Tremors Is the Pick of the Week

There have been so many movies that have been throwbacks or tributes to the creatures features of the 1950s. These wonderful flicks include Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) The ‘Burbs (1989) and Matinee (1993), but the one that I always come back to is Tremors (1990), director Ron Underwood’s modest but highly entertaining gem, that contains a near-perfect blend of thrills, chills, and spills (in more ways than one).

Val McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward) are frustrated with their dull and boring lives in a small Nevada town. But just as they start making their way out, a series of bizarre murders and strange events puts a halt on their prospects. At first, they think that maybe there is a serial killer on the loose, but in turns out be much more frightening than that. They run into gutsy seismologist student Rhonda (Finn Carter), who is concerned about sinister readings from below the dirt. They figure out that there are gigantic, man-eating worms that hunger for human flesh. With the help of Rhonda and a quirky, gun-slinging couple (Michael Gross and Reba McEntire), they try to survive against the worms and find higher ground.

With solid chemistry and performances by the cast, memorable lines, and nasty special effects (albeit dated), the film manages to stand the test of time, even in a franchise (with lesser sequels) that seems to never end. It continues to be a fan-favorite, and rightly so.

The great folks at Arrow are releasing a stellar and stacked limited edition Blu-ray, one that has a new 4k restoration, and tons of special features, such as two new audio commentaries (one with Underwood, and writers/producers Brent Maddock & S.S. Wilson, the other with Jonathan Melville, author of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors; brand new documentaries and featurettes; new interviews with Bacon, Ward, and many members of the crews; deleted scenes and original opening; incredibly detailed image galleries, including rare behind-the-scenes stills; theatrical trailers, TV, and radio spots, as well as those for the entire franchise; outtakes; three early short films; and much, much more.

This release is bound to be a pretty big deal and an obvious must-have for many fans and film collectors. This is one of the many reasons why Arrow is a formidable force in home entertainment, and a worthy competitor to Criterion.

Other interesting releases:

Amores Perros (Criterion): director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s ferocious debut about the interconnected stories of three different people trying to live in Mexico City after a near-fatal car accident involving all of them.

The Curse of Frankenstein (Warner Archive): a new two-disc edition of the 1957 cult horror Hammer remake about Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) who is in prison telling a priest how he and his mentor performed many scientific experiments, including resurrecting a monster (Sir Christopher Lee) made from body parts. It eventually leads to a confrontation between Frankenstein and his monster, which only one will prevail.

Diary of a Mad Housewife (Kino): A very dark comedy about a harried wife (Carrie Snodgress) with an abusive husband (Richard Benjamin) who has an affair with an intense writer (Frank Langella).

The Wolf of Snow Hollow: Officer Marshall (writer-director-star Jim Cummings) lives in a small mountain town where bodies are discovered under each full moon. As he loses sleep, raises a teenage daughter, and cares for his ailing father, he struggles to remind himself that there’s no such thing as werewolves.

Young Man with a Horn (Warner Archive): The late, great Kirk Douglas plays a driven trumpet player who devotes his entire life to music, to the chagrin of everything else. Doris Day and Lauren Bacall plays the women caught in his rage and ambition.


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