The Burbs

The Burbs, starring Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher

Since Halloween is just two weeks away, I thought I’d share a hilarious movie that’s got that Halloween spirit without being too scary. The ‘Burbs, starring, Tom Hanks, is a comedy and super funny! I pulled it out and watched it again this past weekend and I couldn’t get over how young Tom Hanks looked…then I realized the movie is from 1989! Ha! No wonder he looks so young!

The house below is the main focus in the movie and where much of the action takes place. The opening scene of the movie takes place at night. The whole movie actually takes place on Mayfield Place, a little culde-sac in the fictional suburban town of Hinckley Hills, Iowa.

The background story behind the movie is: Ray Peterson…played by Tom Hanks, and his wife, Carol…played by Carrie Fisher, live right next door to this very neglected, downright spooky house. Ray has just taken a week off from work, but instead of going up to the lake for vacation, he has decided to stay home the whole week. Carol thinks that’s a terrible idea and attempts to talk him into going on a real vacation. Ray refuses, insisting he just wants to stay home and “relax.” Yea, right…

The house in the movie, The Burbs


Later that night, Ray wakes up to loud, bizarre noises coming from the house next door. All he and the others in the neighborhood know is that a family by the name of Klopek has purchased the home from the previous family that lived there, the Napps. It seems the Napps just sort of vanished one day and the Klopeks moved in the next day.

Movie, The Burbs

Here’s a shot of the front porch with a rare daytime sighting of one of the Klopeks

Klopek House in The Burbs Movie

This movie is absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. One of the funniest scenes takes place on the front porch of the scary Klopek house. Notice the dead plants.

Scary House in Movie, The Burbs

Ray (Tom Hanks) along with his neighbor, Art (Rick Ducommun) venture up to the front door of the home to meet their new neighbors.  They knock on the door. Note the house number showing on the right…669.

Klopek House in The Burbs

After they knock, the last number swings down and suddenly the house number reads, 666. What happens next is absolutely hysterical.  I don’t want to spoil it for you…you can rent or buy the movie online at Amazon. I don’t want to give too much away, just in case you plan to watch it.

Klopek House in Movie, The Burbs

At one point in the movie they actually do get inside the house for a “normal” visit and here’s how the living room looked…

Inside the Klopek House

Another view of the living room…

Tour the Houses in the Movie, The Burbs

You’re not going to believe what Ray and Art find in the basement of this house when they eventually break in one day while the Klopeks are away. Yes, they break in! They are obsessed with getting to the bottom of what is going on inside this house.

The Burbs, starring Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher

The Neighborhood…is it real?
When you watch movies, do you ever try to figure out if the houses are real homes or just movie sets? I do that all the time and sometimes it is really hard to tell. I was intrigued by all the homes in the Mayfield Place neighborhood and a little research online uncovered that it’s really a set at Universal Studios called, “Colonial Street.” Turns out, this set has been used in the past for Dragnet and Leave it to Beaver. In fact, the Beaver household had to be removed to make room for the scary Klopek house.

Today, the Klopek house doesn’t fully exist in its original form. But, guess what?! A section of it is now Bree Van de Kamp’s home in Desperate House Wives! Can you believe it? LOL

The Klopek’s home stands in stark contrast to the other homes in the neighborhood. I’m always amazed at how set designers can create the exact feeling they want and make us totally believe we are in your typical picturesque suburban neighborhood. Here’s Ray and Carol’s (Tom Hanks/Carrie Fisher’s) home right next door to the scary Klopek house.

Mayfield Place

Here’s a daylight view of their home…would someone please tell me why we ever stopped building homes with wonderful, delightful front porches like this? ~~~sigh~~~
I know…something called air conditioning came along. Frankly, I think I’d rather have the front porch. LOL

Mayfield Place in movie, The Burbs

Remember when houses were built with these little sundecks over the garage?

Carol and Ray's House in the Movie, The Burbs

Despite how large the homes look from the outside, inside they seem a bit small. This is Ray and Carol’s kitchen…note the 80’s wallpaper. Did you have any of those copper molds on your wall back then? I know I did. 🙂 Actually, I still have them down in my basement somewhere…I think.

Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher in the Movie, The Burbs

Another view of the kitchen…note the microwave on the counter…very typical for that period.

Carrie Fisher and Tom Hanks in the Movie, The Burbs

This is a little shot of the Peterson’s living room. This movie has some other well known actors: Bruce Dern on the left plays Lt. Mark Rumsfield…the neighbor who lives across from the scary house. That’s Art (Rick Ducommun) toward the back, Ray and Carol’s neighbor on the other side. Of course, that’s Ray (Tom Hanks) with the ice pack on his face and his wife, Carol (Carrie Fisher) standing close by. Not pictured: Corey Feldman plays another neighbor named, Ricky. The scary neighbors are: Henry Gibson who plays Dr. Klopek and Uncle Klopek is played by Brother Theodore.

Neighbors on Mayfield Place

Here are three of the main characters in Ray’s study, plotting their next strategy in finding out what’s really going on at the Klopek house.

The Burbs Movie, Take the Tour

Here’s a shot of Art’s house…again, picturesque with a fabulous porch.

Art's House in the Movie, The Burbs

The neighborhood even has a tire swing…they think of everything don’t they?

Mayfield Place, The Burbs

Remember Gale Gordon…Mr. Mooney from the The Lucy Show? He’s in this movie, too. This is his house and you can just see him standing out front in this scene. He mysteriously disappears in the movie, adding to all the mystery and intrigue.

Mayfield Place in the Movie, The Burbs

Here’s a little diagram compliments of Wikipedia, showing the culde-sac where the entire movie takes place. This movie really makes you stop and think about the neighborhoods we live in and how we never really know what’s going on behind closed doors.

Here’s a view looking down the street away from the culde-sac where everyone lives… While we are busy bringing back porches, what say we bring back street lamps that look like these, too.

Fictional Mayfield Place

Now, I’d like to know…what’s your favorite scary-movie house?

You’ll find more movie house tours here:  Movie House Tours

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  1. ♥Georgie♥ says

    okay you have scared me with the burbs…it is a toss up for me…I live on ELM street soo think freddy kruger….srsly!

  2. Well Susan, I do not like scary movies so I should not have read your post before bedtime!! I shall now look under the bed!! 🙂
    I agree with your comment about front porches. We did indeed build our last home with a porch and I miss it.
    Thank you for the amusing tale!!

  3. I think my absolute favorite house from a scary movie (well, any movie, really) is the one from What Lies Beneath. Such a beautiful house. I think they actually built that house on site for the movie. I have often wondered if it's still there or was in torn down. I have told my husband that should we ever rebuild, that's the one I want.

    I love the house. I love the movie.

    Enjoyed this post.

  4. Princess Danell says

    "Hey, Pinnochio, where do you think you're going?"
    Best movie, EVER!

  5. "Whatever DID happen to Baby Jane??" Funny, (actually NOT so funny) I always looked at the sets and clothes the actors were wearing. Well, I guess someone has to get those "awards" too.. franki

  6. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    First of all, Susan, I love you! : ) I thought I was the only person who loved this movie! Like Christmas Vacation is my holiday movie, The 'Burbs is my Summer movie. I watch it every year!

    I loved their house – oak cabinets and all; and I agree about the front porches. There are a few other homes I liked in movies, most recently Tia Leoni's apartment in Ghost Town; the charming cottage used in the Bewitched movie and the Practical Magic kitchen, the English cottage in The Holiday(?). Those are the first few to come to mind.

  7. I agree with you, I don't like scary movies at all! But I do have a movie that has might be a little scary and has the most wonderful house…"Practical Magic". It stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Even though the house isn't real and just a set,build just for the movie, it is still a beautiful house. I would love to build it to live in it. Check it out if you haven't seen the movie!

  8. Julia @ Hooked on Houses says

    I can't believe I've never seen this movie before! I've gotten a lot of requests to do a movie-house post about it but didn't know anything about it. Now I want to rent it to find out what was in the basement of that scary house!

  9. Cass @ That Old House says

    Well now I know what's next on my Netflix list!
    Too funny — and I think I have that same dead plant on my front porch right now.

    (And I still have a microwave on my counter. Does that make me vintage, lol?)

    BTW I started using new blogger editing awhile ago, but it IS SO annoying that it won't allow the big pics. Bad Blogger. Bad naughty Blogger.


  10. Nellie's Cozy place says

    Morning Susan,
    We just recently watched the "Burbs"
    too! We got ours from Netflix – it was a fun/scary movie, but way more fun that scary. I am with you on the real scary movies, not for this girl, I don't even like stressful suspenseful movies. We get enough of that in the real world, I want something nice, sweet, funny, or romantic. After all it is suppose to be entertainment not give you night mares!! lol
    All your pics came out very well.
    That was interesting that it was a set, not a real house, cause you would certainly think it was.
    Hope you have a great weekend hon,
    Blessings, Nellie

  11. Great post!

    Like you I don't like really scary movies either. I do have a favorite movie for this time of the year "Hocus Pocus" starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. I love the their creepy house as well as the house the family lives in.


  12. I do not like scary movies so don't have a fovorite house but I want to get this movie and see it! It sounds great! My hubby doesn't like to go to the movies so I don't get to see many:(:( I have to go with my daughter or a friend, and that requires alot of planning most times:):)

  13. Momma Button says

    I LOVE scary movies! But not slasher movies, those are just sick. Any way, The Burbs is one of my family's favs. But my favorite scary movie house is the one from The Others with Nichole Kidman. It's an awesome old home on an island. Check it out!!

  14. Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea says

    I hate scary movies too but this one is fabulous – haven't seen it in forever.

    Tom Hanks home is so pretty – love the front porch.

    Thanks for this fun post…must see if I can find The Burbs on Netflix ;o)

  15. Susan,
    Like you, I cannot watch scary movies. But I do love The Burbs!!!
    I've watched it many a time.
    It's hilarious. The note over the fence (so as not to give anything away) and the reaction is priceless!
    I've seen people that remind me of Hans before, and that's scary enough. Brother Theodore still scares me when I see him in other roles.

  16. Hey Leann! Definitely my scariest movie house was the Bates Hotel in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." Oh Lord. I STILL look into the shower carefully. Great post and photos. Susan

  17. Practical Magic! I watch it over and over again just for their house! Luuuuuv it!

  18. Paige Thomas King says

    I'm with KayC. and Laurie–"Practical Magic" has the best scary movie house ever! The set and designer were featured in Victoria years ago–i've gleaned tons of decorating ideas from that magazine article!
    I've never seen The Burbs–think it was kind of a sleeper hit, wasn't it?
    I'll make a point of renting it or maybe i'll get lucky and find it at a yard sale!

    Great idea for a post!

  19. I just love that movie! Anything with Tom Hanks is in my favorites and his older work (esp Money Pit) are the best!! I always wished that I could live in some movie houses, they make them so darn perfect!! 🙂 "10 Things I Hate About You" is one of those homes with that beautiful wrap-around porch!!! Thanks for sharing and I need go go watch that movie again!!

  20. Sherry @ No Minimalist Here says

    You will not catch me ever watching a scary movie! I am way too much of a chicken. The last horror movie I saw was Amityville and that was enough terror to last me a life time!

  21. I don't watch scary movies or any movies anymore but I loved the interior of the original The Haunting( of Hill house) with Julie Harris. The exteriors were a real manor. If TV counts, I love Lyndhurst in Lyndhurst, NY and came this close to touring it once. It's a great Gothic Victorian. It was used in the second version of "Dark Shadows".

  22. A Hint of Home says

    I love suspense, too but not real scary movies.
    The clear glass globe candle holders are what I would pick if I was lucky enough to win.
    Looks like a wonderful giveaway.

  23. Hi Susan,
    I love Tom Hanks movies. Fun post. Hollywood sure knows how to make charming houses and streets, the kind everyone wants to live on. Yes, I had the copper molds too. Still do, in my basement as well. I wonder if my kids would want them? I doubt it. And I avoid scary movies too…that's not entertainment to me. Ugh!

  24. Never saw that movie but love, love that house!! I do NOT watch scary movies…no way!!!!

  25. Susan, thanks for all the wonderful photos! Gosh, you really went to a lot of work on this post. I think my favorite photo is the last one that shows the old lamp posts you mentioned! From that one, I can really see the old streets of "Mayfield", where the Cleaver family lived! 🙂
    I am exactly like you when it comes to scary movies. I like suspense and funny scary, but not the REAL scary, bloody, gorey, etc. Yuck!
    I'm sitting here with absolutely no idea about my favorite scary movie…..I'll say it's Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein!

  26. I LOVE scary movies. And I have copper molds hanging in my kitchen. My entire house is a vintage fest so it's really an unremarkable thing 🙂

  27. Hi Susan,

    Well I just enjoyed your post so much! The Burps is a family favorite at my house..we have to watch it at least once a year…my sons even quote lines from it! We similarly live on a cul-de-sac with nine houses in it and we have many of those "characters" living amoung us, with the exception of the Kolpecs..thank goodness! Of course we think we are the "normal" neighbors..LOL. I love old houses with porches too. My oldest son loves to quote the teenagers line from the movie.. "God, I love this neighborhood". Our home sits in the middle of the cul-de-sac and we can sit on our porch and watch everyone!! LOL Years ago we visited the back lot at Universal Studios in CA and saw many of the TV homes. My favorite scary movie homes are from "The Birds" and Psycho even though I don't like scary movies! Have a great week and thanks for such a fun post!

    Miss Bloomers

  28. SavannahGranny says

    Always love your posts. I remember this movie but not all the details. I am going to rent this to see what is in the basement.
    Hugs, Ginger

  29. I just love "The Burbs". I try to catch it everytime that it is on TV. I probably need to purchase the DVD. I can see myself trying to figure out what is going on with the creepy neighbors.

  30. I love this movie. Lots of great charaters & lots of funny lines and situations. I haven't seen it in a while.
    I've lived in a couple of cul-de-sacs over the years but none like this. Great post, makes me want to watch it again.

  31. Machelle Blankenship says

    Hands down…scariest movie is "The Others" I get goosebumps every time! Every time! (love the set too!)

  32. Donna@Conghaile Cottage says

    Loved this movie and "LOVED" Cory Feldmans reation to the adults in HIS neighborhood. Also LOVED the garbage truck scene. Actually the whole movie is pure perfection. My favorite houses seem to pop up in LOTS of Nichole Kidmans movies…Thanks for reminding me of "The Burbs", I think I'll watch it tonight!
    Hugs, Donna

  33. Does this street resemble any you see on television now? How about Sunday evenings? It looks just like Wisteria Lane!!!! I know that Bree Van De Kamp's house was on the block with the Cleavers and the Munsters — doesn't Tom Hanks house here look like the Scavo house? Another picture here looks like the one Mike rented and another like Edie's!!!! Just wondering . . .

  34. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Jackie, Good eye! Yep, they call it "Colonial Street" at Universal Studios. Part of the Klopek house is now Bree's house. 🙂

  35. Kat from California says

    They call the street Wisteria Lane now. My friend was at universal not too long ago. She said it kind of ruined the show for her. I said she should used to this since she grew up in Southern California. I mean even my own house almost ended up in the movie, "The Kid" with Bruce Willis. They chose a quieter corner a few blocks away from me.

  36. I know you posted this blog on “The Burbs” a couple of years ago, but I have just recently come across your site. I love this movie too (in fact I love your taste in movies, I own many of the same ones and I would love to see you do a post on the movie “What Lies Beneath” with Michelle Pfiffer, love that movie!) and wanted to mention that many of the houses in this movie were used for the set of Deseperate Housewives. The Lt.’s house was Susan’s on DH and the street scene you show in your last pic is quite common on DH. I agree with you, where have all these wonderful old houses gone? I just built a house with a wrap around porch, would love to send you some pics sometime:-)

    • Tasha, I’ve heard so much about that house. I definitely need to rent it if only to see the house. I’m a chicken so I may need to take a sleeping pill after I watch it. lol I love wrap around porches. Would love to see yours! Porches are def making a comeback. You can email pics to betweennapsontheporchatgmaildotcom

  37. Lisa Jones says

    I love this movie! Watched it probably 20 times on Netflix. I’m looking for any info on the picture hanging in Ray’s house in the kitchen. It’s large looks colonial… It’s of a girl in a red dress. I’ve searched everywhere. Any knowledge of it? Thank you!

  38. Hello!
    I don’t know if it would fall under Halloween, but I believe the movie Spiderwick, has a touch of spookiness to it, and a beautiful house that you might like. If you ever have a moment, check it out! Another house that I really loved was the house from the show, The Munsters. I think I watched the show just for the house!
    Thank you for all that you do. You are appreciated!

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