It seems hard to believe, but there was a time when there were no Tremors movies. It’s easy standing where we find ourselves in 2020 to overlook how different the film was at the time, and how influential it became. At the time, though, there was nothing quite like it. This new deluxe-edition double disc set from Arrow Videos is really a great celebration of the phenomenon that Tremors has become. It’s fitting that it came out as the first film was celebrating its 30th anniversary.
I’m going to guess that most people have seen the movie, or at least one of the later films in the franchise. In case you somehow haven’t, though, I’ll give you a bit of a rundown. The first movie started off the concept of giant underground worm-like creatures called “Graboids.” The film is set in a scene from the old west – literally. It was shot at the same location that hosted a number of western film shoots. There is an (as we find out in an interview in set, intentional) feeling similar to old westerns in the movie.
The tale finds a small isolated town besieged by Graboids. As animals and people start disappearing, and once it’s found that they were killed, the remaining people try to survive and figure out a way to kill the creatures. Of course, while the threat is real and the situation dire, the movie finds a way to keep it rather light-hearted. That’s because it was an early movie that brought a lot of comedy (and really plenty of action adventure) to a horror styled film.
All those touches I already mentioned makes the movie special and groundbreaking, but another thing about the movie was unusual for horror films. The majority of it takes place in the broad daylight outside. Of course, where monsters hide in shadows and around corners in most horror films, Tremors beasts are hidden underground. One of the interviews mentions Jaws and suggests that they were shooting a land version of Jaws where the creatures were underground instead of underwater.
Looking back on it now, all of that seems natural, but at the time it really was groundbreaking. Perhaps that’s why the movie stands up so well today. It was unique, and therefore cuts its own path to stand out.
So, for those who have seen the film, what makes this so special? Well, for one thing it’s a much better HD print that really looks and sounds great. That by itself would make this worth having, but it’s just the beginning.
We get two discs of material, and they are loaded with cool stuff. There are all kinds of interviews and featurettes – both archival and new – documenting the making of the movie. As you probably can imagine there is also audio commentary – in fact, two different options for that.
Also included is a gag reel that you can watch with and without commentary. There are deleted scenes including an alternate opening scene. You get the trailers for all the movies in the series. There are some short movies on disc two which represent early work from the creators of the movie. One of those, S. S. Wilson’s Recorded Live is just so much fun. It’s a comedic horror short that was his college project. It includes great usage of stop-motion and is exceptional.
The set also includes physical bonuses that include post-card sized marquee cards, a 60 page book, a couple mini posters and more. I only have the discs themselves, so can’t really comment on those. I will say that this is really a loving tribute to a revolutionary film that also happens to be really entertaining. I can’t recommend this enough, really. Gary Hill