Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bob Balaban|
|Produced by||Mitchell Cannold
|Written by||Christopher Hawthorne|
Mary Beth Hurt
|Music by||Jonathan Elias|
|Editing by||Bill Pankow|
|Studio||Great American Films Limited Partnership
|Distributed by||Vestron Pictures|
|Release dates||27 January 1989 (USA)|
|Running time||81 min.|
|Box office||$870,532 (USA)|
Parents is a 1989 American black comedy horror film directed by Bob Balaban and written by Christopher Hawthorne. It stars Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Sandy Dennis and Bryan Madorsky. The film is about a suburban boy in the 1950s who suspects his parents of cannibalism.
Although the film is primarily in the horror genre (it can also be categorized as surrealistic horror, and the film has sometimes been compared to the work of David Lynch), it features many comic moments, including the use of sitcom-like music in its soundtrack.
The production of the film spared no expense in creating each detail, reproducing accurately the modern style of the 1950s, right down to the clothing, wallpaper and carpeting.
Michael Laemle is a ten year old boy living in 1954 suburban Massachusetts. He has new friends at his school, a father with a great job at a chemical plant named Toxico, and a mother who is the perfect homemaker, both always smothering him with kindness. However, when he questions where the huge cuts of meat come from that his parents serve every night, his parents aren't so kind. They are short tempered, and refuse to answer his questions. He quickly begins to fear both of his parents when he begins to suspect his "perfect" family of keeping dark secrets from him. Why isn't he allowed in the basement? Michael knows his parents are engaging in cannibalism, and that he is in danger. Michael grows more hysterical and disturbed every time his parents try to feed him their "choice cuts". He confesses to the school counselor why he is afraid of his parents. She doesn't believe him, and if she doesn't, who will?
- Randy Quaid as Nick Laemle
- Mary Beth Hurt as Lily Laemle
- Sandy Dennis as Millie Dew
- Bryan Madorsky as Michael Laemle
- Juno Mills-Cockell as Sheila Zellner
- Kathryn Grody as Miss Baxter
- Deborah Rush as Mrs. Zellner
- Graham Jarvis as Mr. Zellner
- Helen Carscallen as Grandmother
- Warren Van Evera as Grandfather
- Wayne Robson as Lab Attendant
- Uriel Byfield as Little Boy
- Mariah Balaban as Little Girl
- Larry Palef as Announcer
Parents had an estimated budget of $3,000,000, according to the Internet Movie Database, but grossed only $870,532 in the United States. Since its initial box office failure, however, the film has developed a cult following on home video.
The film received a generally negative response from critics, with criticism mainly aimed at the film's tone. It currently holds a 45% 'rotten' rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on eleven reviews.
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.
- "Parents (1989) - Box office / business". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "Parents - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 August 2012.