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For, Friday, May 18, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the release of last week of the fifth straight-to-video sequel to the horror-comedy ‘Tremors,’ a new, four-disc ‘complete collection’ of the movies has also been released. The first film, which played in theaters, is still the best, of course, thanks largely to a first-rate cast: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross, and in her acting debut, Reba McEntire. Ward and Gross hung on for the first sequel, then Gross remained for the rest, including the latest, ‘Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.’ Here’s my Jan. 23, 1990, Deseret News review of the first film.

"Tremors" is a throwback to the old '50s creature features — you know, "The Blob," "Them!" "Tarantula."

But "Tremors" recognizes that its premise — in this case giant sandworms that look like they were lifted from "Dune" — is ridiculous, so it makes the clever choice of presenting itself as both monster movie and comedy.

Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward ("The Right Stuff," "Remo Williams") are a pair of modern-day cowboys working as "handymen" in the Nevada desert near a small town called Perfection when they stumble upon the worms.


Finn Carter, left, Reba McEntire, Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross and Fred Ward prepare for battle in 'Tremors.'

They join the town's few residents in trying to destroy the creatures, and when that fails they attempt to get into the rocky hills where the worms are unable to tunnel.

Among the townfolk are a pair of overzealous survivalists, well-played by Michael Gross (the father on TV's "Family Ties") and country-singing star Reba McEntire, who have an arsenal in their bomb shelter.

There's definitely a campy tone to most of the laughs, but Bacon and Ward are deadpan as they make wisecracks, resulting in a satisfying combination of humor and horror.


Like many of those horror movies of old, "Tremors" never tries to explain exactly what these creatures are: Oversize worms? Humongous snakes? Overactive shoelaces?

But it's funny enough and scary enough to while away 90 minutes, and, as you might expect, the special effects are first-rate as the monsters tunnel at high speeds, tracking their human prey.

"Tremors" is rated PG-13, but there is an abundance of profanity and enough violence, with accompanying glop-and-goo special effects, that you might want to steer young ones elsewhere.