They say there's nothing new under the sun. But under the ground...
Year of Release: 1990
Running Time: 95 minutes (1:35)
Director: Ron Underwood
Kevin Bacon ... Valentine McKee
Fred Ward ... Earl Bassett
Finn Carter ... Rhonda LeBeck
Michael Gross ... Burt Gummer
Reba McEntire ... Heather Gummer
Robert Jayne ... Melvin Plug
Charlotte Stewart ... Nancy Sterngood
Tony Genaro ... Miguel
Ariana Richards ... Mindy Sterngood
Richard Marcus ... Nestor
Victor Wong ... Walter Chang
Tom Woodruff Jr. ... Grabboid (uncredited)
Just as Val McKee and Earl Basset decide to leave Perfection, Nevada, strange rumblings prevent their departure. With the help of a shapely seismology student, they discover their desolate town is infested with gigantic man-eating creatures that live below the ground.
Tremors, remindin' us that life can really suck sometimes. Other times it gets so bad that it up an sucks you down into the ground an down the gullet of one of those sand worms from Beetlejuice that spend the entire movie tryin' to eat Michael Keaton. Just thought I'd throw that out there to remind everybody that, when the Starbucks barista puts a little too much foam on your legalized speed, things could always be a whole lot worse. An speakin' of things that suck poorly flavored canal water, I didn't quite escape from the remainder of my 19 hours community service time as previously reported. I was just certain that when the EPA showed up at Skunky Hernandez' place to inspect Mount Flushmore last week, that they'd run 'im through the wringer til it got bound up with his naturally occurin' dirt clods. Unfortunately, Skunky managed to cover the leanin' tower of schiesse with hay an those EPA guys never managed to wrap their eggheads around what'd happened. I considered blowin' Skunky's cover, but Cletus said that'd be a bad idea since I was the one responsible for puncturin' the pooperware container. Sides that, he claimed Skunky'd prolly get off on a habeas crapus loophole, so I said the heck with it. But anyway, this week Skunky wanted his irrigation sprinklers linked back together an wheeled out into his scrubland, cause he wants to try growin' somethin' sides sage brush to see if addin' grass to his cows' diets'll make 'em taste more like meat an less like a crow that got electrocuted by an exposed power line. Under normal circumstances this job's easier'n Bambi Pankins after eight shots of Wild Turkey, but Skunky's land is literally crawlin' (cause their bellies drag when they try walkin') with morbidly obese ground squirrels who've got near fatal cholesterol levels, an who've taken up residence inside these sprinkler pipes. If that don't mean nothin' to you, think back to that Simpsons episode where Homer got stuck in the water slide at Mount Splashmore. Make sense now? So I went home an grabbed Apollo an sic'd 'im on these pipes, figurin' that havin' 'im abruptly barkin' into the faces of these furry freeloaders'd cause 'em all to start makin' like Fred Sanford on account of their Crisco congested coronary corridors. Once they're dead, you just tilt the pipe up an they come tumblin' outta there like Chinese gymnasts on a sugar high.
Unfortunately, when we got to the last pipe, Apollo just couldn't seem to rattle the booger livin' in there. I swear to God, that guy was the last angry squirrel or somethin', looked like Tromie from Class of Nuke 'Em High Part II an dang near chomped down on Apollo's tongue after chargin' from one end of the pipe to the other straight at his face. Course, by this point it's startin' to get dark an I was gettin' a little P.O.'d about the situation, so I figured I'd show that tube trespasser who's runnin' the show an unscrewed the cap offa his section before turnin' the water on full blast. It's kinda funny lookin' back on it, even though Skunky can't seem to find the humor in it. Apparently, the squirrel was fat enough that it was havin' to expel its breath just to move around in the pipe, so when the water came on it instinctively gasped an filled the entire pipe. Took about 30 seconds of pressure buildin' up behind 'im before he finally exhaled an shot outta there like a newborn Duggar an went right through Skunky's livin' room window. Chased him an his wife all over the house for about 15 minutes before it suffered a mild stroke an disappeared into their couch cushions, an now they hafta sleep in shifts to make sure it doesn't launch itself at 'em like a Patriot missile again. Apollo an I got in about four hours on that job before everything went haywire, so I'm down to 15 hours left on my sentence now. I tell ya, by the time this's over with, Skunky's gonna regret ever gettin' judicial with the likes of me.
But anyway, Tremors is easily the best slurp monster from beneath the sand flick since Blood Beach (What's that? Dune you say? Hows about you go back to Santa Barbara an sip some wine spritzers while the adults're talkin', alright?), an prolly the greatest movie ever made to feature a scene where a guy hasta remove a woman's pants to help 'er *escape* from a worm. Course, this one's pretty popular, so it's gonna be a little tougher to provide any hitherto unexamined thought clouds for this one, but I think I'm up to it. First thing that came to my mind watchin' this one, was the importance of thoroughly inspectin' your lumber before you pay for it. If the goll durn boards have spike knots the size of Harry Reems' plumbin' snake, throw that crap back in the pile. You'll thank me the next time you hafta use one to brace yourself against digestion by man-eatin' earthworms, or in the event your fat mother-in-law stops by an starts leanin' against your sheet rock. Second, gettin' slurped down a worm hole will drastically change the complexion of your life. It'll also change the complexion of your face, if the scene near the sheep pen is any indication. An third, if you plan on makin' a nine mile trip in a caterpillar, you may wanna consider packin' your Gameboy.
Not bad eh? Small potatoes though, cause every truly great movie has a serious point they're tryin' to get across, an based upon my own observations, I'm pretty sure I see where the director was goin' with this one. In fact, if Ron Underwood was here right now, I'd buy that guy a beer. Cause I feel that he was successfully able to end the gun rights debate forever durin' that memorable scene where Michael Gross an Reba McEntire hafta pump 57,000 rounds of hot lead into that subterranean trespasser. See, most liberals're at least smart enough to realize that a man needs a gun for home defense purposes, which is a good start. But what they fail to understand is that sometimes one gun just ain't gonna cut the mustard. Like, for instance, what if there's an entire army of unstable PETA activists who've gone off-kilter due to a severe protein deficiency comin' to confiscate your huntin' rifle in the dead of night? Most rifles only hold three, maybe five shots if you're lucky, so it won't be long before they're able to hurdle their dead an bludgeon you to death with squash cudgels if that's all you've got. Or, if that seems far fetched, what if you live beside one of those Walmart stores that the government's diggin' secret tunnels under so Obama can sneak illegal Mexicans in to steal our jobs? Suppose those guys take a wrong turn an come pourin' outta your basement wall swingin' cactus trunks an tryin' to sell you bootleg Menudo albums? You're up the creek without a paddle if you haven't got a basement armory that's fully stocked with an arsenal capable of armin' the entire population of Nampa, Idaho. Doesn't anybody ever think about these things? I mean, this could really happen, an all these liberals wanna talk about is background checks an waitin' periods, while the entire rear flank of your perimeter's vulnerable to illegal alien probin'. Fortunately, we've got guys like Ron out there gettin' these critical social issues cast in the appropriate light, an on display where everybody can see what happens if you're unprepared for a 30' slug crashin' through the wall of your billiard room. Thanks again, Ron, those of us with a tenuous hold on reality really appreciate you havin' our backs.
The movie begins with Kevin Bacon (Val) drainin' his sausage before attemptin' to rouse Fred Ward (Earl), who's gettin' permanent truck bed grooves mashed into his face in the back of a '63 Jeep Gladiator. Only Earl keeps coverin' his head an tellin' Val he don't feel good an refusin' to go to school, so he hasta shake the truck like a window-fogged Datsun Hatchback at the drive-in til Earl thinks he's in a cattle stampede an crawls offa the tailgate an piledrives 'imself like Brock Lesnar tryin' a Shooting Star Press. Then they start headin' for town til Val spots a 2-wheel drive Mazda an realizes anybody that unprepared for the Nevada scrublands hasta be a woman, an tears off through the sage brush tryin' to remember the last time he even saw a woman who wears makeup. Val is seriously disappoint. This woman's not only got itty bitty titties, but she's also throwin' around $10 words that make his head hurt before askin' 'im if anybody's huntin' rabbits with dynamite nearby, cause 'er seismographs're rockin' like the cradle of love at Billy Idol's house. It's a distinct possibility in these parts, so Val an Earl promise to ask around before headin' into town to BS with Steven Keaton from Family Ties (Burt), Reba McEntire (Heather), an this old Chinaman (Walter) who looks like he aughta be sellin' a Mogwai to Hoyt Axton. They can't talk long though, cause they're on the clock an hafta go over to Nestor's place to plant all his garbage in the ground an see if they can get any A&W trees to grow, til they decide to take a break an complain about the lack of opportunity for advancement in their chosen careers. Then they head back to Walter's place to pump all the processed Pu Pu platters out of his septic tank, til the duct tape holdin' the hose on fails an sprays Chow Yun-Scat all over 'em. Val an Earl're P.O.'d, so they pack up the truck an start headin' for the bustlin' metropolis of Bixby (population 119). But en route they spot this old prospector, who looks like Keenan Wynn after wakin' up in a landfill, camped out on a transmission tower, an once Val climbs up there to haul his drunken duff down he's been turned into a sun dried tomato. Meanwhile, somethin's got another old timer's sheep runnin' in circles like they're on the NASCAR circuit, til whatever it is starts to picture itself drinkin' a six pack of Keystone Light while sportin' a mullet an hasta stop that immediately to go open up a crevice under the farmer an suck 'im down into the ground like a Florida trailer park into a sinkhole. Then Val an Earl drive by after dumpin' their bucket of extra crispy off with the town doctor an stop to try figurin' out who silenced all the lambs, til they spot the old codger's hat in the center of a crater, an when they lift it up they find his severed head takin' a siesta.
Now Val an Earl need some fresh shorts, an stop only briefly to warn two construction workers about the head cheese bakin' in the sun up the road. Course, they don't believe 'em, so they go right on workin' til one of 'em jackhammers into a Prego spaghetti sauce deposit, an pretty quick his hammer takes off down the road draggin' 'im by the ankle, scrapin' his hide off like a jumberjack caught in a debarker, before eventually gulpin' 'im down an crushin' his co-worker with an aggielanche. Then the city councels Val an Earl to head for Bixby so somebody'll come spatulize their buzzard burgers before they start to burn, cept the aggielanche's blocked the only road outta town, an when they try turnin' around the truck gets hung up an Val hasta spin the rear tires til they start throwin' dirt like a Border Collie unearthin' a red digger to get loose. Once they get back to town, everybody (Burt, Heather, Nancy, Mindy, Nestor, Melvin, an Walter) comes outside to check out the Mongolian Death Worm attached to their rear drive shaft, an Walter ends up shanghaiin' Val an Earl outta their catch of the day so he can produce Hentai videos. Later that night, the light goes out over at the doctor's place, but when he an his wife go to inspect their generator to see if it needs a fuel transfusion the goll durn thing's gotten tired of their American exceptionalism an decided to dig its way to China. So the doc tries diggin' it out so he can make it stand trial for treason, only to find 'imself gettin' dragged down like a college student with cripplin' student loan payments an pretty quick his wife hasta abandon 'im when she starts gettin' gang probed by sand snakes. Unfortunately, when she gets to the car she realizes she ain't got the keys, an the sandworms end up removin' an eyesore from the face of the earth when they entomb the broad in 'er Crown Victoria. I think we can all agree that this constitutes a thoughtful, genuine attempt at helpin' to beautify America. While that's goin' on, Burt an Heather're gettin' everybody whipped up into hysterics, cause that's basically what these people do, til Val an Earl get volunteered to go on a suicide mission on horseback the followin' mornin'. Course, on the plus side, 38 miles on horseback might be enough testicular trauma to kill all the swimmers in Kevin's bacon. But before they can take off, Melvin hasta make a jackass of 'imself makin' like he's gettin' his boas constricted by the severed montanaconda an Burt purt'near severs Melvin's family ties with his semi-automatic bazooka. Then Val an Earl head out an make a barbecue pit stop at the doctor's place an follow the sound of Waylon Jennings til they find the buried car an get this look on their faces like the vice principal just caught 'em lookin' up girls' dresses on the monkey bars at recess. Unfortunately, while they're comin' close to breakin' the land speed record on horseback, the horses get spooked an start ditchin' cowboys like Tom Landry on the final day of trainin' camp an Val's horse ends up gettin' snake bit while Earl's heads for California.
Val's P.O.'d, an starts puttin' bullets into the subterranean schlonker til the ground starts swellin' up under 'em like Bugs Bunny missed that turn to Albuquerque again, an pretty quick the soil erupts to reveal a very displeased, roided up Earthworm Jim. This seems like an appropriate time to run like they've just been spotted by that one real weird cousin that always asks you to dance at the family reunion, only it's not long before they come to the world's most unnecessary drainage ditch with concrete walls on either side an hafta try to Carl Lewis their way over it. It goes about as well as you'd expect for a coupla outta shape white guys, but fortunately, the head of the worm warfare division don't know about the barrier an ends up smashin' its brain into its ass like Gus Frerotte after a touchdown run. Then Rhonda shows up an they all look at the corpse awhile til she starts doin' the math an realizes there're at least three more snakes at this gangbang, an that they'd all better get their hinies back to Rhonda's pickup before they get daisy chained. Cept they don't get that far before Slurms McKenzie shows up an runs 'em up on a boulder an makes 'em sit around gettin' real bad sunburns, til they realize it ain't gonna go away cause it can hear 'em talkin' about it through the vibrations in the rock. It especially didn't care for that "inchworm" crack. The next mornin', Val tosses a shovel onto the ground to see if Nagini the dirt-faced meanie's still waitin' to hear about the dinner specials, which he's able to confirm when it rears up an slam dances all over the shovel like a bath salt junkie. So while Val an Earl're arguin' about which one of 'em can come up with the worst possible escape plan, Rhonda grabs an old discarded teepee pole an starts vaultin' from rock to rock like a couch surfin' meth addict goin' from one woman with no self respect to the next. Val an Earl decide that it might be prudent to include the scientist in any future strategy sessions, an once they all hop over to the rock beside Rhonda's pickup they pile into the bed like a pack of muddy hound dogs an shove Rhonda through the back window to get it started while they fight off the subterranean sock puppets long enough for 'er to mash the gas an get 'em the heck outta there. Once they get back to town, Rhonda an Val try explainin' to everybody what they're up against, cept the guys can't stop flexin' their own worms long enough to get with the program, an pretty quick one of the gregarious grubs shows up to play a little one-on-one with Melvin an accidentally eats his basketball. It's a hell of a thing tryin' to make friends, even when you're the most magnanimous of maggot monsters. Course, after witnessin' Melvin's previous stunt, everybody starts rollin' up their sleeves to go pound the tar out of 'im after hearin' 'im scream like he woke up to find 'imself in a Jigsaw trap involvin' his testicles an a vice, only they can't find 'im cause he's hangin' out on top of a light pole, an pretty quick The Conqueror Worm busts outta the ground for a meat an greet.
But once everybody books it back inside, Rhonda hasta remind 'em to hold still an shut their hysterical hatches before the overgrown trout lure figures out where they are. That don't last long though, cause pretty quick everyone hears Mindy (Nancy's daughter) outside with 'er pogo stick bouncin' around like unshackled breasts on a washed out two-track, an Val hasta cross check 'er before the segmented slurpo snake samples the veal. Then Val hasta climb onto his truck an sacrifice his radials while Rhonda (the scientist) is runnin' as fast as she can away from any potential shelter, til she gets wrapped up in a barbed wire fence an ends up lookin' like Cactus Jack's baseball bat. So now Val hasta grab a pickaxe an mine for copper inside the worm's right nostril cause it's tryin' to perform four pronged analingus on Rhonda an that makes 'im real jealous, so he yanks off 'er pants an drags 'er butt back inside where he can hang a "no vacancy" sign over 'er fanny cranny. This time everybody has a real easy time keepin' their trap shut cause they're all gawkin' at Rhonda's legs while Val pours iodine all over 'er an bandages 'er up til she looks like the Michelin Man. But Rhonda's barely able to get a fresh pair of pants on before the pop machine starts makin' a noise like somebody ran over a roller skate with a lawn mower, an the guys aren't able to get it unplugged before the worm comes full term an busts through the floor like a Xenomorph outta John Hurt. Then it grabs some Chinese takeout an splits as quickly as it arrived, which just goes to show that Drayton Sawyer was right when he said "the small business man always, always, ALWAYS gets it in the ass!" The silence don't last long though, cause about that time a second one comes up through the floor an ends up knockin' over all the store shelves like dominoes, til the one Rhonda's camped out on tips over an knocks 'er out the window along with Walter's entire stock of Bush's Baked Beans. Fortunately, by the time everybody else climbs up onto the roof like the cast of 3rd Rock from the Sun, she's had the presence of mind to climb the water tower. Unfortunately, she's too stuck up to strip down an frolic in it like the cast of Petticoat Junction, so everybody starts yellin' at their neighbors to get to higher ground to pass the time. Meanwhile, Burt an Heather've come home from their reconnaissance mission, an once they get ahold of Val on the CB he tells 'em to get on their roof cause the vibrations from their .40 cal reloader's got the worms packin' their bedding an headin' over to Burt an Heather's for a slumber party. They're too late though, cause pretty quick one busts through the wall of their basement, which is actually real bad for the worm cause the place looks like an Oath Keepers recruitment office, an Burt an Heather proceed to unload approximately 57,000 rounds of ammunition into it until it finally droops over like its Viagra tablet crapped out.
Then Burt an Heather carry a few million more shells up onto their roof an Burt tries givin' the nosy length of hose beast that's swimmin' around their yard a prince albert piercin' with his big game bazooka. Unfortunately, the dirt's thicker'n Sam Brownback's skull so that don't work too good, an by this time the two remainin' worms've gotten pretty P.O.'d about bein' outsmarted by a buncha bumpkins an start jackin' everybody's foundations around til they find an old trailer they can knock over easier'n a quilt shop in Amish country. This results in Nestor gettin' snorted like a line of Ajax at Cheech & Chong's house, an since Val don't much like the idea of gettin' vacuum snacked, he calls up Burt an promises to give 'im gas money if he'll come give 'em a ride outta town. Only about that time, the worm turns a little too sharply an bumps into Burt's GMC Jimmy, settin' the car alarm off an resultin' in Burt's tires gettin' chewed up like a junkyard thief in the jaws of a Doberman. Val an Earl've really had it with these mugga fuggin' snakes an their mugga fuggin' reign of terror, so they start puttin' their heads together. Then they stop doin' that cause everybody's lookin' at 'em funny an they try comin' up with a plan instead, which amounts to makin' a run for the CAT an hookin' an old semi trailer up to it so they can taxi everybody up to the big rock candy mountains. So they rig up this Lawn Boy to go drivin' out through the sage brush to distract the worms while Val goes for the CAT, cept the Lawn Boy rolls quicker'n an SUV with a road ragin' soccer mom at the wheel an everybody hasta shout disparagin' remarks about the worms' virility to try an get 'em away from Val. What eventually works is Rhonda bustin' the water pipe from the tower, which gives Val enough time to hook up the trailer to the CAT an remind 'imself never to upset Rhonda without wearin' proper testicular protection. So while Val's pickin' up everybody with the CAT, Burt an Heather're riggin' up I.E.D.s like Islamic militants til the slowmobile inches its way over to their place, an once everybody's loaded up an headin' for the mountains they all start wishin' somebody'd brought a deck of cards. If you're like me, you also start to wonder how far a CAT can go on a tank of diesel. Course, that kinda loses its significance when they drive into a tiger trap dug especially for them by those sneaky worms, an everybody hasta make a run for some boulders usin' Burt's bombs to keep the worms mindin' their manners. Gonna cut the description here cause I'm sure everybody's seen it already, an if they haven't, I'm embarrassed for 'em.
The trouble with reviewing the great movies, that're actually publicly acknowledged as such, is that there's really nothing left to add to what's already been said. Tremors is one of, if not the best, horror/comedies of all time. It's got the perfect balance between horror and comedy, and never gets too silly. Generally, the best way to accomplish this is with subtle humor, because when the comedy takes center stage it's nearly impossible to get the memory of that particular scene out of your mind. It gets stuck in there, and you never quite get back to taking the movie as seriously as you really need to in order to consider it an exceptional movie. At least from my perspective. I certainly know people for whom the sillier a movie is the better, but to me that amounts to a fun movie, rather than a good one. Or a downright terrible one that's doing everything wrong on purpose because the crew fails to grasp the fact that "so bad they're good" movies cannot be made deliberately. But anyway, some people would argue that Army of Darkness is the best horror/comedy of all time. And while I'd agree that it's a great movie, it's not a horror/comedy. It's comedy. Other worthy challengers include Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Evil Dead II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, and Dead Alive, but I feel none of those manage to strike the balance quite as well as Tremors does. Having a budget didn't exactly hurt either, which is something Tremors had going for it that those other flicks really didn't, but that's just part of the reason it comes off as well as it does. You've also got excellent, memorable characters that mesh well together, an utterly authentic setting with great sets, and perhaps most importantly; immaculate pacing. Tremors is possibly the most flawlessly paced movie I've ever seen, even though I wouldn't say it's my favorite movie. You know how just about every movie ever made drags in the middle? Well, Ron Underwood, S.S. Wilson, and Brent Maddock never got that memo. Never, throughout the course of this movie is there a dull moment. Even when there's something happening that maybe isn't completely critical to the plot, that's when they cue the comedy. This's why the plot portion of the review took so long, cause even though the movie doesn't have a long runtime, everything in it is either too important to leave out, or too funny to leave out. Generally speaking, the better a movie is the longer the review, and this was no exception. I even left out several of the great running gags that make the movie great, like the "rock, scissor, paper" competitions that usually determine whether Kevin Bacon or Fred Ward get stuck with a shitty job. It's subtle details like that that make Tremors such a great flick, because if there were no giant worms tryin' to eat everybody, the denizens of Perfection, Nevada, and the town itself for that matter, are utterly believable.
Alright then, let's fire a flare down this thing's gullet and make sure there's nothin' disgustin' hiding in its bowels. The plot is a lot of fun, and even though the idea of having hitherto undiscovered animals the size of school buses living under our feet is a little far-fetched, it's still highly enjoyable. Although they do actually touch on that in the movie a little. I think it's the details that elevate it towards greatness more than the big picture, though. Looking at the events of the movie from the perspective of Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, everything they do to try combating or escaping the threat makes complete sense, which is pretty unusual for a horror movie. Still, even though the main premise isn't completely perfect, it's still far more plausible a scenario than the majority of movie monsters that're generally created by radiation or some other mutation. The acting, despite the best efforts of the special effects crew, is probably the high point. The way every character in the movie interacts with everyone else is completely authentic, and part of what makes the sequels really drop off in quality is this lack of chemistry. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward play off each other perfectly, and that's a relationship they're never really able to recapture in the later movies. Though I do like Tremors 2 quite a bit because, frankly, Fred Ward and Michael Gross are better character actors than Kevin Bacon, and they're allowed to run with that a lot more when there's not a "star" around. Reba McEntire's actually a lot better than you'd expect as well, particularly considering it was the first acting gig she'd ever had.
I'm gonna say that Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross, and Reba McEntire don't need me to run through their list of accomplishments, so here's who else matters and why: Robert Jayne (Mythica 1 - 3, Tremors 3 & the series, Night of the Demons 2, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II, Dr. Alien), Charlotte Stewart (Eraserhead, Journey to the Center of the Earth 1988, UFOria), Tony Genaro (Phenomenon, Tremors 3, The Craft), Ariana Richards (Jurassic Park 1 & 2, Grand Tour: Disaster in Time), Richard Marcus (Enemy Mine, Deadly Friend, Cannibal Campout, The Being), Victor Wong (Prince of Darkness, Big Trouble in Little China), Sunshine Parker (Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat), Conrad Bachmann (Outbreak, The Chosen One: Legend of the Raven, Futureworld), Bibi Besch (Star Trek II, Rattled, The Day After, The Beast Within, Meteor 1979, The Pack), John Goodwin (The Naked Monster, Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots), John Pappas (Tremors 3), Tom Woodruff Jr. (Astronaut: The Last Push, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Alien vs. Predator 1 & 2, Elektra, Hollow Man, The X Files: Fight the Future, Alien: Resurrection, Alien 3, Leviathan, Pumpkinhead, The Monster Squad). Before I embarrass everyone with the roles they're probably more famous for, I'd also like to mention the great job Tom Woodruff Jr. does working with the graboid that's probably a combination suit/puppet depending upon what the scene calls for. That list of credits I rattled off for that guy? If the movie had a monster, he was the monster. If they made movies anymore that involved guys in suits portraying monsters, I'd recommend anybody preparing to suit up watch this guy and how he moves inside the costumes. Cause I've seen a lot of guys in suits who just act like people wearing suits, and it pretty much kills any effectiveness your monster might otherwise have had, but this guy's a consummate professional. Anyway, you yuppies out there prolly wanna hear about how Richard Marcus played Mr. Raines in The Pretender, an that poor Victor Wong was so broke he had to star alongside three little jagoffs in the 3 Ninjas series on multiple occasions, so there you go. You're all parasites, you know that right? Makin' fun of those two for takin' lousy parts in moments of financial weakness.
The special effects are almost without exception perfect. Every now and then you get a less than flattering shot of a tentacle (generally due to a bad camera angle), but when you get right down to it, Tremors has some of the best conventional special effects ever put to film. I guess there's also that one goofy shot during the basement attack where the actor's superimposed over the screen, but it's pretty short. It's not just just the way everything looks that makes the special effects so spectacular, but also how fluidly all the individual parts of the creatures move together. Everything about them is simultaneously interesting, and at least borderline possible from an evolutionary perspective. The graboids are a bit of a chimera, but I figure that if you keep your monster grounded in reality by utilizing different traits from known species, you're much more likely to create something believable. The shooting locations are excellent. And although most of the movie takes place outdoors, the sets they built for the interiors of the general store and Michael Gross's basement are enjoyable as well. I think the best shot is probably of the exteriors of the buildings coming into focus as Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward drive into town for the first time and, like most good horror films, the shot also conveys just how isolated the setting is. The "Perfection Nevada Population 14" sign riddled with .22 holes is a nice touch, cause if you've ever been very far off the beaten path, you realize how consistent that sort of thing is with reality. That's what I mean about the little things, great movies always tend to nail the details. The soundtrack is really good as well, fluctuating from a folksy sound that utilizes the harmonica a great deal for the lighter scenes, to a genuinely tense and unnerving sound when some poor bastard's gettin' sucked down into the ground. Again, perfect balance. And at no point do they transpose the two distinctive sounds, nor do they overuse the music. Apparently, the original score was a little lacking when it came to the darker sequences, so they had to bring in another composer to "re-score" the movie. Strangely, that guy (Robert Folk) was never credited, so I'm kind of assuming all the music for the darker scenes were his compositions, where the more folksy stuff was done by the credited composer. I can't imagine Folk did the entire soundtrack and got no credit at all, but I guess that is possible. Overall, Tremors is one of the best monster movies ever made, and possibly the best PG-13 movie I've ever borne witness to, save maybe Critters. Of course, it would have been an R, except the crew agreed to remove most of their f-bombs to get a PG-13, which is pretty funny in itself. The MPAA usually wants you to remove gore, but here, it was the language that was problematic. Bottom line, it's one of the best ever, so if you haven't seen it I recommend you go smack the crap outta yourself for a while and then buy it blind, cause it shan't disappoint.