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Tremors
Im Land der Raketen-Würmer / Land Sharks / Beneath Perfection / Dead Silence

USA 1990
produced by
Brent Maddock, S.S. Wilson, Gale Anne Hurd (executive) for No Frills Film Production, Wilson-Maddock Production/Universal
directed by Ron Underwood
starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Robert Jayne, Charlotte Stewart, Tony Genaro, Ariana Richards, Richard Marcus, Victor Wong, Sunshine Parker, Michael Dan Wagner, Conrad Bachmann, Bibi Besch, John Goodwin, John Pappas
story by S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Ron Underwood, screenplay by S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, music by Ernest Troost, special effects by MB Special Effects, Art Brewer Special Effects, International Special Effects, creature effects by Amalgamated Dynamics, miniature effects by 4-Ward Productions, visual effects by Fantasy II Film Effects

Tremors

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Valentine (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) finally want to make it out of their godforsaken hometown in the middle of the desert, where they are pretty much the handimen of the handful of locals, but literally on their way out, they stumble over one dead body after the next, and as they return to town to report this, something destroys the only road out - something that turns out to be some kind of big snake that at one point got hold of their car's axle and which they dragged to death. To report this in the next bigger town and to get the road cleared, they take horses ... but on the way are attacked by something big they - as in big as a truck - that kills their horses and that they manage to kill rather by mistake than design when running. They stumble upon a seismologist, Rhonda (Finn Carter), whose best guess is that the creature is some pre-prehistoric monster living underground and hunting exclusively by vibration. And the problem is, the creature they have killed isn't the only one, there are more out there. Valentine, Earl and Rhonda return to town to take up residence at the local convenience store with most of the other locals, a place that soon proves to be unsafe enough for them to hide from the creatures on the roof. Meanwhile, gun-toting locals Gurt (Michael Gross) and Heather (Reba McEntire), who have moved here to build their perfect bomb shelter, manage to take out one of the creatures with an enormous amount of firepower, but the other creatures learn from that. Eventually, all the surviving locals try to make it out of town on a 30 ton caterpillar they figure too heavy for the creatures - but the creatures learn and can even render the caterpillar useless, leaving the survivors stranded on a formation of rocks - which the creatures can't climb - and thus in relative safety. But the creatures are waiting, and a rock formation with nowhere to go is sure to wear them all out before long ...

 

Frankly, Tremors is a film that has no business being nearly as good as it is. And having said that, of course, I'm a fan of creature features from the 1950s, which this film pays loving homage to without any post-modernist winking to the audience - but frankly, I believe Tremors can also speak to people indifferent to creature features, as it doesn't relie so much on violence and its effects - as well as they are - but on interesting and colourful characters that have strong character motivations - other than just wanting to be heroes - and good arcs, and who are embodied by a pretty great ensemble. Other than that, one can't but notice that the dialogue never feels generic and is surprisingly free of mainstays despite genre-typical situations, while plotwise these standard situations are pieced together in an original way, and the whole thing flows wonderfully smoothly from beginning to end.

Now surprisingly, upon its release, Tremors was only a modest success - as in, it made a profit, albeit small - but has turned into a hit on home video and eventually (as of early 2021) spun off into no less than 6 sequels, a short-lived TV series and another TV pilot that never evolved past that state. But one thing's for sure, Tremors itself has absolutely earned its status as a cult favourite!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD