Mocked on release but much-loved by an appropriately underground fanbase, cult comedy-horror flick Tremors is perhaps the greatest movie ever made about subterranean desert monsters.
Kicking off a brand new series looking at underrated gems, Jordan Sims gives five reasons why the preposterous 1990 B-movie demands your attention.
1: It made a ton of money
Although widely regarded as a flop at the Box Office, Tremors amazingly went on to triple its originally disappointing gross through video sales and rental profit. Whatever your thoughts on weird underground worms being the antagonists, you can’t argue with the numbers people.
2: It plays to its strengths
If you’re going to have dirt-swimming ‘Graboids’ attacking a group of people, it makes sense to use the outdoor environment to your advantage. And that’s just what director Ron Underwood did – only including two indoor shots in the entire movie. Like the world’s most gripping game of ‘the floor is lava’, it makes for some brilliantly gripping (and hilarious) moments.
3: There’s some serious lead flying around
This movie isn’t afraid to splash out on gunfire – which is understandable given it’s set in a southern US state. In one memorable scene, there is an insane two minute fire-fest as Burt and his wife swap between various guns to take down a Graboid (at one point Burt’s wife is dual-wielding pistols) before Burt eventually unloads a double-barrel twelve gauge exclaiming: “YOU BROKE INTO THE WRONG REC ROOM!”
4: It has clear shades of Dune
Lovers of desert-based sci-fi classic Dune will find some comfort in the similarity between the Graboids and the giant worms. Uncannily, in both films the characters jump on rocks to escape the worms that live underground – and they have identical features. To be fair, I don’t know how much scope for variety there is in the giant-worm-creating field.
5: Kevin Bacon
If having this man as the lead is not a reason to declare this film a legendary must-see, I don’t know what is. Yes, he may be slowly killing his career with those weird EE adverts – featuring backwards conga lines and Americans pretending to like “soccer” – but this man is the king of charismatic cinema. There: I said it.