After packing in 200 or so people for the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival’s second annual Saturday Morning All You Can Eat Cereal Cartoon Party, Day 5 was all about director Joe Dante, actress Belinda Balaski, and a trio of features film celebrating their work. Screenings of The ‘Burbs (1989), Gremlins (1984), and The Howling (1981) were each introduced by Dante and followed by a Q&A session. All three films looked great on the big screen and Dante and Balaski were open and affable with the SFFF audience, answering questions and recounting stories. Dante discussed working as a consultant to an upcoming animated Gremlins prequel and briefly acknowledged that his long desired project about Roger Corman, The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes, was being produced by SpectreVision and should see production in 2020. Balaski recounted a popular story about how the designers of Gremlins’ Gizmo obtained Steven Spielberg’s elusive approval of the creature when she recommended that they take inspiration from the King Charles Cavalier Spaniels Spielberg had recently acquired. When asked which of their films they felt deep-diving fans should explore, Balaski cited Mark L. Lester’s youth culture/crime drama movie Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976) while Dante nodded at his under-seen (and unfortunately prescient) political satire The Second Civil War (1997). The pair were generous with their time, even sitting down on the Broadway Theatre’s stage floor to sign programs and badges for remaining diehards, and they proved to be excellent guests for the SFFF’s landmark 10th year.
Typically, our “— Made Mine!” posts involve our happily reporting that an MMC! proposal has become a reality. The extra features might vary and the cover treatment is always different, but the title now in fact bears the our desired label’s insignia and that always feels like something to celebrate. MMC! doesn’t commemorate instances where labels that usually are not the focus of our title proposals subsequently release editions of movies discussed here. For example, Kino Lorber has released Blu-ray editions of quite a few films proposed here for Criterion treatments. Beggars of Life, The Chase, The Knack … and How To Get It, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three have all received fine hard media releases with a prominent KL on the spine. We don’t go down the rabbit hole of trying to keep up with parallel editions from labels not regularly discussed at MMC! but they’re out there and we’re buying them.
And then we come to the strange case of Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs and Matinee. At the time they were proposed by MMC! to be part of the Criterion Collection, The ‘Burbs had been announced as a UK only title for Arrow Video with no special features yet detailed. Arrow Video’s release of a UK only edition of Matinee was not even on the horizon. MMC! overlooked these editions primarily because they were not for the North American audience, but now Shout Select has announced a forthcoming edition of The ‘Burbs for March 20, and with a January 16 release date already forthcoming for Matinee, we had to make something of an exception and celebrate these past MMC! titles given a new life on an MMC! favoured imprint, even if they don’t exactly match up with our original intentions.
Once again, film world, you’re welcome.
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The ‘Burbs.
Tom Hanks is Ray Peterson, a family man whose plan for a peaceful vacation at his suburban home on Mayfield Place is soon complicated when he and the other residents of the cul-de-sac observe strange happenings at the home of Ray’s new next-door neighbors, The Klopeks. Much to the disappointment of his wife Carol (Carrie Fisher), Ray and his buddies become convinced that a missing neighbor has fallen victim to the sinister Klopeks and, armed with assault rifles, high-powered binoculars, and shovels, they decide to see for themselves what terrors lurk just over Ray’s fence. A stand-out, tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy, The ‘Burbs is modern cult classic that assembles a superb cast, including Bruce Dern, Henry Gibson, Rick Ducommun, Brother Theodore, and Corey Feldman, and presents Joe Dante’s most savage of lands – suburbia!
- New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Joe Dante, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary with filmmaker Joe Dante
- Back on the Block, new interviews with cast and crew, including Tom Hanks, Joe Dante, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, Nicky Katt, Courtney Gains, and Dick Miller
- A new video piece by Dennis Cozzalio on The ‘Burbs‘s opening sequence
- From Colonial Street to Mayfield Place, Joe Dante on the Universal Studios back lot and its famous homes
- Scoring Suburbia, Joe Dante on composer Jerry Goldsmith and scoring The ‘Burbs
- Stand-up Tragedy, a retrospective on New York theatre icon Brother Theodore
- Rick Ducommun: Piece of Mind, Rick Ducommun’s 1989 HBO comedy special
- Alternate ending
- Extended scenes and deleted content previously believed lost
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by director Ti West