In director Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) just wants to spend his vacation relaxing at home with his perfect wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) and perfect son (Cory Danziger). When the mysterious Klopek family moves in next door, Ray finds relaxation impossible as he and neighbors Art (Rick Docommun) and Lt. Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) grow increasingly suspicious.
The trio—blundering around in Three Stooges-esque fashion—observe the odd behavior of Dr. Werner Klopek (a perfectly cast Henry Gibson), and decide that the Klopeks are probably murderers, Satanists, or both. Things begin to escalate, so Carol tries to convince Ray to just drop it and go spend the rest of the week somewhere nice… But when a neighbor suddenly disappears, even she can’t ignore the Klopeks.
The ‘Burbs: Fun Fact
The entire movie takes place on Mayfield Place, a cul-de-sac in the southern section of the fictional suburban town of Hinkley Hills. Mayfield Place is actually “Colonial Street,” on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood. In Desparate Housewives, Colonial Street was known as Wisteria Lane.
“If you want to laugh, and you want to see why film continuity matters, and you want to see what great directing looks like, The Burbs is one you shouldn’t miss. It will leave you wondering what you really know about your neighbors.” — Rick Swift, Film Grouch
“Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs (1989) was hugely misunderstood in its day, probably because it was viewed as a Tom Hanks starring vehicle, and it was much darker and more twisted than anything else Hanks had done, or would do. But in retrospect, and whether or not Hanks is in it, it’s certainly one of Dante’s most enjoyable films.” — Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
“Dante makes less a film of gags and comedy, more one of escalating mania.” — The Movie Waffler