The ‘Burbs (Shout Select) – Blu-Ray Review

Shout Select has done it again.  They have handpicked another film from my childhood.  This time the subject matter covers what is possibly the most frightening thing an adult homeowner faces….boredom.  The ‘Burbs may have been on my childhood Television screen more times than I can count.  It is funny, trying to remember how I watched it I have no idea. It could have been one of those movies Comedy Central handpicked to systematically ruin by playing it every day, or it could have been something else entirely.  Whatever the method of delivery, it has been forever etched into the storyboard that is my film upbringing.

It has all the essentials does it not? Tom Hanks, because why wouldn’t you want Tom Hanks in your movie? Thrills, obsession, and Corey Feldman all grace our screen in the rather short film about what happens when gossip turns to horror in the suburbs.  I cherish this film I truly do. Re-watching it this many years later ( more than ten less than fifteen) it definitely lost some of its nostalgia and magic, however, here I was quoting it like a complete fanboy.

The FIlm

Here we have a story we have heard before, one of paranoia and boredom.  It could happen to anyone really, It could even happen to you. Our hero Ray Petersen is taking a week of vacation for a little Rest and Relaxation or so he thinks.  He chooses to avoid the lake this time around and stay home where there should be less stress. In an obvious homage to Rear Window, he and his fellow neighbors begin to suspect the new members of the neighborhood of murder and foul play.  The question becomes, how much are they imagining and how much is real? Can they find out who these people really are, before they take yet another victim?

Hanks is a legend.  I do not think anyone would argue that point and this film is no exception.  A classic in its own right, it has much to offer and has thrills, chills, and laughs spread throughout.  The supporting cast is wonderful and I cannot imagine any other actors/actresses placed in these roles. With the help of Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun, and Corey Feldman , Tom Hanks is able to really capture suburban boredom and paranoia.  

 

The Film 4/5

Picture Quality

Director Joe Dante and D.O.P. (Director of Photography) Robert Stevens partner on this dark comedy classic.  Managing to create a fun, creepy, and all around eccentric atmosphere for our players and their unique roles in the story. The film manages to look unique and feels very much grounded in the eighties suburban-esque world that so many of us remember so well.  I was entirely used to watching this film on an old Tube TV and was more than happy to do so. The upgrade to Blu-ray is outstanding. Shout Select made sure of that with a new 2K Scan of the Interpositive.  Much like their other highlighted films it is obvious some real care went into the handling of this cult classic.  

 

Picture Quality 5/5

 

Audio Quality

Legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith, took the reigns for The ‘Burbs and did a masterful job, as usual, to give the film its own unique world that will remain for years to come.  The upgrade here to Blu-ray went smoothly and I had no issues with home viewing. Subtitles off, no sudden changes in volume and this is a perfect example of how a film should be edited for home viewing.  The film is a rather straightforward film and not much happens to brag about in the audio department, however, the most I can ever hope for is not much to write about because everything went smoothly.

 

Audio Quality 5/5

 

Packaging

Here it is, the last time I will say it, this is the way I wish every single packaging company did it.  We have a unique, simple, wonderfully inviting, slipcover with very little crowding and advertising on it.  On the inside, we have a matching artwork laden Amaray case that is completely reversible! The alternate artwork (pictured below) dons the original eighties artwork that does well to stand out even with the years in between.  Inside the case we have a chapter list, yes my friends a chapter list. Those who have been collecting for a long time know that DVD’s used to come with Chapter Lists, and believe it or not we used them to tell where we were in the film.  (that sounds absolutely crazy but its the truth or at least in my house). On the disc itself, we have artwork. It is quality and mimics the slipcover, this is what I want on every disc always. The team at Shout clearly loves the films in its select series and it shows.  

 

The Packaging 5/5

Special Features

Shout Select (much like Criterion) makes sure to add plenty of extras for the viewer. The ‘Burbs is no exception. I can honestly say I didn’t expect many due to the age (same as me) but the features we get do much to add to the film experience. The Special Features included are as follows:

  • Audio Commentary With Writer Dana Olsen- Moderated By Author Calum Waddell
  • “There Goes The Neighborhood: The Making of The ‘Burbs” -Includes Interviews With Director Joe Dante, Actors Corey Feldman, Courtney Gains And Wendy Schaal And More!
  • Alternate Ending
  • Original Workprint Includes Deleted And Extended Scenes
  • Still Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Special Features 4/5

Overall

The ‘Burbs is one of those films that I will remember forever.  I grew up watching it over and over and never grew tired. That being said I did forget about the film, for the most part, for many years and when I admittingly, drunkenly found it for pre-order on Amazon I had to have it.  Shout Select has impressed me twice now and I have been completely blown away by the overall quality of the presentation. The one thing I need, or I should say want, is a digital copy to be included, however in the age of physical media and the quality of the physical representation being the point here maybe I’m alright after all.  This is a wonderfully packaged and presented edition and I could not be happier to own this version. You can purchase this edition HERE.

 

Overall 4/5- Highly Recommended