Saturday, October 10, 2009

HORROR EPICS: Tremors (1990)

From what I remember, the 1990s weren’t a particularly great time for horror movies. But here’s one from the '90s that may be underrated by horror buffs due to certain cast members. As a tiny ex-mining town with fourteen residents in all, Perfection, Nevada is anything but aptly named. Valentine (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are probably the two coolest dudes in town, but they’re tired of living a hand-to-mouth existence as the local handymen. There’s only so much economic opportunity in a town of fourteen people, after all. They decide to pack up and relocate, but some strange goings-on around Perfection force them to stay a little longer. The town drunk is discovered at the top of an electrical tower with a loaded rifle clutched in his cold, dead hands. Old Fred the sheepherder has been senselessly butchered along with his flock. Two guys working on the road are also killed, and a landslide has blocked the only route out of town. With the help of a pretty Michigan State student conducting seismology tests in the area, they eventually discover that Perfection is under attack by a group of underground creatures that resemble the giant worms in Dune. Help is clearly not on the way, so it’s up to Perfection’s remaining citizenry to fight off these nefarious worms that intend to dig the town out from under them. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward have an easy time playing the cool guys, which is to be expected since you’ve seen them play these characters in practically every movie they’ve been in. But special mention must go to Michael Gross and country singer Reba McEntire as the crazy survivalist couple. Who would have thought that the guy who played ultra-white liberal Stephen Keaton on “Family Ties” could do such a good job as a paranoid, gun-toting hick? With Reba as his wife, the two are often on the verge of stealing the show. I know it’s not as gory or fucked up as other Horror Epics (rated PG-13 and all), but rest assured that Tremors is just as entertaining as anything else reviewed here. A harmless throwback to schlocky 1950s horror movies that is legitimately fun to watch, thanks to the absence of bloodshed. How refreshing is it to occasionally watch a movie that delivers the thrills and chills without the violence? Refreshing enough to where Tremors is highly recommended! Followed by three perfectly adequate sequels, if my memory serves me correctly.

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