Parents - Parents( Blu Ray) [Lionsgate Entertainment - 2019]Parents is a late 1980ís horror comedy- thatís decidedly pitched black, satirical & at times fairly queasy. Itís set in 1950ís American suburbia, where a young boy is sure his parents are cannibals. The film features Randy Quaid & Mary Beth Hurt, as the boys parents- and itís an effective if relatively gore-less romp. As part of their Vestron Video series- here from Lionsgate Entertainment is a recent Blu Ray release of the film.
Parents appeared in 1989, and was directed by Chicago based actor & director Bob Balaban-who has directed twenty nine features, many of them TV movies, and has around 116 acting credits to his name taking in roles in the likes of Close Encounters Of the Third Kind, Catch -22 & Altered States, as well as a host of TV roles. With Parents he managers to recreate 1950ís suburbia in an often uneasy & queasy manner- with lots of low angled/ off angled shots, subtle but effective period detail & customs, moments of nightmarish surrealism, and a small but well-acted cast.
In the lead role of the young boy we have Bryan Madorsky playing Michael Laemle- he gives an effective portray of the seeming constant troubled & fearsome son. Randy Quaid performances as the family father Nick is well balanced between mockingly polite, decidedly creepy, and latter satisfying deranged. Mary Beth Hurt does a good job as the family mother Lilly- perfectly blending feeling of twee 1950ís niceness & slightly twitchy unease. The film unfolds nicely with a blend of interaction between the family- that slowly build in odd-ness & unhinge-ness, macabre surreal dream sequences, Michael visiting his psychiatrist, and later more subtle violent confrontations. Itís more about building strange-ness & un-wellness, and less about loads of gore effects & slaughter- leaving you wondering for much of the film's runtime if they are generally cannibals, or is it just a figment of young Michaels mind.
Extras on the disc take in a commentary track by Director Bob Balaban and Producer Bonnie Palef- this sees the pair discussing how they first got involved with the project, the films cast, the 1950ís set design, trying to source the right kind of meat, and more- itís an informative & chatty track, though there are moments when the pair do go silent for a while. Next, we get four stand-alone interviews- these each run between nine & sixteen minutes, and feature the film's screenwriter, actress Mary Beth Hurt, the director of photograph & the films decorative consultant. Lastly, we get isolated score snippets and an interview with films composer Jonathan Elias.
Parents is certainly not your standard run-of-the-mill 80's horror comedy- it's way more unbalancing, darkly subtle & slyly arty in it's unfolding. Once again Lionsgate have done a great job on this release- here's looking forward to some more titles from Vestron vault!.Roger Batty