Non Canon Review: Tremors (1990)

DECEMBER 9, 2007


Screening along with American Werewolf was Tremors, one of my favorite movies (hence the "Non Canon" mark). I had never seen it theatrically, like 99.999% of the rest of the world (I was only 10. What the fuck was your excuse?!?!?), so even though I was tired and needed to pack (I'll be visiting family for a week), I stuck around.

What makes the film work, besides the engaging comic banter, is the sheer number of survivors. If this was a serious monster movie, you can pretty much bet that everyone except Kevin Bacon, the hot seismology chick, the little girl, and her mom (maybe) would be dead by the end of the film. But since it has a light touch, it leaves several folks alive. BUT, since there are a number of deaths as well, this actually makes the film more suspenseful. Anyone can die! That said, I always felt the film ended rather abruptly, and perhaps could have used another death/setpiece. But that’s OK.

I also like how quickly it starts up, despite not seeing the monster for a while. Bacon and Fred Ward find a corpse, a mangled farm, and a car, and figure something is wrong, all in the first maybe 20 minutes. The pace in this film is near perfect. It doesn’t hurt that you will like most of the characters and enjoy “hanging out” with them (I also wish that Victor Wong’s hilarious Mr. Chang character made it a little longer, he’s way more fun than the Mexican guy or the film’s one annoying character, Melvin, both of whom survive).

I really need to get this DVD. Like Werewolf, the presentation was marred by some technical issues on the soundtrack (every other reel was muffled), and if memory serves there’s some decent extras. I’ve only seen the first sequel, and I understand you can get all 4 films pretty cheap, so maybe I’ll pick that up. I remember Tremors 2 being OK enough for a DTV sequel.

What say you?


  1. I saw it in a theater.

    Same as with Warlock (mentioned elsewhere in comments), horror was in such a strange state around 1990 that this movie was a nice break from the interminable dreadful sequels of the day. I remember "Tremors" as particularly fun *and* imaginative.

  2. I loved Tremors, I was in that 99.999999% of course I was 16 when it came out so I didn’t have an excuse. This is one of my favorite movies of all times, although I didn’t much care for the sequels at all. They squeezed every last dollar they could out of the franchise that is for sure. Not that it keeps me from enjoying the original when I can; I found it on the Cinemax page on DISH Online last weekend, so I had to stop and watch it, still as funny as I remember it. This is one of the only movies I can agree with the self proclaimed movie nerd I work with at DISH, he hasn’t put up one con to me about the movie, which he always has something bad to say about every movie.

  3. This was without a doubt one of the best movies that flew under the radar inthe 90's. it was so unassuming yet loads of fun, with a very unique and creative monster. I first watched this with my family at home on laserdisc. I think I was 12 or so at the time.

    The sequels though were all rubbish and got worse as the sequel count went up. Such a shame, none of them could match the pace of the original. I still watch it every now and then today and its still a great watch.


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