Film & Water #172 – Tremors


Episode 172 - Tremors

Rob welcomes back fellow podcaster Paul Hix to achieve his lifelong dream of discussing the 1990 horror comedy Tremors on a podcast!

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11 responses to “Film & Water #172 – Tremors

  1. So happy to have another episode of Film & Water, and I’m even happier you’re covering Tremors! This is without a doubt one of the most FUN movies ever made. I have seen all the sequels and the TV series and have enjoyed them all. I eagerly await the 7th film, although I do agree with Mr Hix, the films do lose something after the 3rd movie.
    I would recommend all the movies, but I wouldn’t recommend a “binge watch”. I’d give it a week or two before watching the fifth movie, and then another week or two before the 6th. You’re likely to appreciate them more.
    On last bit, while it is never officially stated in the movie, I do believe that Melvin is Nestor’s son. (Nestor is the unfortunate fellow who is knocked off his trailer home and then pulled down through the tire.)
    Melvin has such an emotional outburst, and is so distraught by Nestor’s death, it would be out of character were he not Nestor’s son. This is off course only a theory.

  2. This movie was in heavy rotation during my high school days. I recorded it on a VHS tape and would play it all the time when me and my friends were just hanging out.

    As Matt said in the comment above, this is a delightfully fun movie. The comedy flows naturally from the characters born out of their attitudes and situations without ever feeling forced, and the horror, such as it is, arises from simple jump scares and tense action sequences, but is never too gory and never prolonged enough to feel upsetting except for when the Doc and his wife die, as you guys discussed.

    And, also as you discussed, I agree a huge part of the enjoyment factor of this movie and why it holds up and feels timeless is that the characters are simultaneously “everyman” types but also capable and competent. There is never a moment where someone acts moronically out-of-character for the sake of the plot or a scare. The heroes react naturally to the given situation and they problem-solve. And so do the graboids! The best parts of the movie are when Val, Earl, and Rhonda are trapped on the first set of rocks; and then when Val, Earl, and Miguel are on the rooftop, and then when everyone is on the last set of rocks, because that’s when the characters have to think their way out of the danger, and those are cinematic moments you want to revisit and characters you want to root for.

    1. Yes! I also agree that a huge part of the appeal to this film is how likable all the characters are (well, maybe not Melvin, but he’s more annoying than unlikeable) I love the part where Burt finally gives Melvin a gun only for Melvin to discover it was unloaded!
      “Got you moving, didn’t it.”
      That’s another nice part of the characters. They CARE about each other. Sure they have their squabbles, but the look out for each other and ultimately prevail because they work together.

  3. I’m adding to the chorus here of just really enjoying this movie. It was in heavy rotation with me and my friends as well, and I recall showing it to Cindy not too long after we started dating, and it became a frequent rental for us as well.

    I really loved how well-developed the characters in the town were, even if they weren’t very “deep”. I remember thinking Rhonda was cute, but I was always more of a “girl next door” type of guy. Sorry to hear the actress’ career didn’t take off, and of her current legal woes.

    I haven’t seen this in years, and I think Dani would get a kick out of this. I think this will make a fun family quarantine movie night! Thanks Rob and Paul for reminding me how much I love this movie!


    1. Watched Tremors last night with Cindy and Dani, and the kid gave it a thumbs up. It’s as fun as I remembered, minus the disturbing deaths, but that’s just good film-making.


  4. Funny, listening to your discussion, I realize that I’ve always thought of this movie as more of a comedy than a horror film. Regardless of how you label it, I love it, even though I haven’t watched it in years. I may have to steal Chris’ idea and show this one to my daughter. She doesn’t like horror, but this probably has enough humor in it to win her over.

    Also, I have vague memories of seeing Tremors 2 at some point, but was otherwise unaware of the other movies in this franchise. I may have to give the first few a try.

    Thank you, gentlemen.

  5. This was a very enjoyable episode, Paul and Rob. Coincidentally, we showed this movie to our kids the week before you posted this, and we all loved it. I agree with everything y’all said about this movie. It’s as if the writers had a list of classic horror blunders — or even just overused tropes — and intentionally avoided every one of them.

    My wife was the one who actually got me interested in this film, back when we were dating in college. She and her best friend growing up (they’re still close) had loved both Short Circuit and Tremors, but my wife didn’t realize the connection until I learned it listening to y’all. I think, prior to seeing Tremors with her, I had assumed it was just another movie poking fun at rural America, which I wouldn’t have appreciated. As you point out here, that isn’t the case at all.

    One key aspect you didn’t mention is how feminist this movie is. Admittedly, you did point out the respect they show Rhonda throughout, which was key. Even when she had to strip out of her jeans, she was reclothed (with jeans from the store? I can’t remember) almost immediately. A lesser film would have exploited the opportunity. But the most feminist scene is between Michael Gross and Reba McEntire when they’re selecting weaponry for fighting the worms. Burt asks Heather what she recommends, she says to go for penetration over volume of fire for some very solid reasons, and he immediately agrees.

    Come to think of it, the movie also presented a really positive portrayal of marriage overall, between the Gummers and the unfortunate doctor and his wife. (I’m ignoring Heather’s absence in later films for now.).

    Anyway, my thanks to Paul for being persistent in his badgering from the other side of the planet, and also to Rob for finally seeing the light!

  6. Glad to see this being reviewed here as Paul and I have a friendly twitter feud about what is the better giant worm franchise, Dune or Tremors. I can’t believe that 7 films are out there. I like Tremors a lot for all the reasons you guys point out.

    But 7 films!

    It reminds me of my own ‘I have to see every sequel that comes out’ franchise … Hellraiser. Ready to review when you want to Rob! We have all eternity to know your flesh!

    1. Finally, somebody brought up the obvious Dune / Tremors connection. I kept forgetting to. Thanks, Anj!

  7. Tremors is one of my go-to movies. I love the whole series. I do think it has a fun vibe and many interesting characters. You know, it’s just a good time.

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