Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Parents" - Vestron Video of the Week


Right now, I can't think of a more timely film than Parents. Not because of its startling social commentary (it really doesn't have any), but because Randy Quaid is clearly a certifiable nutjob. Plus, it's almost Christmas time and Randy Quaid was in new Christmas classic "Christmas Vacation". And it's about parents trying to force their kid into eating copious amounts of meat, which is also very Christmas-y. Okay, so it's not so timely. But damn if there aren't enough decent reasons to talk about this forgotten flick.


Like a lot of Vestron video releases (3 out of the 4 I've reviewed so far fit into this category), this one is out of print and unavailable on DVD, Blu-Ray, what have you. However, if you wanna see this it is streaming on Hulu and on Youtube. Check it:

Now, I don't want to get into spoiler territory, since there are probably a ton of people who've never seen this movie, but I'm not giving away too much when I tell you that Parents is about a little boy who believes his parents are cannibals. That's it. My one-note synopsis really does sum up the one-note plot of the film. However, like a lot of films that are superficially structured, there are some pleasures to be found in the execution of the premise. In fact, if you like really, truly fucked up movies, Parents is in your ballpark.

First of all the cast is stellar, even the little boy. While he does have a lot of the problems child actors regularly do (whiny tone, slackjaw expressions) he really does nail the characters fear and mental distress. The adults are all superb, especially Randy Quaid; even if he comes off as a little too crazy, I think that has more to do with the fact that the film is seen through the kid's eyes. Bob Balaban, a man who is known more for acting than directing, does a fantastic job of trying to nail down the often uneven tone of the script.

It had been a long time since I last saw the movie. I think the last time was over a decade ago. But I did see it when it first hit VHS, when I was all of 10 years old. Even with some of the gnarlier horror movies I already had under my belt, this movie grossed me out. It was freaky to see this film be so blase and in your face about the carnage on screen, while trying to maintain some kind of coherent, but altogether horrifying coming of age story. I can tell you this much; I never wanted to eat a fat ham sandwich on white bread ever again.

I honestly can't say all that much without giving away too many of the simple pleasures any fan of nasty cinema would get out of this flick. It is not for the faint of heart. For as ghastly as it is, it deserves a better place in the history of horror and cult cinema. I hope someone does right by a lot of these old Vestron titles some day soon.


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