directed by Ron Underwood
(Universal, 1990)

This is the movie that began the cult following of Burt Gummer and the great white worm, El Blanco. Tremors is something you love or hate. There does not seem to be any middle ground with this movie trilogy (with the fourth soon to be released) and series. It defies categorization and is a blend of science fiction, old-style horror and action, completely immersed in comedy. Although it never scares you, it will keep you riveted in the action and frequently laughing yourself silly.

The tiny town of Perfection is the remnant of the mining boom in Perfection Valley, Nevada. Located in the middle of the desert, it is completely isolated from civilization, surrounded by mountains and 38 miles from the nearest town, Bixsby. Only a handful of people choose to live in Perfection.

The movie begins by introducing the two oddball heroes, handymen Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) and Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon). Sick of working odd jobs, they decide to leave town, but on their way to the end of the valley, they find a resident hanging on a power line tower. The coroner says he died of dehydration and must have been up there for three or four days. What would make a man sit up there and slowly die? Soon, a pattern of deaths develops that shows something is working its way straight down the valley to Perfection. Worse, falling boulders blocked the only road out of the valley when the road crew was attacked ... and the telephone is dead. The residents are completely cut off from help.

Val and Earl try to go for help but have to U-turn at the rocks. When they get back to town, there is a huge, eel-like creature hanging from the rear axle. Now they have an idea of what is killing the residents, but nothing prepares them for the truth: the thing on their axle is only part of one appendage inside the monster's mouth. The town soon meets the giant slug-shaped worms that are strong enough to pull a station wagon into the ground. This newly discovered creature, dubbed a graboid, hunts by tracking vibrations on the ground's surface: footsteps, vehicles, lawnmowers, loud sounds and so forth.

Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and his wife, Heather (Reba McEntire), are survivalists who chose to move to the valley because it was so remote. Their basement contains an arsenal, with one wall covered by guns of all makes and sizes. They have the latest technology in all warfare gadgets. To actually have an opportunity to use these toys is their ultimate dream. Yet, they sadly discover that they are not prepared to battle an underground creature; dirt is the best bullet-stopping material known.

Can the residents of Perfection find some way to reach safety before they are picked off one at a time? If so, how will they eradicate the creatures, which seem to be growing smarter by the hour, so they can return to their homes? Will the pesky, adolescent, practical joker, Melvin Plug (Bobby Jacoby) survive Val, Earl and Burt in addition to the graboids?

Tremors is nonstop action. There are no dull spots or dry lines. Gross steals the show, but each actor is fantastic. The dynamic, bumbling duo will keep you in stitches as they try to outwit the graboids and save the town.

Order your copy of Tremors and join the graboid cult today.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 23 August 2003

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