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Parents (1989)

1:22 | Trailer
A young boy living in 1950s suburbia suspects his parents are cannibalistic murderers.


Bob Balaban
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Randy Quaid ... Nick Laemle
Mary Beth Hurt ... Lily Laemle
Sandy Dennis ... Millie Dew
Bryan Madorsky ... Michael Laemle
London Juno London Juno ... Sheila Zellner (as Juno Mills-Cockell)
Kathryn Grody ... Miss Baxter
Deborah Rush ... Mrs. Zellner
Graham Jarvis ... Mr. Zellner
Helen Carscallen Helen Carscallen ... Grandmother
Warren Van Evera Warren Van Evera ... Grandfather
Wayne Robson ... Lab Attendant
Uriel Byfield Uriel Byfield ... Little Boy
Mariah Balaban Mariah Balaban ... Little Girl
Larry Palef Larry Palef ... Announcer


Michael Laemie (played by Brian Madorsky) is a young boy living in a typical 1950's suburbanite home... except for his bizarre and horrific nightmares, and continued unease around his parents. Especially his father, Nick Laemie (played by Randy Quaid). Young Michael begins to suspect his parents are cooking more than just hamburgers on the grill outside, but has trouble explaining his fears to his new-found friend Sheila, or the school's social worker. Written by Jeff Mercer <riffer@afn.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's A New Name For Terror...


Comedy | Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The character Millie Dew, played by Sandy Dennis: "Millie Dew" was a play on the word "mildew", which means moldy, musty or damp. See more »


When Nick Laemle slaps the cinder block basement wall, it visibly flexes. See more »


Nick Laemle: Michael, are you ready to behave? I thought I tell you a little story. Want to hear a story. I tell you a little story and I want you to shut up until I'm finished.
Michael Laemle: [Tied to a chair by his father] You eat people.
Nick Laemle: I've been watching you, Michael. You're an outsider, you're not like them. You're like us.
Michael Laemle: I don't love you any more.
Lily Laemle: Yes you do.
Nick Laemle: We're bound for life, no matter how much you hate us.
Nick Laemle: [as he slowly unties Michael] I'm untying, and when you're free. You can sit down with us an eat, or could run...
See more »


Spoofed in Family Guy: Peter Problems (2014) See more »


Chantilly Lace
Performed by The Big Bopper
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
By The Big Bopper (as J.P. Richardson)
Published by Fort Knox Music, Inc., Trio Music Co., Inc.
Administered by Hudson Bay Music, Inc., Glad Music Company
See more »

User Reviews

Cult Movies 46
15 November 1998 | by TYLERdurden74See all my reviews

46. PARENTS (comedy, 1988) Ever since their move to a new town 10-year old Michael has been feeling strange. Maybe its because his new house seems so big and spooky. Or maybe its because his parents have started serving him a new recipe they call "leftovers". Whatever the case he has grown very suspicions of anything and everyone. His growing anxieties instill in him a wicked outlook towards life that gets him in trouble at school. Things turn for the worst when they investigate Michael's private home life.

Critique: Strange little film is the blackest of comedies. The story is told from Michael's P.O.V so everything looks abstract and weird. Attention to detail of setting (50s Americana), production design and costumes is very rewarding. Bob Balaban's craftily directed 'Pax Americana' scenes seem aesthetic and distant. The film has strong thematic qualities with David Lynch's own subversive 'Twin Peaks' society of evil lurking underneath a wholesome facade. Lynch's own regular composer, Angelo Bandalamenti, provides the music.

It also benefits from the stylistic brushes of cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonenfeld. The use of sweeping, low-angle shots (illustrating this child's nightmare world) and use of hand-held are wonderful. The subversive overtones of the film make it not for all tastes.

QUOTE: Michael: "Well, what were they before they were leftovers?"

Dad: "Leftovers to be."

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Parents See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$277,952, 29 January 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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