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Review: The 'Burbs

By Andreas Charalambous - 14th September 2014

It’s not long before Ray and his neighbours Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun) and military man Lt. Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) begin developing a paranoid obsession that there is something more sinister to their new neighbours than meets the eye. All sorts of chaos ensues as these three – ultimately, kind-hearted members - of the close-knit community try to expose the outsiders, the Klopeks.


Hanks, Ducommun and Dern are excellent as the crazy nosey neighbours. It’s interesting to note that although Hanks is the star of the film – and at this point, had not become the Hollywood star that he had since become – he does not dominate the performances of the rest of the cast. Corey Feldman also makes an appearance amongst the impressive list of cast, as the neighbourhood teenage waster, who serves as a member of the audience, commentating of events within the film’s narrative itself.


As Ray becomes ever more chastised by his long-suffering wife Carol (Carrie Fisher), you wonder if this paranoid lunacy is worth risking his perfect marriage and existence in idyllic suburbia. However, it is only once his frustrated wife packs up and leaves with their son for the weekend, that the lunacy goes up a few notches, leading to a final showdown between the strange outsiders and the three men who have taken on the responsibility of protecting their neighbourhood.


The special features of this Arrow Video release, are as impressive as we’ve now come to expect. A new commentary featuring writer Dana Olsen and a new documentary featuring the cast discussing their memories of the production, are impressive enough. However, fans of the film will be delighted to see that included here, is the workprint version that shows Dante’s original vision for The ‘Burbs – showing us what never made it into the final cut. A must-see.


Genre fans do not need to read this review to know how good this film is, but what I hope to make clear here is how Arrow Video has given this release the love and respect that it justifiably deserves. The workprint version of the film is justification enough to make this a definite purchase, but the Arrow ‘touch’ yet again excels in providing film geeks with all they need for one of the greatest films of the 80s, all on one nice shiny disc.


The ‘Burbs is available to buy now on UK Blu Ray.

With films such as Gremlins, The Howling, Piranha, Inner Space, Small Soldiers and a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie (among many others) to his name, Joe Dante is a director that knows how to take a comedy  scenario and give it a dark, even horrifying twist.


The ‘Burbs – starring Hollywood heavyweight Tom Hanks – is yet another example that is hailed as a cult classic amongst genre fans, and the subject of a brand new release from ever-impressive Arrow Video.


Hanks plays Ray Peterson, a family man living the quiet life in American suburbia. That is until a strange and eccentric family – the Klopeks – move in next door.

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