There are many forms of horror out there. From torture porn to comedic, there are horror classics of all kinds! Here is one of James’ favorites!
Tremors Original Summary
Valentine and Earl, two handymen staying in Perfection, Nevada, decide to leave the town but stumble upon the dead body of a friend. They find that strange underground creatures are killing people.
Horror Has Many Faces
All right, Biters get on your roof and grab your heat shields because I thought I’d talk about Universal’s 1990 cult classic Tremors. Now I’ll admit, at first, I wasn’t going to look at this franchise even though I’m a huge fan of it.
With its bright sunny Nevada desert backdrop. With the cast sporting a blue-collar wardrobe. I figured it just wasn’t goth enough. After getting a friendly reminder.
After all, the Bite is written by monsters for monsters. It’s time to look at one of my favorites, the Graboid from Tremors.
The film follows two handymen in a small town in a fight for survival against subterranean monsters after getting cut off from the rest of civilization.
What About JAWS On Land?
The main inspiration being an on land JAWS is quite apparent. Both Tremors and JAWS feature bright sunny locations, the monster goes unseen for a good chunk of the movie, making them both a bit of a slow burn. It is like any good horror movie. Each also spawned several sequels.
Unlike its inspiration, however, JAWS was a total success. That is even though Spielberg was told his film would flop. Tremors, on the other hand, bombed at the box office. That is with star Kevin Bacon considering it the lowest point of his career. Yet, it went on to become a cult classic.
I do find it funny, though, that despite Bacon’s low opinion of the movie, he admitted having nightmares of the Graboids. It caused him to carry his wife outside while sleepwalking to save her from the creatures.
Now it would be wrong and downright blasphemous to write about this franchise and not bring up Burt Gummer. I like to think of Burt as the original Jack Sparrow.
Burt, much like Captain Sparrow initially thought as a side character became the fan-favorite and stole the spotlight. The main heroes—Val McKee and Earl Bassett, found themselves in the shadows of Gummer as a Graboid hunter.
Stuck In A Rut
Unlike Bacon—McKee, Gross—Gummer really seemed to love the franchise and his role as Gummer. He mentioned that at his age, he thought he would be stuck in family man roles for the rest of his career.
Aside from his “family man” sitcom, I say it was apparent that he enjoyed his role as Gummer. That is for the same reason we enjoyed watching his paranoid anti-government persona and pro-gun survivalist comedic relief.
Also worth mentioning is that while it seems the movies started to pass the torch to newer characters, Burt is still present. He is going from monster hunting badass to the old man too stubborn to die. Also, the Graboid PTSD is starting to show.
Aliens Come In Many Forms
They say a hero is only as good as his villain, so let’s talk Graboid. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Graboid isn’t that scary. They are just oversized worms. They’re not some nightmare-inducing creatures like saying the xenomorph from the Alien franchise.
To me, what makes these guys scary is they are patient. Plus, they learn and adapt. If you do like the characters from the movie. If Graboid knows you’re there but hiding out of reach. It will just rip whatever you’re standing on out from under you.
Gone somewhere it can’t go or tear down that’s fine. You can risk making a break for it or stay immobile and die from lack of food, water, and maybe heat stroke. The point is that you will give up long before the Graboid will in some shape or form.
It was said on the commentary for Tremors four people still enjoy these movies. That is for the same reason people enjoy vampire movies. We already know all the rules. The fun comes from the characters starting to figure them out.
All in all, Biters…
I have a fond memory of this film, and it’s sequels as it kind of always being on the TV at my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. In a way, making this my first ever monster film.
I enjoy its use of practical effects, which I think hold up in a somewhat retro fashion.
All in all, Biters if you’re looking for nostalgic movie binge or fun light horror maybe dig into Tremors.