Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

AN ABOVE AVERAGE CREATURE FEATURE WHICH LEAD TO... A WHOLE BUNCH MORE CREATURE FEATURES AKA ATTACK OF THE SUBTERRANEAN B-MOVIES



Tremors (1990)

Well today (July 22) is a day of import I guess. A new heir to the English throne has been born (YAWN) and unfortunately we have lost a very talented actor who will be sorely missed - Dennis Farina. He was 69. Oh, and if you like FB rumors, Eddie Murphy died - again. Woof I am massively tired of rumors. It's gotten so bad that even though I found out about Mr. Farina on Joe Mantegna's site, I STILL looked it up just in case. Some celebrities 'die' on a regular basis and I wanted to make sure. Mr. Farina was 69.

I really don't like creature features, although I will watch one or two if it's supposed to be really good. I suppose you could call the Men In Black trilogy a kind of creature feature, a certain Japanese movie with worms I just reviewed and this one. It's described as a western monster movie. With worms. When Tim Forston, a guy of great wit and insight wanted to do this series I kind of went 'meh'. But then I watched the movie again. I had seen it when it first came out but apparently I forgot most of it because I really enjoyed this. So here we go and I'm going to let Tim start this one:

Tim: If you think of a movie starring Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire among others the first thing you think might not be a 60's-esque creature feature, with a miserly (in movie amounts) 11 million dollar budget. That would be TOTAL budget friends and neighbors and not just for Kevin Bacon and Reba's talent. But the movie Tremors would be right up there in the list of things I think of.

Me: Truthfully it was BECAUSE of who starred in it that I really didn't want to see it. And since I'm always looking at the inflation index, that budget in today's dollars would be $31,171,650.00. And what the hell is with Kevin Bacon's hair? That gave me giggles through the whole movie - kept wanting to call him 'Chucky'. Child's Play HAD been out for two years when this movie was released soooo...

Tim: Written by Brent Maddock, Ron Underwood and S. S. Wilson (he also wrote Short Circuit and Batteries Not Included among his other credits) the movie has a very basic premise: What if there was something under the ground, and you couldn't walk on the dirt without being hunted?

Me: I'd think I was in a dirt version of Dune but that's just me...

Tim: The place? Perfection, NV, a small (population around 12 and falling) town in the middle of the desert.

Me: HA! There IS sand around there somewhere! And a movie factoid said there were 14 people although 17 people could be seen during the movie....

Tim: Shut up. A haven  from civilization surrounded by mountains and cliffs. First you meet the odd couple of Perfection, Val and Earl (Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward), two handymen whose motto is 'We plan ahead so we don't have to do anything right now.'

Me: So Chucky and Remo Williams hang out together for really no discernible reason.

Tim: Are you going to let me do this?

Me: By all means, please continue.

Tim: They finally decide that they have had enough working for money that's just enough to get by from meal to meal and plan to move to the 'big city' (compared to Perfection) of Bixby, oft spoken of but never seen (in this movie). In town we meet most of the populace. There's Walter, the proprietor of Chang's Market which is the only hangout and business. Also Nancy, the town hippie and single mother of Mindy (Ariana Richards, most popularly known as Lex from Jurassic Park).

Me: Except she's all grown up now and living in Salem Oregon, concentrating on her painting in between acting gigs.

Tim: There's Burt and Heather Gummer, the valley's survivalist para-military paranoids. 

Me: Today we call them realists.

Tim: The main characters and stars of the film are the oft hidden graboids.

Me: The best choice of the names they (the characters) considered giving them I think. The other choices were snakeoids and suckoids.

Tim: You don't even see the creatures for the first half of the movie but it just adds to the mystery. The storyline is a little jaded. Guys trying to leave town find a dead body, go back, and conveniently get trapped in the valley by a 'graboid' induced rock slide. But there is just something about it.

Me: Yeah, it's called the land of incredible coincidences.

Tim: Hush. I'm driving. The cast couldn't be better. There are nice explosions and a good shoot out in the basement of the aforementioned survivalist. Even a little bit of falling in love. One of the best things they did in my humble opinion is cut the cliche' scene of 'finding the spaceship' and leaving the origins of the graboids open. It really worked out better if you look at the big picture. All in all I give Tremors a 10 out of 10, but I am a bit biased as it has been my favorite movie since I was five years old.

Me: FIVE? Way to make me feel incredibly old, Tim.

Tim: You're welcome. All in all it is a cult classic (and I am in the cult) that spawned three sequels and one season of a television series (13 episodes in all, one of which guest starred none other than the talented Michael Rooker, or as you may know him, Merle from The Walking Dead). A fifth Tremors movie is supposed to be in process (for the last six years, so there you go). Now I will turn it over to Shoy for her two cents - I give this two big thumbs up!

Me: Whew, I'm glad it'll only be two cents, I'm broke. Thanks Tim - it's fun to hear about a movie from someone who loves it like that, it makes teasing you about it fun! I looked up the possibility of a new Tremors movie - for a while they advertised that the same writers would have Tremors 5: The Thunder From Down Under (gee I wonder where this one films <insert sarcasm>) starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and Michael Gross again - with Paul Hogan. The latest information I could get on that was from 2008. Here's the movie poster but, sadly, either this was total wishful thinking or the project just fell apart. The last time the question was asked (over a year ago) unfortunately had the same answer - nope.

As for THIS movie, like I said I must have forgotten most of it, because I actually liked watching Chucky and Remo... sorry, Val and Earl's back-and-forth dialogue, the relationship between Burt and Heather (the survivalist couple), and the fact that the romance between Val and Rhonda (the only single female in the movie, duh) wasn't pushed throughout the movie. Instead the romance was saved for the end and just added to the movie instead of being distracting.

Another thing I liked about this movie is that it is not about ONE person saving a whole town. It's the survivors of the initial attack of the graboids getting together and working as a team - that is much better than, say, have the movie be 'The Kevin Bacon Show'. And the movie duh stuff is mostly left to the young.

If you haven't seen the movie - the graboids come out of nowhere, kill a couple of the townsfolk (who were not being dumb, just being victims) and so Val and Earl stay to save the rest. Among them is Rhonda, the one single girl in the movie - that was a LITTLE convenient that a a graduate student conducting seismology tests would show up JUST NOW. But eh, it's a small point in a pretty good movie. And the explosions - courtesy of the Gummers - were pretty cool. The way the whole thing came together without, as Tim said, trying to explain why all of a sudden the Graboids were there or where they came from was pretty original.

Thanks Tim and I hope you don't mind a little good natured ribbing in the process. Hey, it's what I do.