Saturday, October 5, 2013


Every horrorhound's favorite month is upon us, and to celebrate, I'll be dishing out a personal pick from the genre for every day in October. Some will be obvious and rather unoriginal (sorry that I like movies other people like), while some will be a little more oddball and off-the-wall. Some may even challenge your idea of what constitutes a "horror" movie. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the month with some good movies, even if they aren't ones I recommend!

Today's Pick: Tremors (1990)

Everybody loves a good monster movie, especially when the tone of the film is fun and light-hearted. Tremors might just be one of the pinnacles of this particular sub-genre. It's got a great cast, a simple set-up and features one of cinema's most inventive and plain ol' awesome creatures.

The premise of the film goes a little something like this: Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are two local handymen in the middle-of-nowhere desert town of Perfection. On the day they decide to pack up and leave for greener pastures, they end up discovering a bunch of corpses that have all died in mysterious ways. It turns out that Perfection has a new addition to their local wildlife: a group of carnivorous underground beasties that are looking to add the folks of Perfection to their personal menu.

Tremors works on practically every level you could want it to. The cast is relatively small, giving each character their own distinct personality without any of them feeling like a caricature. The framework of the movie is that classic western/horror hybrid (small town bands together against an invading force, in this case, giant subterranean worms) that gives the whole film an adventurous atmosphere. The film has genuine moments of real terror (the "car scene" comes to mind), but it has a great sense of humor about itself, lifted up by an equally lovable cast of characters and terrific performers. However, the most effective element of Tremors is undoubtedly its creatures.

Graboids (as they are later labeled in the film and its sequels) are one of those perfect movie monsters that manage to feel incredibly real while also maintaining a wondrously fantastic quality. The way they function and are constructed make so much sense, and that only makes them more memorable. I also love that the film doesn't explain their origins, instead allowing the cast to present their own wildly different theories which pretty much cover any possible origin that could exist. And the writing of the movie paces out what we learn about the Graboids so perfectly that we're still figuring things out about how they work and think when the climax comes around. It's some of the best creature creation (both in terms of concept and physical execution) to come out of Hollywood in decades.

Tremors is one of my top favorite films of all time, so I could gush about it forever. Instead, I'll just say that this is one of those monster movies kids should see at just the right time in order for them to cultivate a real love of the genre. While it treats its subject matter seriously (what would this scenario actually be like?), it keeps a sense of fun about itself without dipping into shameless self-parody. It's a perfect movie, and a great one for the whole family to enjoy. ...If your family likes movies about giant worms that eat people.

For tomorrow's pick, we're going to add a musical to the list! Hint: It's not The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In fact, it's leaps and bounds better! Come back tomorrow and find out!

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