Parents (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bob Balaban
Produced by Mitchell Cannold
Bonnie Palef
Steven Reuther
Written by Christopher Hawthorne
Starring Randy Quaid
Mary Beth Hurt
Sandy Dennis
Bryan Madorsky
Music by Jonathan Elias
Edited by Bill Pankow
Great American Films Limited Partnership
Vestron Pictures
Distributed by Vestron Pictures
Release date(s) 27 January 1989 (USA)
Running time 81 min.
Country Canada
United States
Language English
Budget $3,000,000
Box office $870,532 (USA)

Parents is a 1989 American black comedy horror film directed by Bob Balaban and written by Christopher Hawthorne.[1] It stars Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Sandy Dennis and Bryan Madorsky.


Ten Year old Michael Laemle (Bryan Madorsky) and his parents Nick and Lily (Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt) move to a new neighborhood in 1954 suburbia Massachusetts.
He is socially awkward with an overly active imagination. He has trouble making friends at school.
At night he has weird dreams. One of which is of him hopping into his bed only to have it collapse into a pool of blood.
One evening, he walks in on his parents making love, but thinks he is seeing them take bites out of each other.
One afternoon, he sneaks into where his dad works as a mortician and sees him cutting into a corpse.
One day he wakes up and goes into the basement and sees a human leg hanging on a meathook but doesn't know if he's dreaming or not.
He is convinced his parents are cannibals. He tells his guidance counselor Millie Dew (Sandy Dennis) about it. She is trying to convince him that it's all in his head, so she goes with him to his house to look around.
They go into the basement and find a corpse. Michael runs up to his room and locks the door. Millie tries to leave the house but runs into his parents who kill her with a golf club.
Later that evening, they try to feed Michael some human remains but he fights back and stabs his father in the shoulder. His father tries to kill him and his mother tries to protect him and gets herself killed for her efforts. His father chases him around the house but due to his shoulder injury runs into a gas line and breaks it and then runs into a shelf of wine bottles and pulls it onto himself, presumably dying.
Between the ruptured gas line and some lit candles in the dining room, Michael barely has time to run out of the house before it blows up.
The last scene has him now living with his grandparents who are putting him to bed. While he sleeps, his grandfather leaves him a midnight snack consisting of a glass of milk and a suspicious looking sandwich, implying his parents cannibalism was learned behavior.



Parents was filmed in Ontario, Canada.


Parents had an estimated budget of $3,000,000, according to the Internet Movie Database, but grossed only $870,532 in the United States.[2] Since its initial box office failure, however, the film has developed a cult following on home video.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed to negative response from critics, with criticism mainly aimed at the film's tone.[3] It currently holds a 45% 'rotten' rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on eleven reviews.[3]

Home Media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on 25 May 1999 in its unmatted full screen format. The original DVD went out of print for a brief period of time before the film was re-released in the DVD format as a double feature with the film Fear, presented for the first time in widescreen since its original theatrical release.


  1. ^ James, Caryn (January 27, 1989). "Review/Film; Dubious Housekeeping In Balaban's 'Parents'". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Parents (1989) - Box office / business". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Parents - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 

External links[edit]