GORE IN THE STORE
Directed by Ron Underwood
Starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross. Reba McEntrie, Robert Jayne, Charlotte Stewart, Victor Wong.
USA 1990 96 Mins Certificate: 15
Limited Edition Blu-Ray released by Arrow Video on December 14th 2020.
“Instinct…memory…what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives…”
The biggest surprise of reviewing this Arrow Video edition was discovering that, during its initial release, TREMORS was a box office bomb. Thirty Years later it's a beloved cult classic, with a lucrative franchise comprising five direct-to-video sequels and a television series (though the less about all of these, the better). EE even referenced the film in one of its many Kevin Bacon starring advertisements and, here in the UK, can often be spotted late at night on one of the numerous ITV channels. Why all this love for a film which barely managed to make it? Well, because it's excellent, that's why.
It's easy to see why TREMORS remains so well-loved as the comedy, tension and performances all stay as fresh as they did thirty years ago. Arrow's new remastering highlights the excellent work of cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski, who approved this new version alongside director Ron Underwood. The film looks better than ever, spotlighting the breathtaking natural beauty of Lone Pine, the film's desert location. Whilst I'm no expert on the various releases, it's undoubtedly the best-looking version of the film that I've seen.
As we are now used to with Arrow, this set is packed with unique features delving into every possible aspect of the production. Included are two brand new commentaries, one with director Ron Underwood and writers/producers Brent Maddock and SS Wilson and the other with author and TREMORS super-fan Jonathan Melville. The former is easily the more interesting of the two, as Melville will occasionally describe what it is you're seeing on screen as it's happening. However, he does sprinkle this with a variety of interesting facts, and his enthusiasm shines throughout.
The star feature of this release is the new documentary MAKING PERFECTION. This comprises interviews with basically everyone involved in the production that the people at Arrow were able to convince to sit in front of a camera including Bacon, Michael Gross, Ariana Richards, Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson. It's a polished and insightful documentary that moves along at a brisk pace. It does seem to brush over some areas a little too quickly, but this is where the other features come in. For example, THE TRUTH ABOUT TREMORS, a new interview with co-producer Nancy Roberts, thoroughly explores the scripting and pre-production process, delving far more profound than the documentary. It's easily one of the highlights of the set, with Roberts proving to be a fascinating interviewee and her enthusiasm and pride for the film is evident throughout.
BAD VIBRATIONS is a new interviewee with cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski, who isn't as good an interviewee as Roberts, coming across a little more awkward. Nonetheless, he explores the film's visual Western influences, and it's a fun little feature. Ellen Collett provides some humorous onset stories in AFTERSHOCKS AND OTHER RUMBLINGS whilst DIGGING IN THE DIRT interviews the effects crews. MUSIC FOR GRABOIDS is a little awkward, having Ernest Troost and Robert Folk talk off-camera over film footage and seems as if it may have been scripted. It's interesting, however, though maybe not as engaging as the other interviews.
THE MAKING OF TREMORS and CREATURE FEATURETTE are archive documentaries, they don't provide much new, but it's nice to have them included. Easily the funniest feature on the set is PARDON MY FRENCH, which shows sequences from the films television edit where overdubbing was used to try and hide some of the films uses of language and taking of the Lord's name in vain. It's short but oh so sweet and is sure to provide some laughs. The rest of Disc one is filled out with deleted scenes, Image galleries, an electronic press kit as well as trailers and spots for the film and all others in the franchise.
Those purchasing the Limited Edition get an extra treat in the form of an additional disc made up of extended hour-long interviews from MAKING PERFECTION. They are insightful, fun, and for those wanting even more information about the making of the film, it's a great addition. A selection of outtakes is also included in the form of a 'gag reel' with an option commentary by S S Wilson. Finally, three short films from the makers of TREMORS fill out the disc, the highlight of which is undeniably S S Wilsons 1975 horror-comedy RECORDED LIVE.
For fans of TREMORS, this Arrow edition is a must-have. As well as the new print, the wealth of features explores almost every inch of the making of the film and are sure to have something for everyone. Without a doubt the single best release of the film thus far- though I imagine that for many fans who saw this during its initial renaissance on Video, their battered and grainy VHS will remain the definitive version.
Review by Callum McKelvie.