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Parents: Vestron Video Collector’s Series (1989) - Blu-ray Review

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Parents (1989) - Blu-ray Review

4 beersFrom the brassy swing of the Perez Prado mambo to the hot pink splash of the movie’s title against the front of an Oldsmobile, the opening to director Bob Balaban’s Parents suggests this horror film is not like the others.  Parents, with its witty dialogue, its critical lens, and its absurd characters operates more as social commentary than anything else.  And that’s damn fineo in my book.

Of course, this is a horror film and, as truly great horror does, it speaks to many things true about who we are; creatures of habit and all that.  The sheer lunacy of the film though is ALWAYS played straight and serves up a nice batch of horror in a cookie cutter community of white fences and closely mowed lawns.  

Dusting it off for its debut on blu-ray, Vestron Video Collector's Series continues their classic horror rollout of their older titles.  Parents is arguably a surprise with its cannibalistic chomp being a bit too extreme for some tastes.  It is; however, a welcomed and highly recommended release that truly belongs in any Horror Hound’s bone collection.  Simply put, black comedy - especially when routed through horror - rarely come out of the oven looking this good.

Starring Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hart as the leftover serving adults, Nick and Lily, in their imaginative son’s world, Christopher Hawthorne.’s screenplay is as sharp as a Messermeister knife and easily slices and dices its way through 1950s suburbia.  No moment is wasted as the young Laemie boy, Michael (played by Bryan Madorsky), discovers a truly disturbing secret about the meals his parents are serving him. 

With just the right about of sass and camera flair (thanks to the fine work of Ernest Day and Robin Vidgeon), this horror/comedy is successful on many levels.  The satire is biting and on point.  We get fabulous close-ups of meat on dinner plates, meat on the grill, raw meat being prepared and meat not being eaten.  The question about why all the fuss over some of the shots – as some are quite effective – are answered when we walk out the front door and follow him into the school, where Michael befriends a girl from the moon; the availability of affordable homes and all the newfangled products in those homes just beg for ridicule

Why won’t Michael eat his supper?  What’s wrong with him?  Questions we all ask while revisiting this classic feast.  The answers, while possibly expected, are still eye-opening as they drill into the heart of adolescence and the distance kids face while living with these weirdoes they call parents... 

Hurt provides the playful heart in the story – even if it is slightly demented.  And Quaid as the typical father turns stern commands into the very real fear of one hundred spooky nights.  Parents is, from the start, a demented walk through America’s recent past.

Eat up!  Horror just found itself a new flavor.

Parents (1989) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
81 mins
: Bob Balaban
Christopher Hawthorne
Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Sandy Dennis
: Horror | Comedy
There's A New Name For Terror...
Memorable Movie Quote: "I've been watching you, Michael. You're an outsider, you're not like them. You're like us."
Theatrical Distributor:
Vestron Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 27, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 31, 2017
Synopsis: A young boy living in 1950s suburbia suspects his parents are cannibalistic murderers.

Parents (1989) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vestron Video Collector's Series | Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray
- January 31, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Offered courtesy of Lionsgate Films and its new handling of the Vestron Video imprint in 1.85:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors in the set designs of the 1950s local.  The details in the rooms and the clothing and some of period piece furniture items are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer.  The atmosphere – especially from Michael’s point of view – is especially nice. The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected. Some stuff from the same era hasn’t made the HD transition quite as well, but Parents looks better than it ever did. Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. The sound – offered here in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track - is strong with a nice punch to some of the mambo songs.



  • Bob Balaban and producer Bonnie Palef provide the film’s solid and interesting commentary.

Special Features:

Blu-ray is supplies with a meaty combination of supplemental items.  There are new interviews with screenwriter Christopher Hawthorne, director of photography Robin Vidgeon, actress Mary Beth Hurt and Yolando Cuomo, the decorative consultant.  There’s also an isolated score track containing an interview with composer Jonathan Elias.  Radio spots, a theatrical trailer, and a still gallery round out the collection.  This comes highly recommended.

  • Leftovers to Be with Screenwriter Christopher Hawthorne (17 min)
  • Mother's Day with Actress Mary Beth Hurt (14 min)
  • Inside Out: An Interview with Director of Photography Robin Vidgeon (14 min)
  • Vintage Tastes with Decorative Consultant Yolanda Cuomo (9 min)
  • Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Jonathan Elias
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery\

Parents (1989) - Blu-ray Review


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