Welcome to the darkness … where we serve sardines to the neighbors

“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 our houses. We’re out to get them, Don, we are out to get them.”

~ Art Wiengartner in The ‘Burbs (1989)

I’ve used this quote before here at Minnesota Transplant to illustrate the fastidious nature of suburbanites who look after their lawns. Today, I’m reminded of paranoid Art Wiengartner in The ‘Burbs because I suspect the psychos, fanatics, murderers and nutcases in the world may not be a threat to us from the outside. I’m afraid of something far worse …

“We’ve traced the call … it’s coming from inside the house!”

~ Sgt. Sacker in When a Stranger Calls (1979)

Thank you, When a Stranger Calls, that quote perfectly echoes my thoughts, too.

I live in a quiet neighborhood I would describe as normal as whitewash. The freakiest neighbors around here go overboard on Halloween decorations and yard gnomes — that’s as weird as it gets around here, which is to say, not very weird.

But yesterday, someone shot out a car window with a BB gun, and suddenly I feel like I’m a character in The ‘Burbs or maybe Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Yes, I know broken car windows and BB guns sound pathetic compared to, say, Chicago’s South Side, where 10 people were killed last week. But in Hampshire, this is a crime spree. The gross domestic product of neighborhood gossip and rumor-mongering has gone up 500% in 24 hours.

We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes sir. How’s that for a bit of homespun philosophy?

~ Stella in Rear Window (1954)

Probably what we suburbanites really need is a distraction. Maybe a good contemporary movie about neighbors. Oh, Neighbors in out in theaters, you say?

“You guys just woke a sleeping giant. You have no idea what you just started. Welcome to the darkness, bitches.”

~Teddy in Neighbors (2014)

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