1990 | dir: Ron Underwood | 96 m
The moment I saw that a new 4K, special edition of Trmors was announced and coming out, I was online securing my preorder. It’s not often a film announcement gets me excited, but here I was, plunking down a relatively serious amount of money for a boxed edition of a film that I had honestly kind of forgotten about. Obviously, my childhood love for the film rushed forward and took charge: sometimes there are just those films that spur you to action, and Tremors is – apparently – one of those.
Does anyone remember Betamax? The alternative format to VHS in the 80s and early 90s, Beta certainly had a comfortable spot in my families home: the basement television. Along with that top, spring loading player came a library of verifiable 80s movies and dubs, including a deep library of Looney Tunes cartoons, random Godzilla movies, a few films like Firebirds, and of course: Tremors.
When that package arrived in the mail the other week, I quickly took in the nostalgia of the films imagery as presented in a boxed edition that includes a poster, reproduction lobby cards and a lovely book of like-minded essayists. I waited until Saturday night, topped up the popcorn and put the film on, and was awash in that wonderful, dusty world of comedy, horror and action as iconic heroes Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward lead a town to overcome an infestation of giant ground worms who have a dangerous taste for people. Everything is as I remember it to be, but now with an increased fidelity thanks to a proper remaster in a modern high-resolution format. Unlike some lesser or perhaps more appropriately, unfortunate films, the practical special effects really shine through. Sometimes I think that a lot of those effects in film benefitted from watching them on a small, blurry television in an old format as it can hide a bit of the magic, but that’s not the case here: everything looks fantastic.
It looks great in no doubt to the desert setting and fully constructed town of Perfection: there’s a beautiful clarity, consistency and energy in having most of the film shot outside and during the day. There’s nothing to hide here, really, and it’s evident everyone on set is having a blast and that kind of passion comes through in the reels. The monsters are a perfect mix that is sure to satisfy any fan of creature-feature films: they are big, gross and intimidating, and just smart enough to pose a very real threat to our stranded townsfolk. As ridiculous a concept as it may be, the film brings gore, suspense and the body count up to keep true to its horror roots, then mixes in a hefty serving of humour that makes the overall tone of the film quite accessible. Tremors also benefits from a short, efficient run time that keeps the film crackling without much to slow down on.
It’s incredibly pleasing to revisit an old favourite and still have the film stand the test of time: nostalgia did not cloud fond memories here. In fact, my overall rating of the film went nowhere but up, and I look forward to not only visiting all the sequels this film generated (I haven’t seen a single one of them) but also to revisit this entry again.