Heeheehee. This movie exemplifies the zen of badflique. Fred Ward is the other guy. The monsters in question are named graboids just before the gent that names them gets graboided. Perhaps the best thing about this flick is that the sequel is even watchable! In the sequel Tremors II: Aftershocks a Mexican oil company starts losing men and gear near a drilling base in the Mexican center. Finally, enough data is gathered to show that the culprits are...you guessed it...graboids! They send a rep. north to hire Fred Ward and another, younger handy man to take care of 'em. The resultant silliness is an excellent video cure for a rainy day

Favorite line from the second film: Ward and protege are eating lunch on a large boulder. A portable radio plays Mexican music nearby. Suddenly there is a violent shaking and rumbling; all of a sudden, the radio gets really muffled and then fades away entirely along with the rumbling.

Ward: You left the radio on the ground?

Young Guy: I...forgot.

On another note, the graboids resemble my mental image of EDB more than anything else I've come across...

Tremors is a comedy of horrors released upon this unsuspecting world back in 1990. A creation of director Ron Underwood along with a writer/producers S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, and Underwood himself. This story of monsters is played out by actors Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, and many others.

Tagline: The monster movie that breaks new ground.

Perfection, Nevada, a quiet little town in BFE doesn't have much going for it. You can practically count the population on two hands. Valentine Mckee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) are two residents who finally get the drive to up-and-leave the town. Unfortunately they can't! A large bolder blocks the road and a mess of bodies is found! Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), a geology grad student, happens to be doing some research in Perfection on some recent tremors in the area. Val, Rhonda, and Earl discover that the tremors and the deaths are linked. Perfection has become infested with giant worms! The worms have trapped the residents. Now it is up to Val, Rhonda, and Earl to save the last few townspeople and themselves.

Tremors is a horror movie that relies more on comedy than scares. It does this extremely well. While it didn't do well in the box office it has gained a lot of fans through video rental and tv play. A cult film? Possibly, but does it matter? If you want a funny film with a touch of action and thrills this would be one to check out. It seems to draw on several genres including classic black and white monster movies and modern action/comedy movies. It doesn't try to be too serious and doesn't try too hard to convince the audience the plausibility of what is happening. Even after the film the explanation for the worms is pretty vague. The answer isn't important, the journey is.

Even twelve years later I think this film could hold up well. The special effects where not the focal point of the film so they don't date the film much. Technology doesn't play a role (they are in the middle of nowhere in a desert town). Other than maybe a few minor tweaks in special effects this movie could be made today with much the same results.

This film is followed by Tremors 2: Aftershocks and Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.

Ron Underwood's first feature film, 1990's Tremors set the tone for the cynical, paranoid years to follow. The twisted humor and helplessness of the citizens of Perfection, Nevada, as they watch neighbors get chomped and their town gets pulled out from under them by the graboids, reminds us of our own embattled psyches as friends died too young, our retirement plans were killed in infancy, and the foundations of our youthful sanity were ripped apart by our own inner, many-tongued worm monsters during that wretched decade. In the simple completeness of the film--Kevin Bacon's finest work, to be sure--we have identified various aspects of ourselves and our demons, and achieved a model of the stable mind as it copes with the unstable world.

Taking Perfection's characters as an amalgam--the cockiness of Val McKee (Bacon), the more wise but less self-assured Earl Bassett (Fred Ward), the rationality of Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), the double-barreled force of the Gummers (Michael Gross and Reba McEntire), the greed of Walter Chang (Victor Wang)--we can draw a picture of the truly complete individual. Let us call him Perfectoid, and see how he copes with the ills that beset him. His parts will work together to survive, though some of them must die in the fight to rid his subconscious of underground...goddamn...monsters.

Val is the young and reckless one, whose reflex and preference for action over thought save the girl and ultimately everyone as he kills Stumpy, the toughest graboid. He is cocksure and of course has unrealistic standards when it comes to women: "You will have long blonde hair, big green eyes, world class breasts, ass that won't quit and legs that go aaallll the way up." He is restless youth, that part of Perfectoid who sees nothing between him and a better life but the balls to go grab it.

Earl tempers Val with experience--"Dammit, Valentine, I was in a stampede once." Though not the brainiest of the crew, Earl reminds Perfectoid of the importance of having a plan, repeatedly. He even goes so far as to recognize the graboids' ability to plan an attack. Not that Earl can always come up with a plan--he is Perfectoid's calmer and more experienced machismo, tough but somewhat contemplative: "I'm betting on outer space. No way these are local boys." Earl's seen enough to know the earthly dangers.

Poor Rhonda brings book learning and rational thought to Perfectoid, somewhat derided for being different, but counted on to answer the tough questions. The less logical parts turn to her without questioning the means--Val and Earl, for example, simply take her word for it when she begins to explain the existence of three additional graboids beyond the first one they kill. Characters in a lesser film would have doubted and second-guessed the egghead till somebody else got eaten. But Perfectoid recognizes Rhonda as a necessary component to aid and guide his gut instincts, even when she doesn't have the answer. Her protests, of course, go unnoticed: "Why does everyone keep asking me?" It is she who recognizes the graboids' method of finding their prey--the sound waves or "tremors" they sense--but it's up to the action-oriented players to put that knowledge to use.

We see in Burt and Heather Gummer the dual nature of our predilection for brute force. She is calmly accepting of the notion that force can solve problems, while he takes an almost childlike joy in vanquishing foes through superior firepower: "Guess you broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn't ya!" We recognize in them our need to fear and loathe the socialists, the cults, the damn ceaseless yipping of our neighbor's dog; our need to avail ourselves of the means to destroy them. However, the Gummers' preparedness for the apocalypse, though useful, is actually nothing like Earl's desire to adapt the plan to new information. When confronted with something they didn't expect, they are nearly destroyed: "Food for five years, a thousand gallons of gas, air filtration, water filtration, Geiger counter, bomb shelter. Underground...goddamn...monsters."

Walter is greed, pure and simple. The desire in each of us to profit from the misfortunes of others, our sick ability to ignore the dangers to ourselves in the process. Though likable and able to be generous at need--giving Rhonda new pants and shoes when she's stripped escaping a graboid--he ultimately was predestined to get thrown to the wolves for taking advantage of Val and Earl's naivete.

And little Melvin is simply that asshole part of Perfectoid that exists to annoy everyone else. We all have it, but it's too precious a reminder of our misspent youth to destroy--we must keep him alive to punish him, by giving him an unloaded gun to fight the monsters, by covering him with the guts of an exploded graboid.

The other characters--survivors and victims alike--are the miscellaneous flotsam of Perfectoid's crowded soul. Some are useless, or never seen alive in the film, the many discarded childhood indignities we no longer recognize on a conscious level. The doctor and his wife, certainly, are our hopes for a better future, living in comfort among natural beauty beneath a wide sky, and it's no mistake they get killed early.

Whether we recognized it at the time or not, those of us who came into our inheritance during those foul years of the 1990s have lived the plot of Underwood's masterpiece. We were bold, we were witty, and...many of us survived. We've routed out our youthful graboids, we've slain the beasts that lurked just below the surface threatening to consume us whole, agonizingly. For now at least. There will be the inevitable sequels, but the luster will be gone, Perfectoid will be less whole, and we'll waddle into our dotages witnessing friends' disappearances with less compassion.

For reasons that will most likely never be made clear, I saw this film at least six times in a six-month period last year. Once at a bar. Couple times in various stoned-out laugh-fests around the circuit as I traveled and mooched off friends. Other times in late-night motel rooms, and once during a nasty, shaky detox in Tampa, Fla.

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