Movie Neighbours From Hell

Posted by in February's Magazine

According to the theme song of a long running Aussie soap opera, ‘everybody needs good neighbours’ and, ‘with a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend’. I must be honest, I don’t care about the blend; house me next to a porn star, an arms dealer and a professional wrestler, as long as they are quiet I will be happy. My apartment block is like a Cowgate Night Club (in fact I’m sure there’s a door charge after 11pm). What’s more the noise is at its worst when I am trying to concentrate… like now for example. It is a fact little acknowledged that I appear to have been royally shafted when they were drawing up the neighbour roster.

To my right I have a man who feels it absolutely necessary to play Sportscene at his TV’s loudest volume setting from 11pm onwards. I find screaming, “Turn your f***ing telly down!” through the chimney at the top of my lungs works moderately well as a countermeasure. The girls tomy left, both very nice, have a weekend friend whose screeching Hyena-like laugh can be heard even before the communal door has been opened. Below me lives a man, again very polite and helpful, who does not seem to understand that Example blasting out from his stereo at 2am is not everyone’s preferred method of relaxation. And above me…well, I have yet to meet the neighbours above me, but from what I hear and feel, I’m guessing they’re a species of dinosaur. They stomp up the stairwell and across their floor like a couple of pre-pubescent Tyrannosaurus Rex having a temper tantrum; I swear I just heard the dying bleat of a goat as my wine rippled in its glass. Still, my noisy neighbours set me thinking –who are the worst neighbours in the movies?



The Klopeks from The ‘burbs

You may not be familiar with this Tom Hanks comedy-horror, but it is definitely worth a watch of a drunken night on ITV2. A stressed out suburbanite and his neighbours become suspicious of the creepy Klopek family who have moved in next door after one of their number goes missing. Although Hanks’ comic timing, Bruce Dern’s paramilitary nut and a quantity of slapstick humour keeps the film light-hearted, the Klopeks are creepy enough to make you feel unnerved whenever they are on screen – families of Austrian serial-killing cannibals tend to have that effect on people.

Melvin Udall from As Good As It Gets

Jack Nicholson deservedly won an Oscar for his portrayal of a bigoted, eccentric, cranky, obsessive-compulsive writer, who finds himself in a quandary when he is asked to take care of his gay neighbour’s dog. As much as he is a total bastard, there is something endearing about Melvin. He has no friends and everybody that comes in to contact with him finds him awful but at least, his atrocious behaviour, means he gets some peace and bloody quiet.

Charlie Meadows from Barton Fink

When New York playwright Barton Fink moves to L.A. he has a hard time writing and adjusting to life in the City of Angels. Then he meets his neighbour Charlie Meadows. He’s civil and apologizes should he cuss. He’s caring and will perk you up when you are having a bad day. He’s obliging and will help you discard a dead girl’s body from your apartment when you wake up next to her. The Coen brother’s regular collaborator John Goodman gives an excellent performance as Meadows; former wrestler turned full-time serial killer.

Ian ‘Ray’ Raymond from High Fidelity

Ok, so he is technically only a neighbour in a ten second flash back, but he is a hippy, and I don’t really need an excuse to get ripped in to hippies. Tantric sex that shakes the bed and exotic cooking smells which pollute the stairwell and sting the nostrils; it would all be acceptable if Ray weren’t such a monumental dick. The grey ponytail, the yoga, the fact he steals John Cusack’s girlfriend. The moment when Cusack imagines three different scenarios of confronting the man who now sleeps with his bird is the highlight of a fantastic movie; especially when Ray is smacked in the face with a phone.

Quotes of Awesomeness #1: Austin Powers

“The details of my life are quite inconsequential…very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would claim he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possesses and the insane lament. My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon; Luge lessons in winter; in spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds – pretty standard really. Att he age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum…it’s breathtaking – I highly suggest you try it.”


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