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The 'Burbs and Joe Dante's gleeful suburban chaos

Through his films such as The 'Burbs and Gremlins, director Joe Dante made mischief in American suburbia, Ryan writes...

Mayfield Place is the perfect 80s suburbia. There are painted houses fringed by lush green lawns cut to just the right length, separated by a wide grey road. There are white picket fences. The neighbours are out, tending to their gardens beneath a pristine blue sky.

Thirty-something resident Ray Peterson stands in his front yard, surveys the scene, and sees that it is good.

Except this is a Joe Dante film, and things are never good for long in a Joe Dante film.

Queenie, the little white dog belonging to the old guy across the road, has just left a spire of brown poop on Mark Rumsfield's lawn. Mark, a Vietnam vet and patriot, is running around in his camo shorts, threatening to eviscerate Walter's dog. Elsewhere, Ray's schlubby neighbour Art

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