In this affectionate send-up of schlocky ‘50s creature features, podunk cowpokes Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward finally wise up and try to ditch their nowhere desert town, but it just so happens to be the very day giant prehistoric man-eating sandworms begin sucking the townspeople underground.
Scary-fun and retro drive-in, Tremors was released during a time when the “animals attack” subgenre had all but become extinct, but Ron Underwood’s horror-comedy served as a reminder of why it was such a staple in the first place. While decidedly cheeky in tone (the monsters are called “graboids”), the film’s shocks are nonetheless geniune, with tension ramped to seismic levels. Like Jaws before it, Tremors distinguishes itself from bargain-bin monster-movie fare with inspired casting choices for the affably rag-tag townsfolk—notably Michael “Family Ties” Gross and country singer Reba McEntire as a pair of endearingly nutjob survivalists, overjoyed that the day has finally come to mobilize their arsenal of elephant guns.
Director: Ron Underwood. 96min. 1990. 35mm.
Part of the series Basic Cable Classics.
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