Enjoy this Throwback Thursday with Mildred!
NOTE: The IU Cinema here in Bloomington, Indiana is showing Tremors on Friday, October, 9, 9:30 pm. We are so there!!!
In an odd twist of fate, this movie about prehistoric creatures sprang up just before CGI deposed practical effects. It is a brilliant film about Val and Earl, two dim bulb handymen played by Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon, who rally the citizens of the secluded desert burg of Perfection against the most bizarre creatures ever to bless the silver screen.
The filmmakers could have easily gone the sarcastic route and poked fun at everything and everyone in the movie. Instead they used every trick in the cinematic handbook and trusted the talented cast to strike exactly the right note between horror and schtick, and trusted the viewer to appreciate the humor without hitting us over the head with it. Much. When a laugh out loud moment isn’t a subtle glance at another character, it’s a massively over the top reveal or an ingenious visual joke.
Perfection is a diverse town whose population is an older Chinese grocer, a granola artist and her daughter, a moron and his jerk son, a seismology intern, a Hispanic rancher and a survivalist couple played by Michael Gross and Reba McIntyre in her first movie role. In the opposite of zombie norm, everyone pulls together and every strength is utilized. The handymen, no mental giants, are nevertheless relentless in their quest to Have A Plan and perform most of the hard physical tasks. Just as they think they’re finally escaping the rut of life in Perfection, Val and Earl discover the first of a line of deaths that are finally determined to come from under the ground. The menace grows and grows at a steady, bloody pace until it’s all-out fight and flight.
We don’t see the creatures for a long time, but we know they’re there. Monster point of view, slight of hand camera work, and puppetry make the monster very real without disclosing too much too soon, and without the slick fakiness of computerized horror. A harmonica-driven score underlies a clever script that does double duty on progressing the plot while providing nonstop humor. Tremors celebrates the smart girl and allows everyone a moment to shine. At one point Michael Gross delivers what I consider to be the funniest movie line for the entire decade, and at another point comes the second funniest line.
Unfortunately, in an attempt to capitalize on the excellent first film, the sequels are a textbook example of diminishing returns. Tremors: Aftershocks is a decent bargain basement horror/comedy starring Fred Ward and the luscious Helen Shaver. Ward is always good and Shaver works well with him, but it’s just not the same. Michael Gross returns for part of the movie, but this time as a caricature of survivalist Burt Gummer. Tremors 3: Back to Perfection was bad. Michael Gross is the only original cast member left, and that includes the monster. It’s a cheap rip-off of a classic and I’m unhappy to have watched all of it. Once, a LONG time ago. Michael Gross returns in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, which sucks so much I only watched five minutes and wish I hadn’t. The worst news? Tremors 5: Bloodlines will be out in October.
There’s so much I’d love to tell you about Tremors. It hits exactly the right note in every part of the film, and the only bad thing I can say about it is “sequels”. I strongly encourage you to see it if you haven’t already. If you have already seen it, get together some friends and introduce them to this gem.
CFR: In Addition: I TOTALLY agree with Mildred: Tremors is a GREAT movie! Just check out my review: Movie Review: “Tremors”. Plus if you click on the review you will see some video and fave lines Mildred was talking about. 🙂
Tremors Official Trailer #1 – Kevin Bacon Monster Movie (1990) HD