Nothing Like Taking Regular Trips Back To Perfection!
Earl Bassett: “I ask ya: is this a job for an intelligent man?”
Valentine McKee: “Well, show me one and I’ll ask him.”
“I can’t believe we said no to free beer!”
Brad can’t believe that it’s 27 years to the day since Tremors – one of the most enjoyable monster movies of recent times – appeared in cinemas. So, how about a retro-review?
This is a prime example of a movie that sunk without trace at the box office, yet became a smash hit on the video rental circuit and is now regarded as a cult classic – still holding up with a respectable 85% on Rotten Tomatoes!
It’s not important that the origins of the (prehistoric?) crypto-beasties here – giant worm-like creatures nicknamed: “graboids” – are never explained, this captivating tribute to 1950s low-budget desert-based sci-fi-thrillers such as Them! and It Came From Outer Space boasts a stellar, better-than-expected script that works wonders in developing such entertaining central characters – who must be (two bums-with-hearts-of-gold) Val and Earl.
“We deny everything!”
Fred Ward is Earl Bassett, while Valentine McKee is played by Kevin Bacon – oh yes! Kevin Bacon!
No one handles garbage better than they do!
And they always determine which one is going to do something by playing rock-paper-scissors…
A clever mix of action and humour, and along with its catchy old-timey harmonica score, Tremors always – no matter how many times you watch it! – offers a real feelgood movie experience.
“We decided to leave town just one damn day too late!”
“Broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn’t ya, you bastard?!” – Burt Gummer.
The “City” of Perfection is, literally, stuck in the middle of nowhere, consisting of three buildings and the odd shack or “mobile” home; population: 14. With the phones out and exit-road blocked, naturally, the sense of isolation accentuates the fear factor. The unprecedented action that ensues centres around Walter Chang’s Market.
Interstingly, the monsyers – or “motherhumpers” as they are referred to – take their time before they get to hog the cameras. Gradually, in good ol’ monster-movie tradition, the tension builds; something sizeable and sinister lurks under the ground… Somehow, seismographs become scary(!) the boys are shocked to discover a nasty snake-like thing attached to the back of their truck.
“Goddayamn! What the HELL are those things?!”
Then the “snakes” attack their horses…
When the creatures are revealed to their full extent, for the rest of the movie the fx team utilize an impressive array of animatronics, puppets and miniatures.
The appearance of Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter) the “new seismology student” moves proceedings in a charming direction, especially for Val who’s been expecting his Dream Girl to just turn up there out of the blue! Of course, on the very day they decide to drive out of Perfection for good, Val and Earl start to uncover all kinds of crazy shit: that damned ol’ boozehound Edgar stuck high up on a pylon; slaughtered sheep; and a whole station wagon – with both its headlights and radio left on! – buried boot-first in the sand…
Makes a drastic change from their usual humdrum baloney-an’-beans lifestyle!
They even get a chance to do a spot of pole-vaulting with Rhonda! Groovy…
Among the unlucky fourteen, there happens to be doomsday prepper couple: Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and his wife: Heather (Reba McEntire) with their own extensive range of rifles, sub-machine guns and flare pistols(!), ready to blast away at whatever bursts out of the ground…
“Yeah, but where do they come from?!”
Quite clearly, the cast had fun making this; fortunately – in one of those rare cases – the enjoyment is easily passed on to the viewer.
“You didn’t get penetration even with the elephant gun?” – Heather Gummer.
Tremors also holds a rather more personal distinction:
Honestly, yours truly does NOT NEED his own copy, for he can – and has, on numerous occasions – watched this movie in Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Ely (the Cambridgeshire cathedral city famous for its eels – how cool is that?!)… as well as Palembang.
Whatever mood/situation you find yourself in, whatever country you find yourself in, nothing can put your mind at ease quite like Tremors – one of the most universally-broadcasted Universal Pictures ever!
Almost ten years ago, having flown into Palembang, a city on Sumatra – Indonesia’s largest island – to present my research paper into that region’s “lost” pre-Islamic civilization at an Archaeological Conference, everything seemed quite daunting. As you can imagine: a lone, golden-haired stranger landing in the most remote – and rain-lashed – part of the Third Rock From The Sun; hoped the (non-English-speaking) cab driver knew the location of the (right) hotel; had received no confirmation that the moderators had received my power-point presentation as requested; and, ugh, too many more concerns to divulge here!
However, that first evening – while the monsoon raged on into the night – all my worries dissolved as soon as a delicious dish of nasi lemak was delivered straight up to my plush, air-conditioned room from the in-house “ristorant,” and – oh yes! you guessed it! – it was really comforting to find Val and Earl saving Perfection once again (on Channel 38).
Valentine McKee: “Hey, check this out! I found the ass end…!”
Earl Bassett: “Man! That’s one big mother...”