NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA REVIEW SWAP BLOGATHON: TREMORS 1990

This post is part of Cinematic Katzenjammer’s NOT-SO-SECRET SANTA REVIEW SWAP blogathon spearheaded by Nick. When I signed up to do this a month ago, I was a bit nervous what movie I’d end up getting, ahah. Well, it turns out to be a pretty fun movie!

TREMORS (1990)

TREMORSposterA small town gradually becomes aware of a strange creature which picks off people one by one. But what is this creature, and where is it? At the same time, a seismologist is working in the area, she detects _tremors_. The creature lives underground, and can ‘pop up’ without warning. Trapped in their town, the town-folk have no escape.

Director: Ron Underwood
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Reba McEntire


I read on IMDb that although Tremors was not a big hit during its theatrical run, the film became a runaway smash in the home video market, and ultimately tripled its original box office gross with VHS sales and rentals. I’ve actually read a couple of reviews not too long ago and seems that this film is well-loved, some consider it a classic. Well, now that I’ve seen it, I totally see the appeal.

There’s an inherently likable and charming quality about this movie. It starts off with two handymen Valentine Mckee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward), two friends who have big dreams that some day they can make something out of themselves and perhaps the key to that is to leave the tiny town Perfection, Nevada. But just as they threw everything in their beat-up truck to get out of town, strange things start to unravel and they soon realize they just might be trapped in Perfection after all.

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The movie poster pretty much gave everything away. We know there’s something lurking beneath the ground, swallowing the town’s sparse residents one by one, but the suspense build-up is pretty good. A grad student Rhonda (Finn Carter) happens to be in town’s desert to study the bizarre seismic activity, which turns out NOT to be volcanic vibrations after all. The three of them ended up teaming up to outsmart the 30-foot giant worms with eel-like tongues. Turns out there are four of them to be exact, and they grow more aggressive with each victim they devour.

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Inspired by 50s monster flicks, Tremors is more humorous than scary. The attack scenes are actually not as gory as I expected, I mean people do get swallowed alive but these monsters are more disgusting and gross than terrifying. What makes the movie so fun are the characters! Kevin Bacon is perhaps the most successful out of the other actors in this movie (not counting Reba’s music career that is). Over two decades and about three-dozen movies later, it’s amazing that Bacon still looks pretty much the same as he was here. In any case, Bacon and Ward have a nice chemistry and their constant banters are amusing. The addition of Rhonda adds a bit of playful sexual tension amongst them. The ‘pole vault’ scene is a fun to watch as Rhonda got a brilliant idea to jump from boulder to boulder as the monsters can’t get to them that way. I include the clip here below:


I feel that this movie is great to watch with a group of friends, as there’s that sense of community where the people all band together to survive. The townsfolk are full of quirky characters as well. There’s Walter Chang (Victor Wong) who owns the only convenience store in town, which ends up becoming one of the hiding place until those monsters are smart enough to rattle the house down to eat them. Then there’s the gun-happy couple Burt & Heather Gummer (Family Ties Michael Gross & Country Music star Reba McEntire), seemingly ready for WW III with their stockpiles of ammunition. The scene of them blasting off one monster with every possible weapon they own is hysterical!! The monsters themselves are kind of goofy looking, well in a gross way, and surprisingly they’re not as dumb as they look.

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So overall it’s quite an enjoyable horror-comedy, so thanks Nick for the movie ‘gift.’ Considering how popular this movie is, now I’m glad to say I’ve seen it. Apparently it’s Ron Underwood‘s feature film debut, which ends up being a rental hit that spawned three sequels and a Syfy network TV series! Underwood is now back doing TV work following the major flop that is The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

Tremors is a perfectly solid, cheesy B movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously nor try to be more than what it is. Not really interested in the sequels though, I’m sure it’s not gonna be as good as the first one anyway.


4 out of 5 reels

Thoughts on this movie? Well, let’s hear it!