Friday, 1 March 2013

Horror Review: The 'Burbs (1989)

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Ray Peterson takes a week off from work just to walk around in his pyjamas all day, read the newspaper and lay low. However, Ray Peterson have some very peculiar neighbours. In fact he has no normal neighbours, but one neighbour in particular is especially strange.

We've all had that one house on the street where weird things go on, you rarely see the inhabitants or it's just that creepy house that sends a chill up your spine whenever you go near it. With "The Burbs" we get an insight in-to what could be going on behind closed doors.


The centre piece of this film is the strange goings on in the Klopeks house. Writer of the script, Dana Olsen used his inspiration for the film from his own neighborhood that had a set of neighbors similar to the Klopeks, who were hardly seen and never took care of their lawn.

Director Joe Dante did an incredible job, which was honestly no surprise when you look at his other works such as "Gremlins", "Gremlins 2", "Piranha" and "The Howling". He knows what audiences want from the films he does and you can see he takes it into high consideration.


The casting of the film is fantastic with the likes of Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Henry Gibson, Courtney Gains, Dick Miller and more. Each cast member puts in a great performance that just lights up the film.

Now usually I'm not a fan of Tom Hanks' work but this film is an exception as he was perfect for his role as the suburban father and husband, plus the supporting cast around him help keep the film move along smoothly with their comedic and creepy moments.


"The 'Burbs" may well be more of a child's Horror but I don't care, it's thoroughly entertaining and it's a film I've never bored of. If you need a Horror fix but there's little ones around then this film is perfect for you.

If you want to see "The 'Burbs" trailer then just click on the video below:


Miscellaneous facts about the film:

When Ray and Art break into Walter's house, a picture of Walter and (Gale Gordon) Lucille Ball is on the table. Ball and Gordon co-starred in the 1948 radio show "My Favorite Husband" and TV's "The Lucy Show", "Here's Lucy", and "Life With Lucy".

The Klopeks named their Great Dane dog "Landru", after Henri Landru, a notorious French serial killer.

Early in the movie, when Cory Danziger is eating breakfast, a box of Gremlins cereal can be seen on the kitchen counter in the background. Director Joe Dante also directed Gremlins and Corey Feldman was in Gremlins.

In the Klopek basement there is a sled with the name Rosebud - a reference to Citizen Kane.

Prop master Mark Jameson was charged with making fake dog poop when the actors complained that they didn't want to step in the real thing. He made a mixture of canned dog food, bean dip, and other items. It was loaded into caulking tubes and squeezed out where needed.

The movies that Ray watches while lying down are "Race With The Devil", "The Exorcist", and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2".

Ricky's friend "Steve Kuntz" wears a Skull Skates shirt. Rick Ducommun and his brother Peter started Skull Skates in the late 1970's, as Great North Country Skateboards. The company is now the sole property of Peter.

Gale Gordon's final screen appearance.

At the very beginning of the movie, when the camera starts to pan down the street, a street sign appears, "Mayfield Place." Mayfield was the town where the Cleavers lived in "Leave It to Beaver". The movie was filmed on the same lot.

The street was shot on location in the Universal Backlot. It's been used in many films and TV shows, including Desperate Housewives. Some of the buildings have changed over time, but Walter's house is the only building on the lot that hasn't changed at all.

Before all the neighbors go over to the Klopek's house for a friendly chat, Carrie Fisher says "Before someone falls off a roof or sets themselves on fire..." Both indeed happen later after this scene; Rumsfield falls off his roof, and Ray sets himself on fire.

There is one family at the end of the street who are never seen - the occupants of the house between Walter and Rumsfield. Their last name is Finnell, a reference to producer Michael Finnell, which is seen on the side of their Chevrolet Astro Van as "Finnell Plumbing". They also have a Buick sedan and presumably are visible at the end of the movie near Walter's house after the explosion.

This is the only Universal film to include the Universal logo at the end of the film.

Ray is seen about 50 minutes in reading a book about demonology by Julian Karswell. Karswell is the villain in "Curse Of The Demon".

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