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Tremors Poster


Tagline: The Monster Movie That Breaks New Ground

The Preshow Entertainment was:

1- Ellen Foley videos. She's known as the girl on behemoth Meat Loaf's behemoth BAT OUT OF HELL and as Billie Young on NIGHT COURT, but few remember her recording career. And even fewer remember these videos. Actually, I'm not sure they ever aired anywhere of note (I got them off an '80s Manhattan Cable public access show hosted by Moogy Klingman). The first song, WHAT'S THE MATTER BABY (also recorded by Small Faces and Del Shannon), is a video (film, really) that rivals the talents of a coatimundi holding a camera, and shows Ellen and her band playing (in her living room?). Her other video for The Rolling Stones STUPID GIRL fares better, but only by a hair.

2- Plastic Man. This cartoon caught my eye one Saturday morning in early '80s. It was so out of this world. I felt like I was hallucinating. In this episode, brilliantly titled THE HIPPOTIST, Plastic Man is at odds with a malevolent spellbinding hippo in a safari outfit, a monocle, and an accent. Good thing he has chesty girlfriend Penny and their son, fan fave Baby Plas. Oh, and Hawaiian sidekick Hula Hula. Plastic Man can stretch into anything (SPOILER ALERT! Tied over a volcano, he stretches his toe for miles to tap on Penny's helicopter window for help). With a talent like that, you can get out of any jam.

Plastic Man himself is a bit Maxwell Smartass. In fact, he even lifts not one, but two GET SMART catch phrases. And loving it.

Pia Zadora - Rock It Out
3- Pia Zadora- This video was a surprise, as it was not listed on the tape. Pia sings the title track of her 1983 record ROCK IT OUT in a prison, with other inmates and a fat matron. A bizarre concept from a performer who became a pop culture punchline, never (and perhaps sadly) taken seriously.

4- Kim Wilde- The video and song that put Kim on the map...and left her there to die. And what the hell does music-go-round mean, anyway?

With its premium blend of horror and comedy, TREMORS is a really fun movie. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward play a coupla handymen yokels in a desert valley community. When they finally decide to leave Perfection (that's the town's name), they encounter some strange things; a man who died with a rifle in his hand while on a power line tower, a buried car...radio still blaring, and some bloody hard hats by a construction zone. They soon learn they are being chased by giant killer worms.

Helmed by then first time feature director Ron Underwood, who I will never ever ever ever ever ever forgive for making THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, TREMORS succeeds where like movies (yeah, I'm talking to you SLITHER) fall short. It knows exactly what it is- a small film, and uses that to its advantage. Most of the effects were physical (not CG), like dirt moving and roofs shaking and rolling like tectonic plates. It looks a bit cheesy, like a Universal Studios attraction, but in this case the cheese is served like a fondue- real yummy.

Also in the cast is Michael Gross (Steven Keaton, the dad on TV's FAMILY TIES) who steals the movie with his turn as a survivalist married to Reba McEntire(!). And Ariana Richards, who would soon graduate from maneating worms to maneating raptors in JURASSIC PARK.

One of the things I like so much about TREMORS is how, though campy, characters actually make real decisions rather than movie decisions. And people wind up doing real things and getting in real predicaments. The adroit crew take charge of the situations (as does Underwood himself). If you treat characters with respect, even the silliest premises can make sense.

TREMORS has spawned four movies and a TV show. I really recommend TREMORS. It's a smart movie pretending it's a B Movie. So it's really a B+ Movie.

"Here's some Swiss cheese and bullets." -Walter (Victor Wong), serving at his snack bar.

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