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Ron Underwood
Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter
Writing Credits:
Brent Maddoock, SS Wilson

Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 4.0
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 12/15/2020

• Audio Commentary with Director Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock & SS Wilson
• Audio Commentary with Jonathan Melville
• “The Making of Tremors” Documentary
• 4 Deleted Scenes
• “Making Perfection” Documentary
• Extended Interviews
• 2015 Arclight Q&A
• Gag Reel With Optional Commentary
• 3 Short Films
• “The Truth About Tremors Featurette
• “Bad Vibrations” Featurette
• “Aftershocks and Other Rumblings” Featurette
• “Digging in the Dirt” Featurette
• “Music for Graboids” Featurette
• Creature Featurette
• “Pardon My French!” Featurette
• Image Galleries
• Trailer Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Tremors: Limited Edition [Blu-Ray] (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 22, 2020)

A throwback to 1950s monster movies, 1990’s Tremors takes us to Perfection, Nevada, a sleepy little town where life seems to dead-end. Tired of this go-nowhere existence, Val McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward) decide to finally depart and find a more hopping location.

Before they can do so, though, strange rumblings prevent their exodus. Massive underground creatures menace Perfection and force the residents to get creative if they want to survive this assault.

A mix of action and comedy that seemed unlikely to find much of an audience in 1990, Tremors didn’t exactly light up the box office, as it made a tepid $16 million in the US. However, it obtained a cult following on home video, a factor that continues to give it juice 30 years after the original film’s debut.

Indeed, fall 2020 brought Shrieker Island, the seventh Tremors movie. The series spawned a short-lived 2003 TV show as well.

Of all those sequels, I only saw 2015’s Tremors 5: Bloodlines, a moderately entertaining but generally forgettable film. I maintained positive memories of the original, though, which led me to give this Blu-ray a look.

I’m old enough to remember the flick’s debut and how I assumed Tremors would offer cheap cinematic crap. That made it a pleasant surprise, as it used its 1950s “B-movie” origins to create a tale that both paid homage to and mocked its origins in a satisfying manner.

Seeing the movie again for the first time in decades, I worried it’d seem stale or less impactful. Happily, those issues don’t become a problem, as Tremors still delivers a lot of fun.

One difference comes from my view of the actors, as the presence of a good cast in seemingly cheap “B-movie” fare felt like a surprise in 1990. Granted, Bacon’s appeal had faded somewhat by that time, but he was still a pretty big star, and Ward added class to the proceedings.

Then known only as a country singer, the basic sight of Reba McEntire as an actor came as a surprise, and Michael Gross firmly played against type as the gun-loving survivalist Burt. Gross became famous as the bleeding-heart liberal dad on Family Ties, so the decision to cast him as Steven Keaton’s polar opposite felt inspired.

All these years later, these choices lack novelty, so I can appraise the actors on their own merits, and they mostly do fine. McEntire provides a weak link, though, as she seems stiff in her cinematic debut.

McEntire gets a small enough part that her lack of chops doesn’t harm the movie, and the others compensate. Most walk a fine line between campy comedy and seriousness, and they pull off their parts well. The actors add just the right level of silliness but they don’t veer too far into pure goofiness.

The same goes for the tone set by director Ron Underwood. He manages to balance the absurdity of the story and its semi-camp elements with real action, and he pulls off the mix in a lively way.

As much as Tremors wants to be a frothy laughfest – and it does bring us amusement – Underwood ensures that the thrills satisfy. The “graboids” present a scary enough threat and the movie pours on action to give us a strong push in that direction.

I won’t call Tremors a great film, but it doesn’t aspire to that level of notoriety. It just wants to throw 96 minutes of monster fun our way and let us have a good time – and we do.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus A+

Tremors appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a solid presentation.

Sharpness worked fine. The occasional wide shots betrayed a bit of softness, but the majority of the movie brought nice accuracy and clarity.

I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. With a nice layer of grain, noise reduction failed to become a distraction, and print flaws also didn’t appear.

Tremors featured a fairly lively palette within its arid desert confines. The tones opted for a natural bent and looked vivid when allowed.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows gave us appealing clarity. Across the board, the movie looked good.

I thought the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack offered a lively affair. While the mix lacked the impact of more modern work, it still delivered a pretty active soundscape.

Of course, the movie’s many action scenes fared best, as those used the various channels in a positive manner. I’d be hard-pressed to claim the mix featured unique five-channel involvement - Tremors predated the era in which 5.1 became common – but the audio provided good movement and activity, with fun impact when the “graboids” did their thing.

Though a bit dated, audio quality still held up well, with music that appeared fairly peppy and full. Some dialogue showed mild stiffness, and we find a bit of awkward looping, but speech remained intelligible and mostly natural.

Effects presented reasonably accurate material, and low-end added a bit of oomph to the proceedings. I found this to be a track with enough positives to earn a “B+” that I “age-adjusted” for circa 1990 expectations.

How did this 2020 “Limited Edition” Blu-ray compare to the prior release from 2010? Audio felt similar, though I thought the 2020 disc sounded a bit cleaner and warmer.

Visuals turned into a different matter, though, as the 2020 Blu-ray offered a massive improvement. The 2010 release was a mess, as it suffered from lots of edge haloes, digital noise reduction and print flaws, all of which turned it into a major disappointment.

All those problems vanished with this high-quality presentation. Everything worked better here, so the 2020 Blu-ray became an enormous upgrade over the awful 2010 release.

As we shift to extras, the 2020 BD opens with two new audio commentaries, the first of which comes from director Ron Underwood and screenwriters SS Wilson and Brent Maddock. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, stunts, and related domains.

Expect a competent but not especially strong commentary here, as the three men give us a decent overview and not much more. While we learn some useful notes, the track never seems particularly compelling, and it loses a lot of steam during the film’s second half. Though worth a listen, the chat lacks as much value as one might expect.

For the second commentary, we hear from film historian Jonathan Melville. He provides his own running, screen-specific view of story/characters/screenplay, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, music, and connected subjects.

Like the first commentary, this one proves acceptable but not scintillating. Though Melville clearly knows a lot about the movie, he doesn’t dig into the flick with much gusto.

This means we do find a reasonable array of film-related insights. However, the track doesn’t come together in an especially vivid manner, so it ends up as an average piece.

Disc One comes with plenty of video features. The Making of Tremors fills 44 minutes, 15 seconds and includes comments from Underwood, Wilson, Maddock, creature effects creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, and miniatures designers Dennis and Robert Skotak.

“Making” looks at the film’s roots and development, story/character areas, sets and locations, creature design and various effects, cast and performances, photography and editing, and the reshot ending. Created back in the 1990s, “Making” shows its age via its lack of fluidity, as it plods from one topic to another without a smooth progression.

Still, it gives us a pretty good overview of the topics. I wish it came with a broader range of participants and gave us a more dynamic presentation, but at least we learn a lot about the flick.

Called “Outtakes” on the prior releases, a collection of Deleted Scenes goes for five minutes, two seconds. We get four of these, including the movie’s “Original Opening”.

Two of the other three offer some character moments from the first act, while the last one shows Val as he tries to encourage Mindy to be brave. All are good to see but they remain pretty insubstantial.

New to this release, Making Perfection runs 31 minutes, eight seconds and offers comments from Underwood, Braddock, Wilson, Melville, agent Nancy Roberts, associate producer Ellen Collett, line producer Ginny Nugent, creature effects designer Alec Gillis, location manager Tony Salome, production designer Ivo Cristante, director of photography Alexander Gruszynski, sequel producer Chris DeFaria, documentarian Laurent Bourzereau, and actors Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross, Ariana Richards and Jamie Kennedy.

“Perfection” looks at the development of the film, sets and locations, creature design/creation and other effects, cast and performances, and the movie’s release/legacy. It’s good to see Bacon and the other actors, and “Perfection” covers the topics well. It’s too short, but it’s still a strong program.

The Truth About Tremors goes for 22 minutes, two seconds and brings an interview with Nancy Roberts. She talks about her career, her work with Braddock and Wilson, and her involvement on Tremors. Roberts delivers a fine view of the behind the scenes machinations.

Next comes Bad Vibrations, a 10-minute, 47-second chat with Alexander Gruszynski. He discusses what drew him to movies and his efforts on Tremors. Expect a short but useful piece.

Aftershocks and Other Rumblings provides a 12-minute, 38-second conversation with Ellen Collette. She covers her experiences during the movie in this likable reel.

After this we go to Digging In the Dirt, a 20-minute, 59-second program that features 4Ward Productions’ Robert Skotak and Elaine Edford, Fantasy II Film Effects’ Christopher Warren and Gene Warren III, and rotoscope animator Bret Mixon. They discuss various effects and make this a good exploration of the topics.

Music for Graboids lasts 13 minutes, 35 seconds and brings info from composers Ernest Troost and Robert Folk. They relates notes about the score and make this another engaging reel.

Up next comes a Creature Featurette that lasts 10 minutes, 24 seconds. It brings a compilation of effects footage from the set paired with music. While I’d prefer some commentary to discuss the work, it still offers a fun glimpse of the methods used to bring the Graboids to life.

With Pardon My French!, we find a 16-minute, 18-second compilation that compares the original film footage to the same scenes dubbed for TV exhibition. This offers a cool look at the changes.

Four featurettes appear under Electronic Press Kit. We find “Featurette” (3:49), “Kevin Bacon Profile” (2:52), “Michael Gross Profile” (2:19) and “Reba McEntire Profile” (1:52).

Across these, we get notes from those actors along with movie clips and some behind the scenes footage. These exist for promotion and tell us little of value, though McEntire’s enthusiasm about her new gig as an actor boasts some charm.

A bunch of ads appear in the Trailer Gallery. We get two trailers for Tremors, eight radio spots, three TV spots, a VHS promo and clips for all six sequels to date.

Disc One finishes with seven Image Galleries. These cover “Production Stills” (111 frames), “Behind the Scenes” (52), “Laserdisc Image Gallery” (121), “Screenplay (draft 6, 1988)” (130), “Screenplay (draft 8b, 1989)” (105), “Storyboards” (57) and “Posters & Video Artwork” (20).

All provide fine content, especially with the screenplays. The “Laserdisc” shots look awful, of course, a fact that makes me wonder why I thought LD stills seemed flawless 25 years ago. I guess that was the wonder of 27-inch TV viewing!

As we shift to Disc Two, we start with Extended Interviews from “Making Perfection”. We get chats with five participants: Ron Underwood (47:44), SS Wilson (1:21:44), Brent Maddock (1:03:06), Nancy Roberts (50:37) and Alec Gillis (59:31).

That’s a whole lot of material, and much of it seems quite good. The participants delve into aspects of their careers, with the expected emphasis on their Tremors work.

I appreciate the inclusion of these “Extended Interviews” but think they’re best saved for the movie’s biggest fans. Face it: only the most dedicated Tremors lovers will want to sit through more than five hours of raw footage.

Still, those people will really enjoy these reels. They’re a nice addition that makes the package even more comprehensive. Roberts probably seems most interesting to me, simply because she represents part of the movie business we don’t hear much about most of the time.

From 2015, we get an Arclight Hollywood Q&A. Hosted by Melville, these two panels involve Maddock, Roberts, Underwood, Gross, Wilson, Gruszynski, Cristante, Gillis, Robert Skotak, Woodruff, and actors Finn Carter, Charlotte Stewart, Robert Jayne, Conrad Bachmann, Richard Marcus, and John Goodwin and fill one hour, 11 minutes, 11 seconds.

As noted, “Arclight” splits into two sessions. The first took place before a screening of the movie and featured mostly cast, while the second happened after the film and went with all crew except for Gross, Goodwin and Carter, both of whom appear in the first segment as well.

Despite iffy recording quality, this becomes a pretty good chat. It’s nice to get so many important film participants in one place, and even though some of the material repeats from elsewhere, the Q&A works well.

A Gag Reel spans nine minutes, 54 seconds. It mainly shows the usual goofs/giggles, but it comes with some partial unused scenes, and these make it worth a look.

We can also watch a version of the reel with an introduction and commentary from SS Wilson. It goes for 10 minutes, 48 seconds and gives us some notes on the material. To some degree, Wilson just describes the footage, but because the videotaped material looks awful, he helps guide us through it.

Finally, Disc Two ends with three Early Short Films. We see SS Wilson’s Recorded Live (8:12), Brent Maddock’s Dictionary: The Adventure of Words (16:26) and Underwood’s Library Report (24:32).

Live gives us Wilson’s student film, while the other two provide educational flicks. All three show lots of creativity and become a lot of fun to see.

A throwback to monster movies of the 1950s, Tremors brings us a fun adventure. It mixes comedic self-awareness with lively action to become a satisfying experience. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture and audio along with a terrific set of supplements. This turns into an excellent release for a delightful flick.

To rate this film visit the original review of TREMORS

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main