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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  Parents (1989) « previous next »
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Author Topic: Parents (1989)  (Read 573 times)
akiratubo
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« on: March 31, 2011, 11:27:13 PM »

This is, bar none, one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.  The best thing about it is, I honestly can't tell you why it scared me so much.  All the way through it, no matter how non-threatening the images and events on screen might have been, I was scared.  The entire movie is permeated with a sense of unease and dread, even when something as innocent as a backyard barbecue is all that's on screen.  I honestly can't figure out the trick, but director Bob Balaban (more well known as an actor specializing in "annoying little guy" roles) should have been catapulted to horror movie maestro status for his work on this film.  Randy Quaid also deserves a great deal of credit for delivering one of the most frightening performances ever put on screen.  The way he looks is scary, the way he talks is scary, the way he cooks eggs is scary, even the way he plays cards is scary!

The movie centers around a little boy who has quite the fear of meat.  He can't even stand to look at the stuff.  Unfortunately for him, his parents are hard-core meat eaters.  They put meat into literally everything.  The boy's fear of meat causes him to skip a lot of meals.  He also can't sleep because he has nightmares about meat and blood.  Eventually, the boy gets it into his head that his parents are cannibals.  Are they, or are his malnutrition and chronic sleep deprivation making him crazy?

I've said plenty of times that I can't stand movies that are all in a character's mind.  There are exceptions.  It can work if the movie makes it explicit from the very beginning that nothing that happens is "real".  Another way it can work is if the movie makes it highly ambiguous.  Parents actually toes a fine line between those two approaches.  Right from the start, you know there's something not quite right about the boy, so anyone well-versed in horror movies will be expecting the "all in his mind" card to be played.  However, there really is ample evidence that Dad is bringing home cadavers from work and Mom is butchering them in the basement.  You could make a strong case for either interpretation of the movie being correct.

Parents isn't perfect.  The boy's best friend is built up to be very important, then drops out of sight with her storyline unresolved.  The father's place of work is named "Toxico", which is an out-of-place bit of self-aware satire in a movie that is otherwise so deadly serious you feel like you've been punched in the gut when it's over.  However, these are fairly minor faults in the face of overall excellence.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 11:48:08 PM by akiratubo » Logged

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indianasmith
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 06:41:03 AM »

I remember this one!

It creeped me out too.
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Flick James
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 09:59:14 AM »

I like your review!

Not a perfect movie, but it's damn good in my opinion, as well as creepy and quirky and unusual. I've brought up the film a couple of times since I've been a member, and it seems largely unrecognized, which surprises me all the more having been here a while and gotten to know the general tastes of the board. I definitely recommend it.
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Mofo Rising
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011, 02:19:53 AM »

It's funny, because this movie was number one on my "worst movies I have ever seen" when I was a kid. I remember seeing the posters in video stores, and when I actually watched the movie I was fairly scarred.

Years later I actually stole the VHS copy from a video store I was working at. This prompted a coworker to note that I am the only person he knows who would actually steal a movie because he hated it.

I still have that copy. I should sit down and watch it.

Bob Balaban directed this? Definitely deserves a second look.

If you are interested, the "worst movie I have ever seen" has been supplaced by "Slapstick (Of Another Kind)." Truly nightmarish stuff.
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Doggett
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2011, 09:35:01 AM »

I didn't find it scary, but almost funny in a toungue-in-cheek kind of way.

It was like watching an extened episode of 'Tales from the Crypt'.
I'd recommend ths film too but it sin't availiable in region 2 yet.

Hmmm....
I think I might watch it later.
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voltron
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 02:36:18 PM »

I loved this one when it first came out. Would like to see it again!  Thumbup
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zombie #1
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2011, 02:54:42 PM »

big fan of this film  Thumbup I haven't seen it for years, but I remember it really well.

the recreation of the 'innocent' 1950s offset by a seedy, dark underbelly is really well done. there are some memorable scenes - some frightening , some funny, and even some that are funny and frightening at the same time.

the guy who played the kid never did any other films. I think he's an artist now...good performance though. I will have to hunt this down and watch it again
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Flick James
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 04:07:04 PM »

Great soundtrack as well.
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