Movies rarely come as fun, silly, and sincere as Tremors. At first blush, a schlocky flick about sightless subterranean tentacle worms seems like perfect fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000. But Tremors is smarter, funnier, and far better executed than your typical Sharknado or Carnosaur.
With uninhibited acting, throwback special effects, and crowd-pleasing action, here are 5 reasons to tune into IFC this Tuesday, April 18th for an all-day Tremors movie marathon.
1. It’s a love letter to old-school special effects.
Released in 1990, the original Tremors came out a few years before filmmakers could rely on CGI to create movie monsters. (See Anaconda, Deep Blue Sea, or any mid-’90s creature feature.) Thankfully, director Ron Underwood and his team opted for rubber models and practical effects for the “Graboids” to achieve the throwback look to the type of flick you’d see at a 1950s drive-in.
2. Kevin Bacon is exuberance personified.
The man who is seven degrees away from everyone in Hollywood, Kevin Bacon is no slouch when it comes to acting. But it’s his commitment to the role of Nevada handyman Valentine “Val” McKee that makes Tremors work. There’s no ironic wink in his performance or even the slightest hint that he’s above this fun, silly movie. Put simply, there are giant, subterranean, man-eating worms, somebody has to do something about it, and Bacon leads with gusto.
3. The sensitive dad from Family Ties is an unhinged gun nut.
To say Michael Gross’ Burt Gummer is a far cry from his role as soft-spoken liberal Steven Keaton in Family Ties would be an understatement. (A Gross understatement?) While Bacon can be credited for committing to a role, Gross should be honored for taking a big sloppy bite out of his. With an artillery stockpile to rival most militias — and an explosive rage as its hair trigger — Burt is the perfect foil for a mutant antagonist just as crazy as him.
4. The Graboids keep their prey on their toes… literally.
By themselves, these underground terrors are the quintessential movie monster baddies: ferocious, relentless, quick-to-learn, and possessing keen senses with one or two exploitable weaknesses. But it’s their sensitivity to impact vibrations above ground that makes every plot point (and footfall) that much more suspenseful and crucial. Viewers can’t help but hold their breath and slow their gestures along with the characters on screen.
5. The triumph of the kill is a sure-fire audience-pleaser.
With only a handful of creatures, the threat isn’t complicated by an overwhelming swarm. Each kill contains more emotional resonance than if there were hundreds of worms being slaughtered every minute. (See Starship Troopers.) And for every Graboid’s shrieking, gut-gushing end, it’s a stand-up-and-cheer moment for both the actors and the audience.
“Grab” some snacks and tune in to IFC’s Tremors Tuesday!