Suburban Gothic is the kind of movie I would have watched repeatedly on cable back in the 1980s as a teenager (Do kids still do that?). It’s quirky, a little dirty, and even has some thrilling scary scenes. Not to mention, the cast rules!
Matthew Gray Gubler, whose horror credits include How to Be a Serial Killer, Excision, and Life After Beth, is awesome as Raymond, the neurotic, artsy lead. He has graduated business school but can’t get a job, so he moves back in with mom and dad.
Dad is the always brilliant Ray Wise, who plays a homophobic, racist asshole here. You know. A typical American dad. Mom is a nurturing sweetheart (typical American mom) and played perfectly by Barbara Niven, whose horror status goes back as far as the 1990s remake of Humanoids from the Deep, Psycho Cop Returns, I Married a Monster, and the 2004 classic (to me) Serial Killing 101.
So Raymond has always been into the occult and begins experiencing weird shit when he moves back home. The weird shit even drives away a construction crew working in the family’s backyard. The cool thing about Suburban Gothic is that while it’s a comedy, the horror elements are pretty damn creepy! The floating girl head ghost is my fave.
Raymond reconnects with a high school classmate—Kat Dennings! Wahoo! Kat is basically a more goth version of Max from 2 Broke Girls, with the added flexibility of being able to say fuck and talk about dicks openly; “fuck” and “dick” are words that are just made to be in Kat’s mouth. Heck, in this film, she’s even a member of a lesbian band whose mantra is “Suck my dick.”
Together, the pair tries to determine what the presence in Raymond’s house wants—and put a stop to it.
There are plenty of quirky characters along for the fun. Horror icon Jeffrey Combs is Raymond’s doctor.
Sally Kirkland is an occult expert who offers her advice. Jen and Sylvia Soska (The Twisted Twins) have a super brief cameo. Fricking MacKenzie Phillips plays a neighbor with a perverted son. And John Waters is a pervert who wants Raymond to suck his dick.
He’s not the only one into cocksucking. Suburban Gothic is loaded with gay stuff. Raymond has a gay cousin who’s not allowed in the house because Raymond’s dad hates faggots. Kind of wish the cousin had joined their ghost busting team. There are more fag haters in the form of three of Raymond’s high school bullies who now hang out at the local bar—one of them is a hot baldy—and think he’s gay. As does everyone, including a bitchy chick in the school at which Raymond’s dad teaches.
But fear not. If anyone can turn a straight guy everyone thinks is gay into a mistress’s bitch, it’s Kat Dennings. In fact, this ghost hunting team is so effective they could even end up coming together for a sequel. Hell. I’d take Suburban Gothic as a TV series if Kat weren’t so busy on one of my favorite sitcoms. And when the hell is her classic The Scream Team going to get a DVD release?
As icing on the cake, the closing credits of Suburban Gothic feature the 80s classic “Punk Rock Girl” by the Dead Milkmen.