The 'Burbs

The 'Burbs
Burbsposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Dante
Produced by Larry Brezner
Michael Finnell
Ron Howard
Dana Olsen
Written by Dana Olsen
Starring
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Robert M. Stevens
Edited by Marshall Harvey
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date
  • February 17, 1989 (1989-02-17)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Box office $49.1 million

The 'Burbs is a 1989 American comedy thriller film [1] directed by Joe Dante starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal and Henry Gibson. The film was written by Dana Olsen, who also has a cameo in the movie. The film pokes fun at suburban environments and their eccentric dwellers. [2]

Plot

On Mayfield Place, a cul-de-sac in the fictional suburban town of Hinkley Hills, Ray Peterson is on vacation from work for a week and is trying to learn more about his mysterious new next-door neighbors, the Klopeks, after hearing strange noises emitting from their basement late one night. Art Weingartner, the Petersons' other next-door neighbor, believes the Klopeks are murderers.

While snooping around one evening, Ray, Art, and veteran Lt. Mark Rumsfield watch Hans Klopek drive his car from the garage to the curb, then carry a large garbage bag from the trunk to the garbage can and bang it with a hoe. During the night, Ray watches the Klopeks digging in their back yard with pick-axes in a rainstorm. The following morning, Art checks the contents of the garbage truck as it is collecting the Klopeks' can. He is joined by Rumsfield and Ray, but they find no human remains, suspecting that's what the contents of their garbage contained.

Bonnie Rumsfield finds a dog running loose and realizes it belongs to another neighbor of theirs, an elderly man named Walter, and wonders if Walter went away, it being unlike him to leave his dog running loose. Ray, Art, Bonnie and Ricky Butler (the kid who lives next door to the Rumsfields) go to Walter's house and find his toupee in the kitchen, also believing this to be a clue to Walter's sudden disappearance. Ray collects the dog and leaves a note for Walter, explaining the situation. The following night, Ray and Art have a meeting in the Petersons' basement and theorize about Walter's mysterious disappearance.

Carol, Ray's wife, grows tired of her husband and his buddies snooping around the Klopeks' home and she requests that she, Ray, and the Rumsfields pay the Klopeks a visit, meeting Hans, Reuben, and Werner while Art peeks around in the backyard. Later that evening, Ray reveals to Art and Rumsfield that he found Walter's toupee in the Klopeks' basement, which he had previously slipped through Walter's mailslot after the group found it inside his house a couple of days earlier. Deducing that the Klopeks must have entered Walter's house in order to retrieve the toupee, Ray and the others are convinced the Klopeks have murdered Walter, and the trio agree to investigate the Klopeks' backyard the next day, knowing the Klopeks would be gone for the day.

In the morning, Ray sends Carol and son Dave to go visit Carol's sister, leaving Ray free to explore the Klopeks' place with his buddies. After Art disables the Klopeks' security system, he and Ray enter the backyard and begin digging for Walter's remains, while Rumsfield stands guard on his roof. After hours of digging and finding nothing incriminating, Ray and Art enter the house, where they discover what they believe to be a crematorium. Ray then begins to dig into the loose soil that constitutes the basement floor, believing they must have incinerated Walter's body then buried his bones in the soil.

That evening, the Klopeks come back, only to drive back out when they see lights on in their basement. Rumsfield, Art, and Ricky are shocked to see Walter return home. When the Klopeks return with the police, Art goes into the Klopeks' home to rescue Ray, who after thinking he had discovered a crypt that contains Walter's remains, turned out to be a gas line that he struck with his pick-axe. He yells for Art to flee right before the house explodes into flames with Ray still inside. A disheveled and burned Ray emerges from the flames just as his wife returns.

Art talks to an officer, who explains that Walter had a medical emergency and his family took him to the hospital, thus explaining his mysterious and sudden disappearance. While away, Walter had made arrangements for the Klopeks to pick up his mail for him. When Ray had slipped the toupee through the mail slot, it got picked up mistakenly with the mail. Ray snaps at Art and declares that they were wrong about the Klopeks, before lunging at Art and then throwing himself into an ambulance on a gurney.

Joining Ray in the ambulance, Werner Klopek, thinking Ray must have seen a skull that he kept in the furnace, confesses that they murdered the previous owners of the house and that the skull belongs to one of them, thus revealing they were right about the Klopeks after all. He attempts to murder Ray by lethal injection to collect his skull as Hans assumes the role of the ambulance driver, but crashes into the Weingartners' house during the struggle. The gurney, with Ray and Werner still struggling on, rolls out of the ambulance and down the street. Ray makes a citizen's arrest on his would-be murderer as Ricky uncovers a large collection of human skeletal remains in the Klopeks' trunk. The Klopeks are arrested and the charges against Ray are dropped. Ray tells Ricky that he and his family are going away for a while and that he needs him to keep an eye on the neighborhood.

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