horror, movie, movie review

September 22nd, 2019 Movie – Friday The 13th (1980)

friday the 13th 1980

So tomorrow is the Fall Equinox, which means it is officially autumn, and that means that Halloween is right around the corner. Since last week was Friday the 13th, I decided that I should start doing a marathon session of movies featuring everybody’s favorite hockey mask wearing slasher, Jason Voorhees. Now I will be completely honest, I watched these movies completely out of order my first go around; with my first one having been the 3rd movie in the series first. In fact, I’m pretty sure I watched almost every sequel made at the time (2-6) before I finally got a chance to see this movie. Anyways, this may not have been the first slasher movie, but it is definitely the one whose series defined the genre so let’s have some fun going back to camp as I watch today’s movie, Friday The 13th (1980).

The plot: One night in 1958, two camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake leave the other counselors and head to the storage barn to have sex. As they are fooling around, they are surprised by an unseen person, who kills the two teenagers. In the present day, on June 13th, teenager Annie Phillips is backpacking through a small town and heads into a diner to ask how far it is to Camp Crystal Lake. The diners are surprised to hear that Camp Crystal Lake, which the townsfolk refer to as Camp Blood, is reopening and a truck driver, Enos, offers to take her to a crossroads that is halfway there. As Annie and Enos head to Enos’ truck, they are confronted by Crazy Ralph, who tells Annie that Camp Blood has a death curse and she will never go back, then rides away on his bicycle as Enos and Annie get in the truck. As they are driving down the road, Enos tells Annie about the history of the camp; the two murders in ’58, a kid drowning in ’57, and some fires in ’62. Enos tells Annie she should quit but she refuses so he drops her off at the crossroads, wishing her luck. Meanwhile, Ned Rubenstein, Marcie Cunningham, and Jack Burrell arrive at Camp Crystal Lake and are greeted by Steve Christy and Alice Hardy. After putting the kids to work getting the camp ready, Steve talks with Alice alone, as they have had a relationship in the past, and convinces her to stay a week before she heads back to California. Steve then heads into town to get some more supplies, leaving Alice, Jack, Marcie, and Ned, along with Bill Brown and Brenda Jones, to continue getting the camp ready to open. Back on the road, Annie manages to get a ride from an unseen person but when the driver passes the road to Crystal Lake and speeds up, Annie jumps out of the car. The driver stops and Annie attempts to escape into the woods but the driver catches up to her and kills her. Back at the camp, the 6 kids continue getting the camp ready when a police officer shows up and warns them about Ralph, who was seen heading their way, then leaves when he is called in to return to the sheriff’s station. After he leaves, Alice is shocked to find Ralph hiding in the pantry and he warns them all that they are doomed if they stay before he rides away on his bike. As the day wears on, Ned sees someone enter a cabin and goes to investigate, but never comes back out. As it starts to get dark and a storm approaches, Jack and Marcie end up taking shelter in the same cabin Ned had gone in, then begin having sex in one of the bunk beds, unaware that Ned’s dead body is in the bunk above them. When they finish, Marcie leaves the cabin to go use the restroom, Jack is killed when someone underneath the bed shoves an arrow through both the mattress and his throat. The killer then heads to the bathroom, using an axe to kill Marcie. Meanwhile, Alice, Bill, and Brenda were playing games in the main cabin when the storm starts to get worse, and Brenda heads out, as she left the windows in her cabin open. After reaching her cabin, Brenda hears someone calling out for help and goes to investigate only to end up being shot with an arrow. Alice heard Brenda’s scream and she and Bill go to investigate, discovering a bloody axe in Brenda’s bed. After looking around and not finding anyone, they decide to head to the office to try and call for help but the phone line has been cut. When they try to leave but discover that the car won’t start, Alice wants to just hike out of the camp but Bill convinces her to wait for Steve to get back. Meanwhile, Steve’s jeep ends up getting stuck on the side of the road and he gets a ride from one of the local deputies, who drops him off at the edge of camp when a call comes in about a traffic accident. Steve hikes up the road towards the camp but is confronted by someone, and as Steve recognizes the person and asks what they are doing there, the person stabs Steve. Back at the camp, the killer shuts down the generator so Bill goes to check it out, leaving Alice sleeping on the couch in the main lodge. Alice wakes up and finding the lights back on, decides to make some coffee but changes her mind and goes looking for Bill since he hasn’t come back to the lodge. She finds Bill pinned to a cabin door by several arrows and runs screaming back to the lodge, barricading herself inside.  When Brenda’s body is thrown through one of the windows, Alice begins crying in terror until she sees a jeep pull up. Thinking it is Steve, Alice quickly rushes outside but pulls up in shock when a woman approaches her. The woman says that her name is Mrs. Voorhees, an old friend of the Christys, and Alice rushes into her arms, sobbing out what has happened. Mrs. Voorhees thinks Alice has just been frightened by the storm and heads inside to see for herself. After seeing the carnage, Mrs. Voorhees tells Alice that Steve should have never tried to open the place. She then tells Alice about the boy who drowned in ’57, saying his name was Jason and that he drowned because the counselors that were supposed to be watching him were busy having sex. She then says that she was Jason’s mother and that today was his birthday, revealing herself to be the killer. Mrs. Voorhees attempts to kill Alice but Alice grabs a fire poker and knocks her down, then tries to leave, discovering Annie’s and Steve’s bodies in the process. Alice tries to arm herself but Mrs. Voorhees catches up to her, all while saying “Kill her, Mommy” in a child like voice. Alice manages to get away and ends up by the lake, where Mrs. Voorhees attacks her with a machete but Alice manages to knock it from her hand. As the two continue to struggle, Alice manages to grab the machete and cut off Mrs. Voorhees’ head, then stumbles in shock towards the nearby canoes and pushes one into the water before climbing in. The next morning, Alice wakes up in the canoe and sees the police on the shore, waving her towards them but before she can paddle to shore, the decomposing body of Jason emerges from the lake and grabs her, dragging her into the water. Alice wakes up screaming to find herself in the hospital and the sheriff tells her that her parents are on their way to get her. When Alice asks about the boy in the lake that pulled her into the water, the sheriff tells her that his men didn’t find any boy there, to which Alice replies, “He’s still there.”

Friday The 13th (1980) met with mixed results from the critics, currently holding a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Rather quaint by today’s standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a ’70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.” Tom Savini was one of the first crew members brought on board, as the producers loved his special make-up effects in Dawn Of The Dead (1978). The scene with the snake was not in the script, and was an idea from Tom Savini after an experience in his own cabin during filming. The snake in the scene was real, including its on-screen death. The movie was a box office success, earning $59.8 million off of a $550,000 budget, which led to 9 sequels, a crossover with Nightmare On Elm Street, and a reboot in 2009.

While I wouldn’t necessarily call it groundbreaking, this is still a pretty decent horror movie to watch. The acting was ok, with Betsy Palmer doing a great job as Mrs. Voorhees, the grief-crazed mother of everyone’s favorite hockey-masked killer. Adrienne King was also good in her role as Alice, while it was fun seeing another early performance of Kevin Bacon (Jack), even though he didn’t last very long. The story was decent, as the tale of a parent driven mad by grief over a lost child can make for a good movie. Keeping the identity of the killer hidden for so long, and only letting it be revealed in the last 15-20 minutes of the movie was a good idea, especially with the killer being a woman, which was an almost unheard of concept at that point in time. The special effects work regarding the various deaths was top notch, which is to be expected of Savini’s work. The kills themselves were fairly subdued as compared to what will happen in future movies, but they were still effective. A good movie worth the watch if for no other reason than it’s setup for the movies to come.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, comic book, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 11th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: First Class

xmen first class

A new decade, a new set of movies. Somewhat similar to the Star Wars franchise, this new set of movies decided to try and serve as a prequel to the original trilogy of films. Now I was honestly a little skeptical about this because prequels can be a little tricky, as they try to explain how things we already know come to be. The problem is, if people aren’t completely careful and don’t pay attention, then you make things worse by making things more confusing. Still, I was curious how they would handle this and decided to dial down my skepticism as I watched today’s movie, X-Men: First Class.

The plot: In a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 Poland, young Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents and as he tries to get to them, his powers begin to manifest as he starts bending the metal gate until a guard knocks him out. Nazi scientist Klaus Schmidt witnesses the feat and has Erik brought to his office. Speaking to Erik about how genes are the future of mankind, he asks Erik to move a coin on his desk. When Erik can’t, he has Eric’s mother brought into the room, then threatens to shoot her if Erik doesn’t move the coin. Klaus counts to 3 and when Erik is unable to move the coin, he proceeds to shoot her. Enraged at the loss, Erik’s powers go out of control, killing the two guards and trashing the objects in the lab next door, all to Klaus’s delight. Meanwhile, in Westchester County, New York, a young Charles Xavier is woken up by a noise coming from the kitchen in his family’s mansion. When he goes to check it out, he finds his mother there but quickly realizes it is an imposter. Speaking to the intruder telepathically, the intruder reveals herself to be a young shape changing mutant named Raven and Xavier, happy to finally meet another mutant like himself, invites her to stay with him, which Raven accepts. Years later, Xavier is graduating from Oxford University and Raven, now his adopted sister, has accompanied him there but she has started feeling uncomfortable always having to hide who she really is. Meanwhile, Erik is trying to track down Schmidt and after heading to a bank known to secretly deal in Nazi gold, he is able to learn that Schmidt is in Argentina, then warns the banker not to warn anyone he is coming. In Las Vegas, CIA Agent Moria MacTaggert and her partner are staking out the Hellfire Club when they notice U.S. Army Colonel Hendry entering the building. Disguising herself as one of the prostitutes being let inside, Moria finds a hidden entrance to the club’s offices. Inside the office, Hendry is meeting with Schmidt, who now goes by Sebastian Shaw, and his associates Emma Frost and Riptide. Shaw is telling Hendry that he wants the U.S. to deploy nuclear weapons to Turkey but Hendry refuses, as it would escalate tensions with Russia and possibly start a nuclear war. When Hendry refuses to do so, Shaw has Riptide produce a small cyclone and use it to attack Hendry, slamming him into a wall. Moria, who had discovered some Russian files in Shaw’s desk, hears the commotion and watches as Emma changes into a diamond form after telepathically threatening Hendry, then Shaw summons Azazel, a red skinned teleporter, to take Hendry out of there. Moria makes her way out of the club and tries to tell her boss what she saw but her boss says that Hendry is in the war room advocating for missiles to be deployed in Turkey and dismisses her. Meanwhile, Erik heads to Argentina and when he arrives at a bar and orders a drink, he notices a picture of Shaw with two men on a boat. The two men happen to be sitting at the bar and when Erik learns that they are former Nazis, he kills them, then heads after Shaw. In D.C., Hendry boards Shaw’s yacht and when Shaw threatens to have him killed, Hendry produces a grenade and threatens to pull the pin. Shaw takes the Grenade from him and pulls the pin, then absorbs the blast from the explosion, revealing that he is also a mutant, then kills Hendry by touching him, transferring the force of the explosion to him. At Oxford, Moria approaches Xavier after his graduation and asks him about his thesis, in which he talks about mutants. Scanning her mind, Xavier sees her memories of Emma and Azazel and he agrees to help her. Moria takes Xavier and Raven with her to CIA headquaters but when the CIA director thinks what Xavier is saying is crazy talk, Xavier and Raven both reveal their gifts, shocking everyone. The CIA director thinks they are spies and wants them taken out of the building and one of the officers says he has an off site facility they can use and as they are leaving, Xavier telepathically contacts Moria and tells her to meet them at the parking garage. Erik travels to D.C. and confronts Shaw, who recognizes Erik, but Emma psychically stops Erik’s attack and knocks him into the water. Suddenly, the Coast Guard show up and Emma senses Xavier on board and uses her powers to block their thoughts from his. Riptide uses his powers to blow away the small boarding craft approaching the ship but when Erik uses his powers to use the anchor to destroy the ship, Shaw, Emma, and Riptide quickly head down to the lower decks, which house a secret submarine. As Shaw and the other’s escape, Erik uses his powers to try and stop them but the sub is too big and he ends up being dragged underwater until Xavier dives in and telepathically convinces him to stop. The CIA officer takes Moria, Xavier, Raven, and Erik to his facility, where he introduces them to Hank McCoy and Xavier unintentionally reveals to the officer that Hank is a mutant, whose gift is a genius IQ and prehensile feet. Later that night, Hank and Raven are talking, having bonded over the fact that their mutations are both physical, and Hank asks Raven for a sample of her blood, thinking he might be able to fashion a cure from it. Meanwhile, Erik steals the CIA files on Shaw and goes to leave but is confronted by Xavier, who tries to convince him to stay but tells Erik he won’t use his powers to do so. The next day, Erik agrees to stay but says that any mutants they discover should be approached by himself and Xavier, not CIA suits, and Xavier agrees, much to the CIA officer’s disapproval. Hank has turned a radar tower into a transmitter and hooked it up to a computer so that using Xavier’s telepathy, he can locate mutants and the computer will print out their location. Calling the device Cerebro, Hank activates it and Xavier begins locating mutants all across the world. Using the device, Eric and Xavier approach Angel Salvadore, Armando Munoz, Alex Summers, and Sean Cassidy, who agree to go with them, but the 5th mutant they approach, Logan, tells them to “Go fuck yourself.” Meanwhile, Shaw tells to head to Russia and when she asks about the other telepath, he tells her that the Russians made him a helmet that can block telepathy and has her try to read his mind when he is wearing it and she says she can’t. Later, Emma tells him that she can feel the other telepath’s range has expanded and he is recruiting other mutants and Shaw tells her to go to Russia and he will deal with the telepath. Back at the CIA Division X facility, Raven and Hank are talking with the new recruits and Raven says they should come up with code names. Raven decides to call herself Mystique, Sean calls himself Banshee, Armando calls himself Darwin, and they decide to call Alex Havoc after witnessing his powers, while Angel simply decides to use her stripper name of Angel. At CIA Headquarters, the director tells Moria that she was right about Shaw going to meet with the Russians and agrees to let her take the mutants with them, though one of his officers, Agent Stryker, protests using them. When Moria meets with Erik and Xavier to tell them, Erik is unsure if the other mutants are ready to take on Shaw and after seeing the mess they made of the room, Xavier reluctantly agrees. Moria, Xavier, and Erik go with a CIA team to Russia, where they see Emma meeting with the Russian general instead of Shaw. Moria wants to fall back, as their mission was to capture Shaw, but Erik says that Emma is Shaw’s right hand woman and she would know where he is and what his plans are. Eric uses his powers to subdue the guards and he heads inside, followed by Xavier, where they find Emma psychically tricking the general into thinking they are fooling around. Xavier uses his powers to render the general unconscious but Emma shifts into her diamond form to prevent him from reading her mind. Erik uses his powers to trap Emma against the bedframe, then coils part of it around her throat and starts constricting it until her throat cracks, then releases it as Emma quickly changes to human. Xavier is then able to read her mind and learns that Shaw plans to start a nuclear war so that more mutants will be born, with himself as their leader. Xavier says they are taking Emma to the CIA, as they will want to question her further, but Emma says that they have bigger problems to worry about. At Division X, Shaw, Azazel, and Riptide attack the facility looking for the mutants. After killing all of the humans, Shaw approaches the mutants and offers the a chance to join him. Angel takes him up on his offer, as she didn’t like being looked at like a freak by the CIA agents. Darwin also appears to join but as he approaches Angel, he grabs her and yells out for Havoc to attack while he uses his powers to defend himself and Angel. Shaw absorbs Havoc’s attack and then uses the energy to kill Darwin, making him explode, while he leaves with Angel, Azazel, and Riptide. Some time later, Shaw appears in Russia and meets with the general and tells him to send missiles to Cuba, knowing it will provoke a response from the United States. Meanwhile, Xavier, Erik, and Moria return to the facility and Xavier wants to send everyone home but they all refuse, as they want to avenge Darwin’s death. After talking with Erik, Xavier agrees to this provided they begin training and learn how to better use their powers and they all agree, and Xavier takes them back to his and Raven’s mansion to use as their new training ground. As the tensions between the two countries continue to rise, Xavier works on helping the others with their abilities. Banshee learns how to use his sonic scream to fly and Havoc, thanks to a suit from Hank, is able to fully control his powers. Xavier tries to help Erik with his powers by having him more a nearby radar dish so it’s pointing at them and helps him realize that anger isn’t the only thing that powers his abilities by reminding him of the memories of his mother that he had long forgotten. When the President makes his remarks about the rising Missile crisis in Cuba, Erik says that Shaw will be in Cuba, as he will want to make sure that the war he has been planning starts. That night, Hank goes to Raven’s room and shows her the cure he made from her blood cells, saying that they can finally be normal, but Raven tells him that they are normal as they are and shouldn’t have to hide who they are but Hank sadly walks away. Raven goes to Eric’s room and attempts to seduce him and when he tells her he wants to see the real Raven, she changes and he kisses her. Meanwhile, Hank injects himself with his cure but instead of making him human, it increases his stalled mutation, causing him to begin growing fur. The next day, Xavier and the others enter Hank’s lab to find it trashed but no sign of him anywhere. They don the uniforms he fashioned for them and head to the hangar where his supersonic jet, the Blackbird, is kept and Hank meets them there, revealing himself to have mutated into a more leonine, beast form with blue fur. Hank, dubbed Beast by Havoc, pilots the jet to Cuba, where the opposing fleets are watching as the Russian ship carrying the missiles continues towards Cuba. As the ship nears the embargo line, Xavier uses his powers to learn that Azazel has killed the crew and set the ship towards the line. He then takes control of a soviet sailor and has him fire on the ship, destroying it and preventing a war from starting. Shaw realizes what has happened and, donning his helmet, makes plans to absorb the energy from the sub’s reactor to turn himself into a weapon. Realizing that Shaw must be in his sub, Banshee uses his powers to dive into the water and act as a sonar system, allowing Xavier to locate the sub. Magneto then uses his powers to lift the sub out of the water and move it towards a nearby island. Riptide emerges on deck and uses his powers to attack the plane, causing Erik to lose control and crash the sub, just as the plane is damaged and crashes as well. As Xavier checks on everyone, he and Moira realize that Shaw is draining power from his reactor and they have to stop him. Erik, Beast, and Havoc see Angel, Azazel, and Riptide waiting to stop them and Havoc attacks first, slamming Riptide into the sub. Azazel teleports behind them and attacks Havoc but Beast grabs Azazel and they teleport away, eventually landing on a U.S. ship. Magneto rips open the sub, knocking Riptide unconscious with the falling debris, and Xavier uses his powers to guide him towards where a void exists that Shaw must be in. Meanwhile, Hank and Azazel continue fighting, teleporting off the ship, while Havoc is about to be arrested by the sailors when Angel attacks them all, damaging Havoc’s suit in the process. Suddenly, Banshee reappears from underwater and attacks Angel, then rescues Havoc from the sailors. Angel attacks them, damaging Banshee’s suit and causing them to crash onto the beach but as she goes to finish them off, Angel fires at her and damages her wings, bringing her down as well. Meanwhile, Beast and Azazel continues to fight each other, eventually moving back to the beach and when Azazel is about to kill Beast, Mystique, disguised as Shaw, distracts him long enough for Beast to knock him out. On the sub, Erik powers down the reactor and Shaw opens the chamber and begins talking with Erik. When Erik attempts to attack him, Shaw easily rebuffs the attack, then slams Erik into the wall, cracking it open and allowing Xavier to uses his powers to see inside. As Erik and Shaw continue to fight, Erik tricks Shaw and manages to remove his helmet, allowing Xavier to take control of Shaw’s body and stop him. Erik then dons Shaw’s helmet and approaches Shaw, telling him he agrees with what he said about mutants being the future but he is still going to kill him for killing his mother. Erik then takes the coin that Shaw asked him to move, which he kept all these years, and uses his powers to push it through Shaw’s head. Erik then leaves the sub, moving Shaw’s body before him, and tells everyone to stop fighting, as the real enemy is out there, pointing to the U.S. and Russian fleets, which have both received orders to fire on the beach. As the missiles and rockets head towards them, Erik takes control of them and uses his powers to send them back. Xavier tries to stop him but Erik is able to fight him off and pin him to the ground. When Moria tries to shoot Erik, he deflects the bullets but one of them hits a rising Xavier in the back. Concerned for his friend, Erik lets the missiles and rockets crash to the sea or explode harmlessly as he quickly removes the bullet from Xavier. He then attacks Moria, saying she did this but Xavier tells him that he did it, causing Erik to release her. Erik then speaks to the other mutants and asks them to join him and Mystique does, stopping to say goodbye to Xavier and asking Moria to take care of him. Angel, Azazel, and Riptide join as well and when the others refuse, Azazel teleports them out of there. Beast, Banshee, and Havoc rush to Xavier’s side and Xavier tells them that he can’t feel his legs. Some time later, Moria is pushing Xavier in his wheelchair as he is talking about turning his mansion into a school for mutants to learn how to control their abilities but when they share a kiss, he uses his powers to wipe her memory, as he doesn’t want to have her report this to her superiors. As Moria is giving her report and explaining the memory gaps, an explosion is heard at CIA headquarters. Inside their secret prison, Erik, now going by Magneto, frees Emma and invites her to join his new Brotherhood, which she accepts.

X-Men: First Class met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise.” While they were adversaries in the movie (though they later joined Magneto at the movie’s end), in the comics, Azazel and Mystique were lovers, with the result of their union being the X-Man Nightcrawler. The movie was a box office success, earning $353.6 million off of a $160 million budget and would go on to spawn two more prequels, with a third movie coming out next year.

So I will say that this is a pretty good movie all around, though fanboy me did have some problems with some of the things in it. I thought that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both did great jobs as Xavier and Magneto respectively. I also liked Nicholas Hoult as a young beast but was kind of “meh” on Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw. The story was pretty interesting and I liked the initial set up for them such as how the X-Men initially worked with the government but after the government turned on them in fear, Xavier felt it best to sever the ties and keep them a secret. I also liked how they try to set up some things for the future, such as having Stryker’s father being one of the CIA special agents that didn’t trust Xavier and the others from the start and wanted them destroyed, setting up how that would carry over to his son’s work. One slight problem with continuity that they had was in regards to Shaw’s helmet, which Magneto would later come to possess. In the first movie, Xavier didn’t know what was allowing Magneto to hide his thoughts from him, with the helmet was somewhat pivotal in the second movie as well. But in this movie, he did learn of the helmet and would have known later on why he was unable to read Magneto’s mind. It’s minor, true, but an annoying bit of a continuity error. The other thing I didn’t like was their dealing with the powers of Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw. With Emma, they made her powers more like the current comics version, where she had a secondary mutation giving her the diamond skin, which was annoying to me but not really necessary as they could have simply left her as just a telepath and made her more of a foil for Xavier in trying to keep the X-Men from stopping Shaw’s plans. With Shaw, they seemed to have more fun in changing his powers. In the comics, he did absorb the kinetic energy of anything that strikes him, which does allow him to survive explosions and what not, but that trick he did with Darwin was honestly some Hollywood BS in my opinion and simply a way to kill off Darwin. On that note, the special effects were pretty good and I loved the setting of everything being during the cold war in 1962, as this was right at the time the silver age of comics was getting started, though a full year before the X-Men first appeared. Still, my annoyances aside, this was an entertaining movie and a good way to bring some new life to the franchise after The Last Stand.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 17th, 2018 Movie – Tremors

tremors

Some of my favorite movies are the ones that come out in theaters but absolutely bomb, then manage to find new life when it hits video. Granted, that doesn’t mean that every one of these movies is something I will enjoy, as there are some absolute bombs that I have no real desire to watch, but some like today’s movie just scream right out at me. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and thinking that it was something I would absolutely enjoy. Of course, the main thing I remember from the trailer was them always promoting Reba McEntire, as this was her theatrical debut. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Tremors.

The plot: In the former mining town of Perfection, Nevada, Valentine “Val” McKee and Earl Basset are working as handymen for the small tiny community, doing odd jobs to try and earn a living. As they are heading back into town, they see Rhonda LeBeck, a seismologist student, out in the desert and stop to talk to her. Rhonda asks them if they know of any drilling or blasting going on in the area, as she has been getting some strange readings from the seismographs, and they tell her no but say they will ask around to see if anyone else might know. As they go about their tasks for the day, Val complains about what they are doing and says they should just leave. When the hose on a septic pump burst, dousing them in the filth, Earl takes it as the last straw and decides they should leave. The two pack up their belongings and start to make their way out of town when they notice Edgar Deems apparently stuck on a electrical tower. Thinking he got drunk and climbed up the tower and is too scared or drunk to climb back down, Val climbs up the tower to get Edgar down only to discover that he is dead. Bringing the body to Jim Wallace, the local doctor, they ask what killed him and Jim says Edgar died of dehydration, and Val and Earl wonder what could have caused Edgar to stay up on the tower long enough for that to happen. Elsewhere, a shepherd named “Old Fred” is working out on his field when he notices his sheep acting nervous. Looking around, he doesn’t see any predator close by so he continues to work in his field only to be attacked by something underground. As Val and Earl pass by Fred’s place, the notice the bloody sheep pen, as something has killed all of his sheep, and go looking for Fred only to find his severed head in the ground underneath his hat. Val and Earl head back to Perfection, warning two construction workers as the pass by them, but while one of the workers gets nervous, the other one says they are messing with them and goes back to using a jackhammer when the jackhammer suddenly breaks through the ground and strikes something, which lets out a roar as blood oozes up from the ground. The creature makes it’s way through the earth, dragging the jackhammer, and the worker who was caught in the hose, along with it and as the second worker goes to help his friend, he ends up caught in a landslide that blocks the road. Val and Earl return to town and try to use the phone at Walter Chang’s store to call the authorities but when it isn’t working, they decide to drive to the nearest town and alert the authorities only to find the only road out of town blocked by the landslide. Finding a bloody helmet by the rocks, Val and Earl decide to leave only for their truck to temporarily get stuck before Val is able to work it free and they head back to town. When they get there, everyone wonders what is going on when a little girl named Mindy discovers a strange snake-like creature wrapped around the truck’s rear axle. Val says that must have been what they were stuck on and Burt Gummer, a survivalist that lives in the town, says that it would take more than just the one worm to stop their truck, indicating there might be more out there. That night, Jim and his wife Megan are out by the frame of their home when their generator suddenly sinks into the ground. When Jim goes to investigate, he is attacked and killed and Megan gets into their car only to have the creatures drag the car under ground. Back in town, the townsfolk discuss what they should do, as the town is effectively isolated due to the surrounding mountains they decide to send Val and Earl on Walter’s pack horse to Bixby to get help. As Val and Earl ride off, they stop by the Wallace’s only to find the buried car and realize they are both dead. The continue out of town only for Earl’s horse to get attacked by the creatures and when Val shoots one of them, they discover the creatures are actually the tongues of a giant slug-like creature. The creature chases after Val and Earl but when the jump a concrete drainage ditch to get away, the creature slams into it and ends up killing itself. Rhonda shows up, having detected seismic activity in the area and as they examine the creature, Rhonda says that her readings indicate that there are 3 more creatures out there. Deciding to get Rhonda’s truck and head back into town, Rhonda notices the seismograph getting a reading just as another creature attacks them. The three make it up onto some nearby rocks and Val and Earl notice one of the tongues is just a stump and realize this is the same creature that grabbed their truck earlier. With “Stumpy” keeping them trapped on the rocks, they are forced to stay the night out there but the next day, they use some nearby poles to pole vault across the rock outcroppings until they reach Rhonda’s truck and manage to get away. Heading back into town, they try to tell everyone that they have to leave and head up into the mountains, as the “Graboids” (as Walter decided to name them) attacks have them on a course right to the town. Suddenly, Melvin, a teenager that has a penchant for causing trouble, screams out and they find him up on a sign post, just as a Graboid bursts up from the ground. Val and Earl tell everyone to get inside and stay quiet but then runs outside to rescue Mindy from being eaten. As Earl and Rhonda go to help him, they see another Graboid approaching and Rhonda gets ensnared in some barbed wire fencing. Val goes to help her, hitting the Graboid with a pick axe and he has her take her pants off so she can get free and they run back to Walter’s store. Val tends to Rhonda’s wounds and they try to figure out their next move when the coke machine suddenly starts squeeling and Val, Earl, and Walter rush to unplug it only for a Graboid to burst out from the floor and kill Walter. Val, Earl, and Miguel climb up to the roof of the store while Rhonda, who had been knocked out the window, climbs up the nearby water tower, and they yell for Nancy, Mindy, Nester, and Melvin to get on the roofs of their homes, or the outhouse in Melvin’s case. Meanwhile, Burt and his wife Heather return to their home after trying to hunt down the Graboids and Heather notices the people on their roofs. Burt uses his radio to contact the store and Val grabs the CB radio and warns Burt about the Graboid being underground just as one heads towards Burt’s house. When the Graboid bursts into their basement, Burt and Heather begin shooting at it and Burt finally manages to kill it with an elephant gun. Val warns him about their being two more Graboids so Burt and Heather head up to the roof of their house. Val asks if he can get to his truck and get help but a second Graboid shows up at the Gummer’s house and disables their truck. Meanwhile, Stumpy begins attacking the foundations of the various buildings, managing to knock Nestor off of his mobile home and kill him. Earl comes up with the idea of using the nearby bulldozer to make it to the mountains, thinking the Graboids wouldn’t be able to stop it, and they could drag an old semi trailer behind them to carry everyone to safety. Miguel starts up Walter’s tractor to serve as a decoy and Val starts running for the bulldozer but when the tractor gets knocked over, Val is forced to stop as the Graboids appear near him. Earl, Miguel, Rhonda, and Melvin start shouting out to try and get the Graboids’ attention, with Rhonda knocking loose a pipe from the water tower. As the falling water from the tower draws the Graboids towards her, Val is able to reach the bulldozer and use a chain to attach the trailer to it, then heads towards the town to rescue everyone there. They then pick up Burt and Heather, who bring several weapons and supplies with them, and they start heading towards the mountains. As they get near the mountains, they notice the Graboids doing something in the distance only to end up falling into a pit that the Graboids dug. Burt uses a pipe bomb to try and attack the Graboids but when it explodes, they notice the sound of the explosion drove off the Graboids. They decide to head for some nearby rocks, using another pipe bomb to keep the Graboids at bay. When they get there, tempers start to flare between Burt, Val, and Earl as they argue over the fact that they are stuck on the rocks. Burt has an idea on using pipe bombs like fishing lures and manage to kill one of the Graboids. When they go after the second one, Val sees that it is Stumpy and wants to kill it himself but Stumpy spits out the bomb, which lands in the bag containing Burt’s other bombs. As everyone takes cover from the explosion, Val, Earl, and Rhonda end up off the rock and star tto head back only to be cut off by Stumpy. Burt and the others try to get Stumpy’s attention but Val realizes he isn’t falling for it. Holding up one of the pipe bombs that he had grabbed before the explosion, Val heads for the nearby cliff, with Earl and Rhonda following after him. As Stumpy chases them, Val lights the pipe bomb and throws it past Stumpy so that when it explodes, it causes Stumpy to blindly charge forward away from the blast, and end up running off the cliff and falling to his death. Some time later, the residents are working to get their lives back on track and Rhonda is preparing to lead up the study of the Graboids and as she leaves, Val, pressured by Earl, runs after her and kisses her and the two embrace.

Tremors met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “An affectionate throwback to 1950’s creature features, Tremors reinvigorates its genre tropes with a finely balanced combination of horror and humor.” Despite the good reviews, the movie was barely a hit at the box office, earning $16.6 million off of an $11 million budget. However, it more than tripled it’s box office gross in home video rentals and sales, which helped it spawn 4 sequels, with a 5th one being released in May 2018, and a short lived television series.

This is such a fun movie to watch and probably a guilty pleasure for a lot of people. The acting was good, with Kevin Bacon (Val) and Fred Ward (Earl) doing a good job in their roles. I also have to admit that Reba did a pretty decent job in her acting debut but I don’t think she warranted all of the hype that she was given in the trailers. The story was an absolute throwback to the giant monster movies of the 50’s form the setting in a small/isolated town in the desert to the distrust of the government. The Graboid design was actually pretty good and definitely unique but some of the effects regarding the Graboid were a little less than stellar, like some sub par blue screen work and the final seen where Stumpy falls off the cliff and dies. It could be considered a high budget B-movie (which would probably be an oxymoron) and might not be up for everyone but it is definitely worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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