Trick or treat, smell my feet; give me something good to………watch?
Yes, it’s the fourth and final installment of “Horrorween” reviews from “The Bargain Bin”. Is this week’s selection going to be a trick? Or is this week’s pick going to be a treat? Well, it could very well be both, which seems to be the ongoing trend of Bargain Bin selections so why should anything change this week, right?
This week’s flick is another that, because of its offbeat and strangely intriguing subject matter, I just could not pass up. Okay, so it is not a Stephen King thriller nor a John Carpenter chiller, but let’s be honest, sometimes it’s nice to watch a horror movie that is a little bit unconventional compared to the rest. Without any further ado let’s get to this week’s selection 1989′s………………”Parents”!
Starring: Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt and Bryan Madorsky
Director: Bob Balaban
Writer: Christopher Hawthorne
Reviewed by: Joe Sikes
It’s the 1950′s and the Laemle family appears to be your normal, conventional, Leave it to Beaver-type family: Nick (Randy Quaid), the Dad, loves golfing and works hard to support his loving family, Lily (Mary Beth Hurt), the Mom, loves to cook and keep a clean home for her husband and the son Michael (Bryan Madorsky) is well, maybe a little strange, but what young boy, especially an only son, isn’t, right? Everything’s hunky-dory with the ole Laemle family…….or is it.
The Laemle’s have moved to a new town after Mr. Laemle received a raise for all of his hard work at Toxico, the chemical plant that employs him. For Michael another new town means having to make new friends and meeting new teachers at his new school, which is never easy. Michael has no problem making a friend when the other new kid, Sheila Zellner (London Juno) finds that Michael’s description to his classmates and teacher of how to skin and roast a cat, makes Michael oddly intriguing. Unfortunately, his teacher Miss Baxter (Kathryn Grody) finds this how-to description to be a bit of a red flag thus reporting this spectacle to the School Social Worker, Millie Dew (Sandy Dennis) who meets with Michael regularly and, just like Miss Baxter, finds Michael to be odd but likeable and just can’t seem to label him with a diagnosis.
Back home things are not getting any easier for Michael. Michael’s Dad finds him to be very strange as well and also finds Michael’s behavior very peculiar. Mom, like most Moms, loves her son unconditionally and refuses to let Dad intimidate her beloved son into being a more “acceptable” son. Nonetheless, both Mom and Dad can’t help but be concerned with Michael discovering the Laemle’s dirty little secret.
I have to be honest here, I found “Parents” thoroughly enjoyable, maybe not 3 Guys enjoyable but a good time and an oddly entertaining “Black Comedy”. Randy Quaid is great as the strange, over-powering paternal figure of the family and Mary Beth Hurt plays a very watchable loving, yet warped, Mom. I’m usually not a big fan of child actors in horror movies, maybe because it’s just been so overdone, but I found Bryan Madorsky as the son Michael to be convincingly odd yet likeable, just like the Social Worker did. “Parents” combination of lighthearted 50′s pop hits with good old fashioned gore is another aspect of the movie that makes this one worth viewing, much like the way 2000′s American Psycho did with 80′s hits, which makes you wonder if American Psycho may have stolen a page from this very original Black Comedy film. Definitely check this one out, especially if you’re into Black Comedies or just strange, oddball movies. I give this week’s final Horrorween pick from The Bin 2 Bloody Big Boppers. See you next week and have a very scary Halloween.