Limited Edition in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Last night, I watched “Tremors” again; I had not seen it in many years and I was amazed how much I loved it (and how much I had forgotten about it). The monster movie is just gorgeous to watch in 4K ULTRA HD.
Handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are sick of their dead-end jobs the desert town of Perfection, Nevada with its population of 14. Just as they are about to leave Perfection forever, strange things begin to happen— half-eaten corpses litter the road out of town; the phone lines stop working; and a young female scientist finds evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. It seems that something is coming for the citizens of Perfection and it’s under the goddamn ground. I really love that this is a film that can’t decide if it is a horror film or a comedy.
The threat comes in the form of four house trailer-sized worm-creatures, with multiple serpent like tongues, that tunnel underground before bursting up to devour human prey. All the conventions of the horror genre are here: a small town in the middle of nowhere isolated from outside help and a scientist on hand to study strange seismic phenomena. After that, however, “Tremors” is filled with clichés (but I do not mean that in a negative way). The scientist, for example, is a pretty young woman (Finn Carter) who doesn’t know where the monsters come from or understand why everyone keeps asking her to explain. The handyman heroes then carry on in comedic ways. As the movie moves forward, the pacing and action improve considerably and has a tongue-in-cheek approach while the situation becomes more perilous.
This is a creature feature that successfully won support. Directed by Ron Underwood, this 1990 horror comedy is equal parts scary, daft, witty and warm hearted. The cast is excellent and the screenplay wins us over from the moment the film begins. and a beautifully judged script that will win you over in no time. It uses the idea that the less we see of the monsters, the scarier they are.
Kevin Bacon as slacker handyman Val, doing odd jobs alongside his buddy Earl (Fred Ward) is wonderful as is Ward. They never quite get things together to move out of Perfection. It’s the sort of town one only really sees in Westerns: buildings barely held together, everybody is poor dirt poor and have no real prospects. Then the mysterious deaths begin. As we wait for more deaths, emphasis is placed on strong characters, inventive death sequences and successful pacing. The cast engages enthusiastically with their roles, each deftly drawn and carefully situated within the group dynamic. Michael Gross and Reba McEntire are fantastic as gung-ho survivalist couple, the Gummers, and Finn Carter provides more than just love interest as Rhonda, the seismology student who conveniently happens to be passing through. The chemistry between Bacon and Ward that really clinches it. The action sequences are exciting but they are also silly enough to remind us that the film appreciates its cheap and cheerful origins. The pacing is superb, with both horror and comedy perfectly timed to and the film only slows down when it wants to make us really nervous.
There is not a great deal of depth to this film, but that’s fine. It does a fine job of using its simple set-up to challenge prejudices about poor communities at the same time using them for comic effect. While we may laughing at the characters, we also root for them to survive. Their humanity makes them appealing. The affection they have for one another makes them easy to identify and we become involved in their lives and near deaths and we have fun doing so.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Ron Underwood & director of photography Alexander Gruszynski
60-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing by Kim Newman & Jonathan Melville & selected archive materials
Large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original & newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank + Small fold-out double-sided poster featuring new Graboid X-ray art by Matt Frank
Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction art cards
Limited Edition packaging w/ reversible sleeve featuring original & newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank
DISC 1 FEATURE & EXTRAS (4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY)
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Restored DTS-HD MA original theatrical 2.0 stereo, 4.0 surround, & remixed 5.1 surround audio options
Optional English subtitles
New audio commentary by director Ron Underwood & writers/producers Brent Maddock & S.S. Wilson
New audio commentary by Jonathan Melville, author of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors
Making Perfection, a new documentary by Universal Pictures interviewing key cast & crew from the franchise (including Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross, Ariana Richards, Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock & S.S. Wilson, among many others) & revisiting the original locations
The Truth About Tremors, a newly filmed interview w/ co-producer Nancy Roberts on the film s rocky road to the screen
Bad Vibrations, a newly filmed interview w/ director of photography Gruszynski
Aftershocks & Other Rumblings, newly filmed on-set stories from associate producer Ellen Collett
Digging in the Dirt, a new featurette interviewing the crews behind the film s extensive visual effects
Music for Graboids, a new featurette on the film s music with composers Ernest Troost & Robert Folk
Pardon My French!, a newly assembled compilation of overdubs from the edited-for television version
The Making of Tremors, an archive documentary from 1995 by Laurent Bouzereau, interviewing the filmmakers & special effects teams
Creature Featurette, an archive compilation of on-set camcorder footage showing the making of the Graboids
Electronic press kit featurette & interviews with Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross & Reba McEntire
Deleted scenes, including the original opening scene
Theatrical trailers, TV & radio spots for the original film + trailers for the entire Tremors franchise
Comprehensive image galleries, including rare behind-the-scenes stills, storyboards & two different drafts of the screenplay
DISC 2 INTERVIEWS & SHORT FILMS (LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE)
Extended hour-long interviews with Ron Underwood, creature designer Alec Gillis & more!
Outtakes w/ optional introduction & commentary by S.S. Wilson
Three early shorts by the makers of Tremors