Parents (film)

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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.


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?



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]