Exactly 25 years have passed since a little film called Tremors arrived in US cinemas on 19th January 1990 to scare, shock and bemuse viewers around the country.
The antics of Val McKee, Earl Bassett, Burt and Heather Gummer, Walter Chang, a handful of their friends and neighbours and some giant underground worms in the small Nevada town of Perfection have since become legendary.
This week I plan to celebrate the silver anniversary of Tremors with daily blog posts covering various aspects of the franchise. First off, I’ve been asking fans on Twitter and Facebook to tell me their earliest memories of watching Tremors, with many of them worth publishing here.
I first saw Tremors on BBC One here in the UK on 28th November 1992 at 21.25 (if the BBC’s Genome project is to be believed) and was struck by the film’s mixture of comedy and horror. It’s pure entertainment from start to finish, with not a second wasted on extraneous detail. I was clearly impressed enough to want to write a book about the franchise of three (soon to be four) sequels and a TV series, though I didn’t realise it at the time.
So, it’s over to the fans to explain why they love the film so much. Tomorrow I’ll let Tremors director Ron Underwood explain a bit more about how the film came to be in a new podcast, but until then here’s an email I received last week…
Tremors is one of my all-time favourite film series; it’s rather difficult to just convey everything through just some words. I’ll try to be as short as I can. You can just feel the love, creativity and dedication that was put behind the script, characters and creature designs. They were adventurous, thrilling, funny, and most of all full of heart. Wilson and Maddock really put their signature into it.
I was introduced to the series back in 2002-2003, when Tremors 2 was aired on a local TV channel at a very late hour. Despite being pretty young back then, I stayed until the very end. The creatures of the film immediately captured my imagination — they were unlike anything I had ever seen, and they looked incredibly believable. Tremors 2 portrays incredibly life-like creatures, despite its low budget. There is a scene where one of the Shriekers is thrashing the Volvo’s engine; it rears its head and rotates it slightly. It’s a simple shot, but the character feels organic and alive. I also loved the sound effects, and found the signature ‘shriek’ both ominous and intriguing.
Needless to say, Tremors 2 really had got me hooked, so I began hunting for the first film; I quickly acquired a VHS after some months (the film was rare at the time). Again, a fantastic experience. Tremors is one of the last great all-practical Monster films, with an excellent mixture of full size animatronics and miniature effects — with a brilliant continuity between shots, so much that I did not realize many sequences are actually small scale Graboids in miniature sets! Both ADI and the Skotak brothers brought to the screen absolutely wonderful special effects.
The VHS got worn out over some time due to how much I watched the film. Some time later, thanks to a local video rental shop, I was able to see the third and the — recently released — fourth films. The Tremors series was also aired over a short time, and I managed to see the entirety of it twice. The Graboids and their life cycle were among my favourite subjects to draw and write about. I even remember writing a whole essay (on a ruled sheet of paper, no less) about their biology and ecology, complete with printed images glued to the top and sides. Around 2006 I bought the Legacy Boxset — the one I currently own and display proudly in my home video collection.
I’ve watched the films again regularly ever since, and still today they are among the films I am most affectioned to (the first two particularly). It’s great to know good old Tremors has come this far and is so fondly remembered by so many people across the world. 25 years of Underground Monsters. Awesome.
On Facebook I asked for some memories of the first film and you can see them by clicking the word balloon on the post below: