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Friday, March 23, 2018

Tremors (1990)




Time for another franchise review. Since I’ve already covered Ghoulies I chose to pick another favorite of mine, Tremors. Unlike Ghoulies they are still making sequels with another coming out in 2018! In anticipation of that lets take a look at some of the earlier entries. You guys ready for some Graboid action?

Before I get to the review I have a story about seeing Tremors that I want to share. All thru the eighties I was a Fangoria reading horror nerd that went out of his way to keep up on what was coming out. Most nothing got past me, especially nothing that was getting a theatrical release. I took some pride in that fact. Before the internet it was easy not to know about a movie until you saw it on the Marquee. But College happened, and I got a bit distracted. I had no idea that Tremors was coming out until I saw the poster at the theater while walking thru the mall. I had no intentions of seeing a movie, but that monster drew me right in. I stopped what I was doing, bought a ticket on impulse, and have been a fan ever since.

Val and Earl are the local handymen in a small desert town called Perfection. We watch them go thru a normal day until there is an unfortunate incident while cleaning a septic tank. That serves as the last straw and they pack up to leave town. On their way out they discover a man hanging in a power pole dead. This leads to them finding more bodies and being attacked by subterranean worms that the locals decide to name Graboids. The pair really did leave town one damn day too late. Together with the other survivors from town they need to figure a way to the mountains where the monsters can’t follow. But how will they reach safety? It’s cool Val has a plan!

I love the creature effects work!
This is a great movie with an excellent cast. Val and Earl are played by Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, and are the stars of the movie. They have great on-screen chemistry and make you believe that they are good friends even when they are bickering with each other. We also get Victor Wong in one of his best roles not in a John Carpenter movie. Though sadly he doesn’t make it very long in the movie. And of course, everyone remembers Michael Gross as survivalist gun nut Burt Gummer who steals every scene that he is in! I find it funny that most don’t realize how against type he was playing a character like Gummer after coming off his long-time role as the hippy father on Family Ties. He does such a wonderful job that between it and working for cheap he is the only character to keep showing up in the sequels.

Can’t talk about a creature movie without mentioning the special effects. The Graboids are actual honest to God rubber appliances that pop out of the ground and fling themselves at the cast. My inner monster movie nerd does a little happy dance each time I see them on screen. They use some nifty camera work to show you the chases from the point of view of the Graboids. When the cast sees them moving they use old school movie magic with air cannons and fences moving to show that something is underground. Between that and when we get to actually see the Graboids pop out it makes for an effective monster. Got to have one of those for a movie like this to work.

This is one of those flicks where I could keep going on forever. I’ll stop here and recommend that you use your time better than reading my review and watch Tremors. It is highly recommended.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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