Monday, June 17, 2013

Tremors Week: Tremors

Greetings and welcome to Tremors Week Day 1.   We explore the craze of 1990 when writer Brent Maddock (Short Circuit, *batteries not included, Short Circuit 2, Heart and Souls and Tremors 2: Aftershocks) brought to Universal Studios a creature feature formula of the 1950’s about a series of human and animal attacks and yet no sign of the predator in question.  No tracks, remains or even feces were found.   So grab your Winchester (rifle not Sam or Dean), don’t leave your car running and above all else be cool.  This is Tremors.

Well that's no deer.

Burt Gummer: Broke in the wrong rec room, didn’t you? You spoiler!

Following the resurrection of the creature features in the same way Critters and Gremlins did for the 1980’s; our story begins in the former mining settlement Perfection Nevada.  The population is 14, the area is wide spread prairie and isolation formed from a mountain range.  Handymen Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon of Animal House, Friday the 13th, Footloose, Stir of Echoes and The Following) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward of Escape from Alcatraz, Carny, Southern Comfort, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Off Limits and The Prince of Pennsylvania) have grown sick of this one horse town and the crap jobs that go along with it.   They decide to pack it in and leave for the nearest town called Bixby.

Gullet Cam!!!

On their way out of town they see a man sitting up on an electrical town swaying on the beams.  The boys drag this corpse to the town doctor when he announces the fella died of dehydration.  Baffling as that is local shepherd Old Fred and his flock is viciously attacked by an unknown creature.  Val and Earl past by the ranch to find the sheep have been ripped to pieces and even discover Old Fred’s dead head.  Heh that was too fun. 

Careful honey, Chuck Heston is wily!!!

Thinking there is a lunatic on the loose Val and Earl head back into town to hold a pow wow at the local grocer Chang (Victor Wong of Year of the Dragon, Big Trouble in Little China, The Golden Child, The Last Emperor and Prince of Darkness) survivalist couple Burt (Michael Gross of Family Ties, Alan & Naomi, Avalanche, Tremors II: Aftershocks and True Heart) and Heather (Reba McEntire of North, The Little Rascals, On Night at McCool’s and Reba)  former hippie Nancy (Charlotte Stewart of  Little House on the Prairie, Eraserhead, and  Slums of Beverly Hills) her daughter Nancy (Ariana Richards of Jurassic Park, Timescape and The Lost World: Jurassic Park)grad seismologist Rhonda (Finn Carter of China Beach, Sweet Justice, Secret Service Guy and The Outer Limits) and local horse rancher Miguel (Tony Genaro of Switch, Final Analysis, Equinox, Heart and Souls, Speechless, The Mask of Zorro and Price of Glory) the heads up and that they should be ready.   

Burt and Heather are armed to the teeth look at this as just another excuse to bear arms…possibly arm bears too.  Unbeknownst to our local yokels the threat is far greater as the creatures pop out of the ground and attack.  Will the town go under and will anyone be left to tell the tale?

Yikes just envisioned Hentai for some reason!

I have just a few comments on the FX alone attached to this film.  From scale model work to the roving creature at full scale 4-ward Productions with the assistance of KNB EFX captured every facet of the creature from stop animation, miniatures and pneumatic puppetry.  This film is memorable for performance, dialogue of an amusing nature and its effects.  It’s silly, slightly scary and really amusing.  It had a major influence on the equally ridiculous Lake Placid series.  Take that for what it is worth.