DIRECTOR Joe Dante WRITER Dana Olsen STARS Tom Hanks; Bruce Dern; Carrie Fisher BLU-RAY 15 September
As a film fully deserving of its cult status, the news of a Blu-ray release for Joe Dante’s ‘Burbs was great news indeed, and this Arrow release does not disappoint. True to form, the distributor has put out what is surely the film’s definitive version; a transfer approved by Dante himself is perfect in its imperfection, holding a pleasing slight graininess. And, as is expected, there is an impressive array of extras.
For a film not particularly well received at the time, The ‘Burbs has dated very well, its mixed tone balanced perfectly. The horror, while dark at heart, is presented in slapstick fashion, and the comedy remains laugh-out-loud funny, boosted by at times improvised dialogue—the shoot took place during a writers’ strike—that contributes a sense of mayhem as the characters agitate themselves into a frenzy. It’s testament to the actors’ chemistry and effectively underlines the sense of community the premise hinges upon: that of suburban values versus the unknown, a wry look at small-town xenophobia.
There is nothing a hard-core fan could want for in this package. Most essential of all are Dante’s personal workprint cut and “A Tale of Two Burbs”, which compares the differences between the latter and theatrical cut, with an optional commentary from Dante.