eighties were drying up horror-wise as more MTV style visuals and sequels from hell made big money.  I suppose it was the big success stories of the Elm Streets, Friday the 13ths, etc.  Originality and grittiness was hard to find.  Yet, the dark nineties were only on the horizon to make us cry ("Arachnophobia," Chucky took off, "Silence Of The Lambs" though more of a thriller was hailed as a classic horror film because we were all so desperate for a big saviour.... "Bram Stoker's Dracula" anyone?  Yes I'm bitter.)  There were a few little shockers such as "Slaughterhouse," "The Dead Pit," "Santa Sangre" and "The Cook, The Thief, The Wife and Her Lover."  Unfortunately they were swallowed by Halloweens and, yes tons of Freddys and Jasons.  We all cheered over Brian Yuzna's "Society" even though the real joy was really in the last quarter of a fairly boring film.  Still, for every major studio "Fatal Attraction" or "Poltergeist 3," we had "Hellraiser" and "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer."  It's easy to look back and think that the quality dried up around that time but it's easy to forget the particular gems that were around and made it to a legion of hungry horror fans.

The opening minutes of this late 80’s classic, "Parents," are sheer apple pie family perfection, with a jolly tune as the Laemle family move into a perfect little town complete with BBQs, baking, and skipping kids; the whole nine yards.  To add to the quaint feel, the movie is set in the 1950’s.

Mum and Dad are very happy, very very happy, but what you notice about their son, Michael, is that he doesn’t talk and looks quite nervous of even his parent’s most loving gestures.  Saying that, the father (Randy Quaid) has an unusual way of cheering his son up when scared of the dark -- “Everywhere’s dark at night,” and then explains how the worst darkness is in the head.  A rather touching moment.  For some reason Michael has a lot of bad dreams.

The first day at his new school, he tells the class about boiling a cat and skinning it in great detail, and also befriends a girl who claims she’s from the moon… bless her.  He wants to stay at her house immediately.  Another thing worth noting is that he refuses to eat meat or any food for that matter, but his parents smile all the same. When asked to draw his family in school, he adds a lot of crayon blood to the pic.  Mrs. Laemle (Mary Beth Hart) when discussing the picture ignores the school psychiatrist; she just smiles a lot and gives out shallow answers.

One morning whilst dad cooks sausages we suddenly have a glimpse of what’s inside them -- it doesn’t look like pork or beef, or even Linda Mccartney’s veggie filler.  The school psychiatrist interviews Michael about his artwork, and shows him a drawing of an average mum and dad in the bedroom pulling back the bed sheets: “What are they looking at?”  Michael shakes visibly, “I’m scared.”  Dad works at Toxico, combining chemicals and human test subjects; why, we don’t know, but it makes for good viewing.  As does a surreal sequence of Michael being attacked by long fresh sausages that snake around him as he stands in a cupboard for no reason whatsoever.

Michael and Sheila (the moon girl) are caught by dad messing about in the freezer -- a place he’s strictly never meant to go, and dad gives him a really creepy long speech about, well, see for yourself.  “How do you know what your daddy does every day?” asks Sheila.  So, Michael sneaks into Toxico and into ‘The Division of Human Testing’, and sees daddy at work with tables of corpse-like test subjects as he stands there cutting pieces from them.  Later he drives home with bags of ‘laundry’ in the back of his car.  Michael’s suspicions are confirmed one night when he finds a severed leg hanging in the cellar.  The psychiatrist grills him; he’s scared to tell, so returns home with Michael… then the fun begins.

Directed by Bob Balaban, "Parents" allows the characters to grow steadily and we get little clues to what’s to come.  It doesn’t use needless violence or gore to get the point across, though when it happens it packs a nice punch.  The cast are spot on, the kids play their parts well, but it’s Randy Quaid who shines; he is exceptional, as effective as Terry O’ Quinn in "The Stepfather."  My horror Soulmate said after she viewed this movie that she wanted to become a vegetarian -- this was back in March 2011, she was serious about it and never touched meat again (If you want to know it was the sausage fry up scene that did it).  A very effective film indeed.

There's a double DVD release courtesy of Lions Gate along with "Fear" and no extras, but it is in widescreen.  Geneon also put out a DVD which again has no extras.  I reviewed this off a large box VHS.  Whilst surfing Ebay I found a 6-pack release along with "Fido," "Blood Diner" and others, but that looked like a cheap 'avoid' purchase.

For such an entertaining and chilling film it deserves another shot from one of the big boy labels.  It compares to "The Stepfather," like I said, but has a more fuller rounded idea sizzling under its grill and doesn't disappoint.


CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGEVestron Pictures title card on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

Parents screenshot on Severed Cinema

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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