Sunday, March 1, 2009

Movie Review: Tremors

Tremors
Rated PG-13
4 Slimes
Copyright Universal Studios 1990

THE CHARACTERS

Valentine McKee: Kevin Bacon! He’s one of our main heroes! He is one of two of the town’s handymen and is best friends with Earl. He falls in love with Rhonda in the end, which is pretty good for him, considering all the women he goes out with are dumb from what I’ve heard.

Earl Bassett: Fred Ward! He’s our other hero! He is the other handyman in the town and is best friends with Valentine. He’s not so good with stampedes and loves settling things with Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Rhonda LeBeck: She’s a college student studying seismology in the area. Everyone goes to her for information on the monsters in the area, but unlike most intelligent people in other movies, she really doesn’t know anything about the creatures. She and Valentine get together at the end of the film.

Burt Gummer: Michael Gross! A survivalist who is waiting for the Cold War to pick up and is a huge time weapon enthusiast. He stock piles guns and ammo of all kinds in his house/bunker. He is also very good at making bombs. Never, ever break into his rec room!!

Heather Gummer: Reba McEntire! She’s married to Burt and is also a survivalist. She’s the type of woman you don’t want to mess with, especially with her stockpile of weapons.

Walter Chang: He runs the local convenience store, which is basically the only business in the town. Not too many customers in a population of less than 20, so I wonder how he stays in business. He is eaten alive by a Graboid.

Melvin Plug: He’s some teenager in town who is home alone while his parents are out of town. He’s a bit of jerk and is always dribbling a basketball.

Mindy Sterngood: She’s a little girl who is always playing on her pogo stick and listening to her walkman.

Nancy Sterngood: She is Mindy’s mother and the town’s pottery maker.

Miguel: He is a cattle rancher that has had most of his animals eaten by the Graboids.

Nestor: He lives in a trailer and is eaten by a Graboid. He didn’t contribute much to the film anyway.

Jim & Megan: Jim is the town’s doctor and Megan is his wife. Both become midnight monster chow.

Old Fred: He is a sheepherder and a farmer. I don’t know what he could be possibly farming in the middle of the desert. He’s eaten up to his face by a Graboid.

Edgar Deems: He is the town’s drunk and dies from dehydration by being stuck on top of an electrical tower.

Graboids: These are gigantic worms that move underneath the ground. They can detect their prey by sensing their seismic vibrations and then will attempt to use their tentacles to pull their victims underground. They are incredibly strong, quick, and smart. One is killed when it smashes its skull against a concrete wall of an aqueduct, another is shot to death by Burt and Heather, one is blown up, and the other one goes flying off a cliff.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ Giant worms bleed orange goo.
+ Elephant guns are a giant worm’s worst nightmare.
+ Giant worms can bury a station wagon in less than 10 minutes.
+ Never break into a survivalist’s rec room.
+ A survivalist’s rec room contains shotguns, flare guns, elephant guns, revolvers, submachine guns, and tons of ammo.
+ Giant worms eat people, sheep, bombs, generators, shovels, and the occasional pogo stick.
+ People settle a lot of things using rock, paper, and scissors.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
5 min – Ugh, please take that stuff off your nose.
9 min – What? You didn’t notice any of that?
11 min – GROSS!
17 min – Hey! You struck orange oil!
22 min – 15 bucks for that? I could sell it on EBay for 100!
29 min – Oh come on! Punch him!
32 min – RUN!!!
33 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A CONCRETE AQUEDUCT!
41 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SHOVEL!

44 min –I’m surprised the car is staying on the road.
45 min – Interesting. How did the monster eat them without eating their tool belts?
47 min – I still say punch him!
50 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A POGO STICK AND A TRUCK!
59 min – HOLY CRAP!!! Look at all of those guns!
69 min – HOLD THE PHONE! Where did that third one come from and where does it disappear to later in the film?!
77 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BULLDOZER!

NOTABLE QUOTES
Valentine McKee: What the hell's in those things, Burt?
Burt Gummer: A few household chemicals in the proper proportions.

Valentine McKee: We decided to leave town just one damn day too late!

Valentine McKee: They're mutations caused by radiation. No, wait; the government made 'em. “Big” surprise for the Russians.
Rhonda LeBeck: Well, there's nothing like them in the fossil record... Okay, so they predate the fossil record… That'd make them a couple of billion years old... and we've just never seen one until now. Right.
Earl Bassett: I vote for outer space. No way these are local boys.

Burt Gummer: Broke into the wrong God damn rec room, didn't ya you bastard!

Earl Bassett: Damn it, listen to me. I'm older and wiser.
Valentine McKee: Yeah, well you're half right.

THE PLOT

This is one of the greatest monster movies in recent times that most people love. I haven’t run across a person who didn’t like this film and why not? In a sea of horrible creature flicks, this one stands above them all.

The movie opens up with us meeting Earl and Val. These guys are the handymen of Perfection, Nevada and both of them agree that they don’t want to live there. After a very bad and disgusting incident with sewage, they decide to pack up and leave the town to go to Bixby. On their way out of the sleepy little town of like14 people, they come across one of the residents called Edgar Deems stuck in an electrical tower. When Val climbs off to help get him off of it, he discovers that Edgar is dead. Upon a trip to the doctor, they find out that he died from dehydration, which means he spent a couple of days stuck in the tower. I wonder how the construction crew guys missed him on their way into the area.

Val and Earl head out once again for Bixby while pondering what happened to Edgar, they discover a massacre at Old Fred’s home, another resident of the town who lives like a mile or two away. They find all of his sheep are dead and that Fred has been buried up to his face in the dirt. It’s one of the freakier moments in this show and will surprise any new comer to the series, even if they see it coming.

Both of them return back to town and try to call the cops to come to town for some help. Unfortunately, the phone lines are dead, so they have to drive to Bixby to get the cops to come and help. On their way there, they find the road is out and two construction workers that were working on it earlier are both dead. They return back to town to report what has happen and discovers this long slimly snake like thing clamped to their truck. The residents determine that there must be more of these things around and that they have been the ones killing everyone.

Later that night, the town’s doctor and his wife are killed by the things as well. While this is happening, Earl and Val decide to ride to Bixby on horses to get help, while two other residents of the town, Burt and Heather Gummer, decide to look for a college student named Rhonda Lloyd who is in the area study seismology. Earl and Val arrive at the doctor’s place first and discover what has happen, so they decide to continue forward to their destination quicker.

On the way, they are both attacked by the snake things and make a discovery that the snake monsters are just one part of an even bigger monster that moves underneath the ground. They both make a run for it and try to leap a concrete aqueduct, but fall into it. The monster crashes head first into the concrete and kills itself from the direct blow. Fatality. Rhonda then shows up and they underneath the beast for a closer look. She also grimly tells them there are still more of these things out there since her seismographs have pointed to even more of them.

They head for her truck and are attacked by another monster. They climb on top of a rock, since the giant thing can’t climb up. After waiting a day, they decide to use these poles to catapult themselves from boulder to boulder, until they reached her truck to escape in. Thank God for randomly placed boulders and poles!

They arrive back in town and tell everybody the news about what has happened to them. They also decide on calling the monsters Graboids. Unfortunately, the monsters make it to their town and start attacking them. In the midst of the chaos, Walter Chang, the town’s storeowner, is eaten alive and everyone is forced to retreat to the roofs of the town’s buildings to get out of the Graboids’ range.

Burt and Heather arrive at their home, a mile or two away from the town. Earl and Val call them from a CB radio in the store and alert them about what is happening. They don’t believe it until one of the Graboids attacks their home. Upon attacking them, the couple unleashes hell on the monster with their vast amount of weapons and ammo. I don’t even think gun stores have this much variety in weapons and ammo!

Heather and Burt retreat to their rooftop and Val wants them to use their truck to go get help using an old jeep trail up the mountains. The Graboids, however, start to try to sink the buildings into the ground to get at the people. They succeed by knocking one of the residents, Nestor, off of his trailer and quickly devour him. They also pop the tires on Burt and Heather’s vehicle so that they don’t escape.

Things seem glum for the people, when Val and Earl get an idea. They decide to use the town’s large bulldozer to get everyone to safety, since the Graboids most likely can’t lift the weight of it. They also decide to hook up a tractor trailer onto the bulldozer for plenty of room for people to climb on. Using this method, they rescue all the people and head towards the mountains, since the monsters can’t burrow through solid rock.

On their way there, the Graboids dig a trap for them and sink the bulldozer into the ground. Burt then pulls out one of these homemade bombs he made (I don’t know how he did it, but it’s best probably not to know) and tosses one of them onto the ground, which explodes and sends them fleeing because they are too sensitive to sound. The people make a run for it to a bunch of boulders and are now stuck there. Great thinking!

Luckily, Earl comes up with another plan and decides to use a fishing trick to make the Graboids eat the bombs. It works on the first one, but the last one doesn’t fall for it, and instead pukes the bomb out onto the boulders, which send Rhonda, Earl, and Val flying off. They are now on the ground and stuck in place by the remaining Graboid.

Val comes up with another plan and uses the bomb to send the Graboid flying off of the cliff near them. Thank God for randomly placed cliffs! Everyone returns to town and Val and Rhonda get together at the end to share a kiss. I’m still not a fan of romance in horror films, even in this film, but it was sweet none the less.

In the end, it is a good film to watch and it’s pretty enjoyable. It does a good job of being able to explain certain things about why the monster can’t do this or it can do that so you don’t feel like it you are just suppose to go along with whatever happens without an explanation. The Graboids are impressive to look at and don’t need any of that CGI stuff to make them feel real or cool. I still found some parts pretty cheap, with some random and luckily placed by things to save the heroes now and then, but that isn’t much of a complaint. A great cast, a good story, well done humor, well placed horror, and some great creatures make this film a no brainer when you want to watch a monster film.



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