What's Shaking, Men?
Even though the first Tremors didn't do particularly well in theatres, it still
managed to spawn two sequels.
In the years since its release, Tremors has become a cult favorite. It appears
on TV quite frequently, and has done very well on video. In 1996, Tremors 2:
Aftershocks was released, obviously realizing the newfound popularity of the
original. Unfortunately, two key cast members were missing. Kevin Bacon and
Reba McEntire had moved on to bigger and better things.
In Tremors 2, which I never saw, the creatures apparently turn into something
called "Screamers," which are even more dangerous than the huge underground
In Tremors 3, the town of Perfection, Nevada has been turned into a kind of
amusement park. There are giant billboards promoting it as the town where it
all happened, and rides through the area with fake "Graboid" sightings to make
it exciting. Then they learn that there are some more creatures around, and
immediately set out to kill them.
But then "the Feds" get involved, and state that there will be no Graboid killing.
Trust the bureaucrats to screw things up.
The movie starts out badly enough, but once the Feds show up, you start throwing
your popcorn at the screen.
Michael Gross returns as Burt Gummer, the gung-ho survivalist intent on ridding
the planet of the creatures. A few other cast members return, including Ariana
Richards as a now grown up Mindy.
Sure enough, over time the creatures turn into the Screamers and kill the Feds.
This leaves Burt and his sidekicks (Shawn Christian and Susan Chuang) to do
their thing. While on the trail of the Screamers, they find out that they have
now changed into another, still more dangerous creature. These ones can fly,
and they do so by shooting fire out of their arses. So from there it turns into
a battle between Burt and Company and the flying monsters.
The movie is pretty bad, except for a few clever lines by Burt. Gross seems
to have fun playing the character, and that's really the important thing - other
than a decent screenplay, of course.
One of the cleverest aspects of the first movie was the fact that they never
did bother to explain where the creatures came from. They were just there. But
now, since they keep appearing out of nowhere, it's just getting old and a lot
less clever. Not only that, but the effects look cheaper than the puppets in
the first film.
Fortunately, the movie is in the territory of "so bad it's good." It definitely
isn't good, but at least it's watchable. If you're as big a fan of the first
one as I am, you might be able to tolerate it. Otherwise, you'll like it about
as much as you like any other direct-to-video flick.
Seeing as how this is not exactly a high-caliber release, Universal didn't
really do much with the disc. The picture and sound (presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic
widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital) are adequate, but nothing more. Extras include
a spotlight on location (about as cheesy as it gets), production notes, cast
and filmmakers, and trailers for all three Tremors films.
Tremors 3, from Universal Home Video
104 min, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital
Starring Michael Gross, Shawn Christian Susan Chuang
Produced by Nancy Roberts
Written by John Whelpley, Directed by Brent Maddock.
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