Tremors (1990)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Clever story, great actors

B-Movie monsters might not sit well with all viewers

Movie Info

Movie Name: Tremors

Studio: Universal Studios

Genre(s): Horror/Comedy/B-Movie

Release Date(s): January 19, 1980

MPAA Rating: PG-13


In the ground, no one can hear you scream…

There is something under the ground in the desert town of Perfection.  When Val McKee (Kevin Bacon) and his business partner Earl Basset (Fred Ward) decide to get out of town, their plans are stopped by the discovery of a body.  The body they find is the first of many because something is preying on the people of Perfection.  With the help of a seismology student named Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), Finn, Earl, and the people of Perfection must get out of the valley before killer underground worms devour them all.

Directed by Ron Underwood, Tremors was a horror comedy.  The movie was a surprise hit with critics and fared well at the box office due to the relatively low budget.  Since the release of the film, Tremors has become a cult classic.

I can recall that Tremors was almost a joke when it was released.  Allegedly, Kevin Bacon was lamenting having to make the film and saw it simply as a paycheck…he has since changed his mind about the project.  I was excited by Tremors and saw it when it was released in the theater.  I was not disappointed.


Maybe they’d like to play 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon?

Tremors‘ script can really be credited with a lot of the success.  It is fun and funny.  The movie was originally going to be rated R due to the language (and not graphic horror).  A toned down version actually helps since it opens the movie up to a bigger audience.  The movie keeps finding way to get the characters into more and more problems, but they still seem realistic.  It is the fun combination of

Tremors has a great cast, mostly built around Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, and made of character actors.  Reba McEntire made her film debut as the gun-toting wife Heather Gummer and was joined by Family Ties alum Michael Gross (one day after shooting the final episode).  Twin Peaks and Little House on the Prairie alum Charlotte Stewart played the mother of future Jurassic Park star Ariana Richards.  Chinese-American character actor Victor Wong played store owner Walter Chang.  The nice ensemble cast works well together in a plot which premise is pretty laughable.


Broke into the wrong basement!

The “Graboids” as they are nicknamed in the movie are a great B-Movie monster.  The design of the creature is nice and the puppet work is good.  The movie also gives the monsters a personality and makes a major villain out of the smartest Graboid “Stumpy.”  The way that the movie is shot, the monster rarely has to be shown…the underground cam is kind of lame, but the movie is shot in a fast, quick method that really sells the picture.

Tremors is a fun movie.  It is over-the-top, goofy, and smart at the same time.  It is aware that it is cheesy and instead of bucking the trend, it accepts it.  I can remember people questioning why Kevin Bacon would be in a movie like Tremors, but it turns out that Bacon had the last laugh.  Tremors was followed by the straight-to-video Tremors 2:  Aftershocks in 1996.

Related Links:

Tremors 2:  Aftershocks (1996)

Tremors 3:  Back to Perfection (2001)

Tremors 4:  The Legend Begins (2004)

Tremors 5:  Bloodlines (2015)

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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