Black SplatThe 'Burbs (1989)

"WE'RE the lunatics!"

The 'Burbs - Ray bandaged

Description: Tom Hanks as Ray Peterson shouting after a gas line explosion in the motion picture The ‘Burbs (1989).

Ray Peterson lives in the suburbs at Mayfield Place, a cul-de-sac in the town of Hinkley Hills. Taking a week off from his job, Ray decides to lounge around his house in his robe and pajamas and enjoy his well earned vacation.

But his leisure time is interrupted when Walter (Gale Gordon), an old man in the neighborhood goes missing and the neighbors suspect the Klopeks are behind the disappearance.

Newly arrived in the cul-de-sac, the reclusive Klopeks consist of Dr. Werner Klopek (Henry Gibson), Hans, the addled brother (Courtney Gains) and grumpy Uncle Reuben (Brother Theodore).

Since moving in, the Klopeks have been digging up their back yard in the middle of the night, beating their trash bags with sticks (as if to kill something inside) and making strange sounds in their basement.

"I hate cul-de-sacs. There's only one way out, and the people are kind of weird." - Vic, the Garbageman

The neighbors first discover Walter is missing when Queenie, his little white poodle is found running loose. Queen is a frequent visitor to the property of Lt. Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern), a Vietnam War Veteran who hates it when dogs crap on his lawn.

Going to Walter's house, he bangs on the door, and screams, "Walter. I know you're in there. That scum-sucking, barking rat of yours has just taken his last dump on my lawn. I find one more-just one-and I'm gonna catch him and staple his ass shut."

The 'Burbs - Mark Rumfield on watch

When no one answers, Ray, Art (Rick Ducommun) and Mark enter Walter's place to find it empty, except for Walter's toupee which Ray takes and later returns by shoving it through the mail slot in his door.

As suspicions increase, Ray and his neighbors form a neighborhood watch and look for clues to support the allegations that the Klopeks are killers, or worse, cannibals.

The most adamant in his convictions is Art Weingartner who offers up crazy remarks like:

'I'm telling you these people are Satanists. As I sit here, they are satanists. Look, look, the world is full of these kind of things - black masses, mutilations. Mutilations. The incubus, the succubus - I'm tellin' you, Walter was a human sacrifice."

“I want to kill everyone, Satan is good. Satan is our pal." (jokingly chanting)

"You know what the deal is? We gotta go down to the religious supply store. We gotta get a couple of gallons of holy water. My cousin Gary is a priest. He can get us a deal!"

Later, Art's dog, Vince finds a femur bone retrieved from the Klopek's backyard. Convinced that foul play is afoot, Art says, "Ray, there's no doubt anymore. This is real. Our neighbors are murdering people. They're chopping them up. They're burying them in their backyard. Ray... This is Walter!" They both scream.

The 'Burbs - Art and Ray find a femur bone

With the evidence mounting, Ray and Art wait for the Klopeks to leave home and then break in and start to rummage around looking for clues.

The 'Burbs - Ray and Art at the Klopek House

"I'm going over the fence and I'm not coming back until I find a dead body, Nobody knocks off an old man in my neighborhood and gets away with it" - Ray

Ray finds Walter's toupee, the one that he returned through the mail slot and this convinces him to dig deeper by tearing up the basement floor looking for dead bodies. But what he thinks is a coffin turns out to be a gas line. Ray alerts Art of the danger and he runs from the house just as it explodes. Ray soon follows, burned and tattered.

The' Burbs - Ray escapes the Klopeks burning house

When the fire trucks and police arrive on the scene, Ray learns that Walter left his house because of a medical emergency and had asked the Klopeks to pick up his mail. Hence, his toupee being found in the Klopek's home in between a pile of magazines.

Ray realizes he is wrong and that the Klopeks are innocent of his suspicions. But Art continues his harangue about the Klopeks, saying, "Go ahead Ray, tell him, We got the goods on them, don't we? You know, some day they're going to dig up the back of that yard and they're gonna find the rest of that skeleton to go with that femur. Oh it might not be Walter, but it's gonna be some poor tortured..." Suddenly, Ray screams:

"Shut up. SHUT UP, ART, SHUT UP! God, you don't know when to quit, do you? Look at me! I'm a shell of a man because of you, Art! [tries to strangle Art] Get off their case, will ya. They didn't do anything to us. All right so they're different. But can you blame them? They live next to people who break into their house and burn it down."

“Remember what you were saying about people in the ‘burbs, Art? People like Skip? People who mow their lawns forty-eight hundred times, and then SNAP? Well, that US!! It’s not them. That’s us! WE’RE the ones who are vaulting over the fences, and peeking into people’s windows! WE’RE the ones throwing garbage in the streets, and lighting fires! WE’RE the ones who’re acting suspicious and paranoid, Art. WE’RE the lunatics!! It’s not them!! It’s us.”

Burned from the explosion, Ray says, "I'm sick Take me to the hospital," and jumps on a gurney in the back of an ambulance. Ray's wife, Carol (Carrie Fisher) says she will follow the ambulance to the hospital and closes the doors.

Out of the shadows, Dr. Werner Klopek appears holding a needle and syringe laced with something to subdue Ray. Before he injects the fluid, Ray learns the real truth about the Klopeks, that they are, indeed, murderers and that they had taken possession of their home to use as a base of operations for their sinister acts.

The 'Burbs - Dr. Werner Klopek with needle
Dr. Klopek: Come now, Mr. Peterson, you were in my basement. Surely, you looked in the furnace.
Ray: Well I-I-I-I saw your furnace, Doctor. I figured a man's furnace is his business.
Dr.Klopek: You saw one of my skulls, didn't you? Oh yes, I know you did. It belonged to a neighbor of yours. The name was Knapp. We took the house from them. I offered to buy it but you know how old people are, they grow so attached to things.

Uh, you know, Dr. Kopek, I think I forgot my wallet... [Tries to get up but is held down]
Dr. Klopek: I let you keep the femur, but now, now I want my skull. Or perhaps, I might just take yours. Hans!

As Hans Klopek drives the ambulance away, Ray struggles to get free which forces Hans to drive the ambulance into the front of Art's house. When the police discover the trunk of the Klopek's car is filled with human bones, they arrest the family and haul them off to jail. Hans Klopek tries to run away, but the sharp-eyed Mark Rumsfield sees Hans flee, and yells, "Hey Pinocchio, where're you going?"

The 'Burbs - Mark catches Hans

After slipping on the lawn, Mark captures Hans, and warns, "Don't you make a move, Sonny I was 18 months in the bush and I can snap your neck in a heart beat."

The 'Burbs - Art speaks to News Reporter

Art Weingartner meanwhile speaks to reporters on the scene, and says:

"I think the message to, uh, psychos, fanatics, murderers, nutcases all over the world is, uh, "do not mess with suburbanites". Because, uh, frankly we're just not gonna take it any more. Ya know, we're not gonna be content to look after our lawns and wax our cars, paint out houses. We're out to get them, Don, we are out to get them."

The 'Burbs - Police on the Scene

With peace restored to the 'burbs, Ray decides to spend the rest of his vacation at the lake, like his family wanted to all along. Before he goes, Ray asks Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman) a teenager who had been following Ray's antics for days, to take care of the neighborhood while he is gone. The boy agrees, and says, "God! I love this street!"

The 'Burbs - Movie Poster

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