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.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Tremors 3: Back To Perfection (2001)

I hate repeating myself but since it fits this series: I really don't like creature features. The Tremors movies are a definite exception. Even with this third installment when usually movie franchises start to wind down it still managed to come up with good stuff. I was supposed to do this some time ago and it's not that I didn't want to, but my friend Tim Forston is very smart and very funny and it takes all my brain power to keep up with him and I just haven't had it. Still don't, so I hope I don't muck this one up. And Tim starts:

Tim: As the title says, this installment to the Tremors series takes us back to Perfection, Nevada.

Shoy: Otherwise known as Santa Clarita, California.

Tim: We're going to do this again?

Shoy: Yup.

Tim: Sigh. Aaand we jump straight into the action with everyone's favorite monster hunter Burt Gummer. He's been hunting some Shriekers in... Argentina. Yeah, that is totally random. We are told that the local authorities couldn't handle a single Graboid that exploded into Shriekers. And this time Burt is prepared for some totally Gummerific overkill.

Shoy: Sounds like a candy.

Tim: Shush, adults are talking. Once he's finished we then head back to Perfection. We arrive and see Miguel from the first movie...

Shoy: I didn't see him.

Tim: Clean your glasses. We learn that Burt has recently Graboid-proofed his compound with a two foot thick steel reinforced wall around his land. Sides AND bottom. How he got it underneath his house we may never know. Creative license I guess.

Shoy: Maybe carpenter moles?

Tim: Really?

Shoy: What, they're not union?

Tim: Can you please be quiet for five minutes? Then we meet Jodi Chang, Walter's niece (you all remember him) who has taken over Chang's market. She has in inventory some awesome comic books: Graboids, Shriekers, Graboids vs Shriekers - an important plot point - man would I like to get my hands on those!

Shoy: I actually checked to see if they ever existed - after all in the movies the comics are supposed to be made by Dark Horse, a company in Milwaukie, Oregon (neighboring Portland) - about an hour from where I live and makers of my fave comic series (You might know a couple - one, for example, is Hellboy). 

So I found a site that claims to be the 'ultimate Tremors facts page' and the answer is: 'Yeah, we know. But the answer is always the same: Universal does not seem to be interested in pursuing those ideas.' I guess they say that 'cause there's also people clamoring for action figures and other movie memorabilia...

Tim: If they had them, I'd have them. And I don't. So they don't.

Shoy: That's what I just said.

Tim: Oh, I wasn't listening, sorry. Not. So we learn that the Argentinians gave Burt a very expensive watch that updates the accuracy of its time by ultrasonic frequencies. Why do they point that out you may ask? Plot point! Plot point! Plot point!

Shoy: Calm down worm boy.

Tim: Ahem. Meanwhile, Earl and Grady have made a successful monster theme park - but not in this movie.

Shoy: Then why -

Tim: Aaaand we then meet Perfection's newest entrepreneur/scam artist 'Desert' Jack Sawyer. He is running a pseudo Graboid tour. He takes tourists out in the desert...

Shoy: And shoots them in the head, burying them and taking all their possessions.

Tim: My God, you're sick! Which movie were you watching, anyway?

Shoy: Sorry, guess all the horror movies got to me.

Tim: Anyway, he fakes a Graboid attack with dust plumes and a video, then gets everyone 'safely' to a rock and sells extremely overpriced sodas and beer - he's making a killing - in money, Shoy. Back in town we learn Mindy (Ariana Richards) is back in town, because she had to quit school. The writers had a sense of humor in this one, throwing in an in-joke about Graboids being called 'Tremors' (small chuckle). Unfortunately, Jack Sawyer, while conducting one of his 'tours' finds that the worms have returned. His assistant is eaten by an actual Graboid (good thing he was an unlikable idiot).

Shoy: And I'm sick?

Tim:  Jack, Mindy and Jack's customers barely manage to escape to warn the town as Jack's only pistol is a prop, and Burt determines there are three Graboids in the area. He's instantly ready to go hunting but Nancy thinks they should call in the cavalry, pointing out that they aren't cut off this time. He disagrees but she goes behind everyone's back and contacts the Feds.

Shoy: Who was Nancy?

Tim: Mindy's mother - didn't you pay attention?

Shoy: Yes, I did... mostly. Sometimes. I think.

Tim: You. Are. Ridiculous. As in real life with endangered species (even if they're dangerous to humans), a team of government agents show up and try to do what they do best - kick out the people and protect the Graboids. Isn't Eminent Domain wonderful? A brief definition for those not familiar with that term: Eminent Domain refers to the power possessed by the government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction. 

That's fancy talk for if they want it, they take it - even if it's really yours. It's Burt's worst nightmare. In order to keep his reinforced bunker, Burt agrees to help the Feds capture a Graboid by means of tranquilizers. This way he and the other residents get to kill the other two and keep their homes. And we get to reacquaint ourselves with everyone's favorite turd, Melvin Plug - last seen in Tremors 1.

Shoy: Hey, careful - this is a kid friendly site... wait, no it isn't - sorry, go ahead.

Tim: He has grown from an annoying teenager to an annoying adult real estate agent who wants to turn Perfection into a huge subdivision. He quickly runs off however when he sees Burt get eaten. WHAT? Burt eaten? Oh, he got swallowed all right, but he was inside a conveniently placed steel barrel and now is the only survivor of a Graboid snack. Jack drives and leads the Burt-laden Graboid through Burt's gate (not quite through, it's been Graboid-proofed) and a chainsaw later sees that our hero has come back (whew). Graboids turn into Shriekers like in Tremors 2...

Shoy: My turn. Again doing research, Tremors 1 and most of 2 was done the old fashioned way - the Graboids were full-sized puppets or miniatures in some scenes. In Tremors 2, the Shriekers were CGI'd but because the software was, I dunno, outdated or something, they couldn't use the same stuff so for Tremors 3 both the Graboids and new models of Shriekers made from laser scans of the old are CGI'd.

Tim: Huh. Like I was saying, Graboids turn into Shriekers and some Feds get eaten (no big surprise there). While preparing to hunt down the Shriekers our characters get trapped on a rock.

Shoy: You'd think that by the third movie they'd have learned not to do that.

Tim: (Covering ears) One Graboid did not charge because it's an albino (Plot point!). After the characters are saved from the rock, they discover empty husks, showing that the Shriekers have yet again evolved into something else. Their new foe shows up quickly and we now know that not only are they aggressive, but they can also fly! Well, maybe not FLY, it's more like they shoot a flame out of their ass and glide.

Shoy: I don't think you should use the words 'ass' and 'glide' in the same sentence.

Tim: If you can't say anything nice don't say... oh wait, that's what you do.

Shoy: You just now figured that out?

Tim: So it's not me?

Shoy: Nah, I like you.

Tim: Imagine my relief *facepalm*. Hence our new creatures are called Ass Blasters (yes, you read that right and I've gagged Shoy so no more butt jokes). Burt and company make it back to his compound (minus Miguel - R.I.P.) and learn quickly that his Graboid-proof place is NOT Ass Blaster proof. They have to flee using Burt's escape tunnel and since he believes the Ass Blasters will eat like their predecessors, making tons of them, he sacrifices his huge supply of M.R.E.'s by blowing up his house. Nice big boom. THEN Nancy  tells him that the food would have rendered them comatose, and not reproductive like the previous evolution. Do you know how much M.R.E.'s cost?

Shoy: Okay, an average M.R.E. (that's meals ready to eat to you civilians) are $45 to $60 per case. Assuming you get one in the middle and there's reasonable shipping - if a case is $50, that's still steep considering a case contains only 12 meals, which at $50 (a fantastic deal of yesteryear) is $4.16 per meal. And Burt had stockpiled a freaking warehouse full of them practically so not only was this a whole lot of (barely edible) food that he blew up for nothing, it was also a freaking lot of money.

Tim: How'd you get that gag off? Have you ever had an MRE?

Shoy: Sorry, I'm not into eating cardboard..

Tim: Didn't you write about an article that said we're already eating a whole lot of cellulose in our prepared foods 'cause the FDA doesn't care about it being a non-food 'cause it's not poisonous? You've been eating it for years my dear.

Shoy: Good point. And an apology to the brave men and women depending on them for sustenance.

Tim: So our friends hide in a boat Burt has in the middle of the desert (don't ask) and all seems lost - they've managed to blow some up but one is about to eat Burt - until he realizes it's his super-expensive watch that's attracting it. It's also attracting the albino Graboid so Jack, showing some brains for once, pins the watch to the Ass Blaster which makes the albino Graboid (also known as El Blanco) eats it, saving Burt's life.

Shoy: There is one Ass Blaster left, and Nancy manages to sell the captive Ass Blaster to Siegfried and Roy while Jodi and Jack pursue a romantic interest, depressing Mindy who had a small crush on him. Meanwhile, Melvin tries again to approach Burt about selling his land. 

But El Blanco is now classified as an endangered species and illegal to hunt. Since the Graboid won't change or have tons of babies, the town of Perfection is gonna live and let live. Burt then leaves Melvin standing on the rock, stranded while El Blanco circles, Melvin cursing Burt angrily as he drives away.

Tim: What did you do, copy the wiki?

Shoy: Well, kind of. They put the ending in a lot shorter paragraph than I had.

Tim: Why does that not surprise me? I think Tremors 3 was very good and did the series justice. Not AS good as Tremors 1 and 2 maybe, but good nonetheless. I did have a couple of problems with the production. As Shoy said, the Graboids were CGI'd in this version and I thought the Graboids looked a lot like penises. They could have been fined for that - LOL. 

Secondly, lots of sci-fi movies steal little special effects clips from other movies. This one steals two from the original Tremors and they are not very well spliced. But all in all no major complaints.

Shoy: Are you sure? That's what we're here for.

Tim: It's what YOU are here for. This movie was also pretty much a set-up for a hoped-for TV series which was eventually made two years later. Plus was followed with yet another sequel in 2004 - Tremors IV: The Legend Begins. It was set in 1881...

Shoy: 1889.

Tim: Aren't you a fussy little... anyway, it starred Michael Gross as Grandpa Hiram Gummer (*putting hands over eyes* OMG). Well, you will learn about that later I'm sure (Ever heard of a punt gun?).

Shoy: A punt gun is a type of extremely large shotgun used in the 19th and early 20th centuries for shooting large numbers of waterfowl for commercial harvesting operations and private sport.

Tim: Wiki is giving you kickbacks for this aren't they?

Shoy: No, but they should. That movie was set in Rejection Valley which is, of course, the predecessor of Perfection Valley.

Tim: Quiet, that's for another movie review, another time.

Once again I thank Tim Forston for letting me tease the crap out of him - it's almost more fun than the movie reviews. Hell it IS more fun to tangle with the little knucklehead. I say that with lots of affection - we ain't no Siskel and Ebert here, just a couple of movie watchers with a lot to say. I'm looking forward to Tremors 4 coming soon to a review... right here.