Double That Feature #2: TREMORS
In his latest episode of DOUBLE THAT FEATURE, Giallo Julian recommends 4 films that will go great with TREMORS!
Double That Feature is a series where Giallo Julian suggests film pairs for movie night.
Tremors. You know I love Tremors. I wrote a whole article about Tremors last year. It is a non-negotiable custom for me to watch the first film every couple of months, if not every couple of weeks. Am I obsessed with it? I prefer the term “hardcore fan”, but I guess that really depends on one’s perspective.
Related Article: Double That Feature #1: John Carpenter’s THE THING
For those of you unfamiliar with this diamond among cinema, let me go ahead and give you the lowdown on the underground… worms… nailed it.
Anyways! Imagine, if you will, a small town in the middle of Central Califor-… er, Nevada. Perfection, Nevada, to be specific. Population? 14 residents. Small-town folk that lead simple lives and don’t really strive for anything greater. That is, except for one duo: Valentine McKee and Earl Bassett. Done with their lives as underappreciated handymen (and with getting covered in shit), they both decide to leave town and make new lives for themselves. Bixby, here we come, they say! Adios, small-town living! Hello big city- hey, why is that guy all the way up on that electrical tower? And why is there a face in the ground?
Turns out, the population of Perfection just got a little bigger… and it’s about to fall back down a bit, because these new residents have a hell of an appetite!
Also Read: Dread Central is now on Google News!
As you can guess by this article’s title, Tremors is another film I think is just brimming with Double Feature potential. But Giallo, says the voice in my head, what films would go with such a monster movie masterpiece? Don’t worry, Viola (that’s the name of my head voice), I got you. What follows is four flicks I think would be perfect to pair with Tremors for a movie night! So, find a rock to hole up on, load your elephant gun, and whatever you do, don’t make a sound. Let’s dig in!
1. Tremors II: Aftershocks (Directed by S.S. Wilson; Starring Fred Ward, Chris Gartin, Helen Shaver; 1996)
“Earl Bassett, now a washed-up ex-celebrity, is hired by a Mexican oil company to eradicate a Graboid epidemic that’s killing more people each day. However, the humans aren’t the only one with a new battle plan.” – via IMDB.
Okay, listen… I know this is cheating… but, c’mon. What better movie to pair with Tremors than its nearly just-as-good sequel, Tremors II: Aftershocks? And yes, I say that with a bias the size of a 30-foot man-eating worm… or, you know, 30 smaller yet-still-as-ravenous “ugly toads”. Despite (or because of) this fact, I feel more than confident that my assessment holds as strong as alluvial hills!… wait…
Tremors II does what a good sequel is supposed to when given a slashed budget. Innovate! Compensate! Mastur- no, wait, not that one. But definitely those first two. With smaller resources, the film crew couldn’t effectively replicate the first flick’s fantastic effects. Instead, they made a whole new progression for the Graboid that was equal parts creative, believable, and (most importantly) cost efficient.
Enter the Shriekers! Smaller Graboids with legs, long tongues, heat-seeking vision, and wonderful singing voices. These little buggers add just enough to keep the premise fresh, and allowed the creators to cash-in on the Jurassic Park velociraptor-craze of the time. At least they used a different monster, unlike some others during this period. I love these things almost as much as their larger, legless kin, and I think they’re a great addition to the Tremors canon.
Related Article: Kevin Bacon Would Still Love to Make New TREMORS Movie
They also brought back the cast from the first flick… well, two of them at least. Fred Ward reprises his role as handyman-turned-ostrich-farmer Earl Bassett, while Michael Gross loads up as paranoid-survivalist-turned-Graboid-exterminator Burt Gummer. And let me tell you… Burt has some banger lines. Probably the best dialogue in the entire series, truth be told. Reba McEntire wanted to come back as Burt’s badass wife, Heather, but couldn’t due to being on a music tour. What could have been, right?
As to why this would make a great Double Feature with Tremors… I’m sure you already know the answer to that.
2. Lake Placid (Directed by Steve Miner; Starring Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt; 1999)
“Three people attempt to stop a gigantic crocodile, who is terrorizing residents in Black Lake, Maine.” – via IMDB.
I didn’t realize that Steve Miner was this film’s director until I did this article. Blows my freaking mind. The guy who directed this entertaining croc-romp is the same man who helmed the first Day of the Dead remake. Crazy… although, to be fair, that movie is no longer the worst remake of Romero’s classic.
Back to point, this flick is one of my earliest theater memories. I’m pretty sure I saw this and Deep Blue Sea around the same time, which of course makes that one of my childhood’s best summers. As far as giant killer crocodile movies go, this one is probably going to give you the most bang for your buck.
You know how the story goes: small town has a lake nearby, people end up going missing/killed around the lake, local authorities go in to check it out, and discover a humongous flesh-hungry crocodilian’s to blame. It’s a timeless story, not unlike The Odyssey and Shrek 2. It’s nothing too fancy or unique, but that’s okay because it’s not trying to be. Never taking itself too seriously, the film tries it’s absolute best to have fun with the concept.
The crocodile itself is a mixture of practical FX and CGI, done by the great Stan Winston. Depending on the scene, it looks anywhere from good to really damn good. It moves how you’d expect a croc to move, bites how you’d think one would bite, eats bears just how you’d think it would; all the stuff that matters. Is it perfect? We all know that it’s not… but damn, it’s pretty up there. I’m sure everyone can agree it’s a longshot better than the one from Tobe Hooper’s flick.
Actors, acting, the cast, the cast of the movie, Lake Placid’s cast… they’re alright. I mean, it’s Bill Pullman doing Bill Pullman, and Bridget Fonda playing the scientist that exists in every flick like this. My favorite performance was that of Brendan Gleeson as the grumpy sheriff with a GRENADE LAUNCHER… yes, it does get used, and yes, it’s rad as hell. There’s also Oliver Platt’s character who’s a crocodile expert that doubles as a horny bastard, and he’s pretty fun. Overall, not much to complain about, as far as I’m concerned.
A bunch of residents in a small town are plagued by a ferocious beast, and must work together to end the threat before everyone ends up a hot lunch… sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s the theme I’m going for with these suggestions. It’s essentially Tremors in a nutshell, and I believe the same could be said for this flick. For that reason, I think they’d go great together!
3. Eight Legged Freaks (Directed by Ellory Elkayem; Starring David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra; 2002)
“Venomous spiders get exposed to a noxious chemical that causes them to grow to monumental proportions.” – via IMDB.
I forgot how much fun this movie was. I saw it in theaters as a kid, loved it, bought it on DVD, and watched it over and over. I hadn’t seen it since then (back when I was around 10), but after this most recent viewing, I completely understand why kid-me was so fond of it.
When it comes to giant spider movies, you either get old ‘50s flicks where they just superimpose real tarantulas over people running down empty streets, or SyFy original flicks that use copious amounts of cheap CGI. For all intents and purposes, the older flicks are more convincing effects-wise. However, between those two categories you have Eight Legged Freaks (and 2001’s Arachnid, but we’ll get to that another day), which is probably the best one currently out there.
A small town is invaded by giant spiders spawned by toxic waste, and the locals must work together to end the threat before everyone ends up a hot lunch… see, there’s that theme again. However, unlike the last two films I rambled about, this one’s played up more for laughs. Don’t get me wrong, the others have good jokes, but not enough to classify them as actual comedies. Eight Legged Freaks tries to channel some of those Gremlins vibes… about 20 years too late, but hey, better late than never. The spiders even have silly little voices you can occasionally hear, and despite how annoying that sounds, it’s actually pretty charming. Does the comedy always work? Not exactly, but I feel enough of the jokes hit for it not to be a problem. That’s surely up to personal tastes, though.
CGI… this movie is overflowing with it. Is it the best looking CGI in the history of cinema? No. Is it at least pretty decent? Also no. It looks rough at times, but the flick’s scenarios are so fun (like the part with the dirt bikes), that I’m willing to let the less-than-stellar effects slide a bit. I mean, they literally have dozens of giant spiders on screen at one point, and even though the scene is filled with jokes, it still ends up being rather unnerving. Large arachnids just have that effect on people no matter the tone, I guess. It’s not just one type of spider either; it’s a bunch of them. Jumping spiders, trapdoor spiders, tarantulas, orb weavers, you name it!
David Arquette has the leading role and he does a good job, but he’s nowhere near as cool as Kari Wuhrer’s sheriff/mom character. You know, the one that blasts spiders to bits with a shotgun and rallies the townsfolk to fight back. Yeah… she kicks major ass. The deputy (Rick Overton) and radio DJ (Doug E. Doug) are also fun to watch, having the best jokes. There’s a nerdy kid (Scott Terra), who looks suspiciously like Peter Parker, serving as the exposition machine. He’s alright, no complaints. Oh, and Scarlett Johansen is there, too. She does a good job… yeah, that’s about it.
Again, the theme of locals defending their town from monsters dominates my reasoning for pairing this with Tremors. That, and a direct reference to Tremors is made in the film itself. The nerdy kid says the spiders hunt by vibrations, and that they should avoid making loud noises… you don’t say?
4. Feast (Directed by John Gulager; Starring Navi Rawat, Krista Allen, Balthazar Getty; 2005)
“Patrons locked inside a bar are forced to fight monsters.” – via IMDB.
Definitely a departure in tone from the rest. The others, despite being about monsters that gruesomely eat people, have a relative lightheartedness to their stories. This one… this one is just mean.
Patrons of a middle-of-nowhere bar must defend themselves from a pack of hungry, horny monsters. Yes, you read that right. No, I won’t repeat myself… okay, just one more time. Hungry, horny monsters… heh heh… I’m a child. Anyway, the plot isn’t what makes this film worth watching. It’s a tried-and-true narrative that works more often than not. What does make me recommend this flick is its execution of… well, of everything.
Let’s start with the characters. There’s a lot of them, and the filmmakers made the interesting decision not to tell you a single name. Instead, it gives designations to each person, such as Heroine, Bozo, Bossman, Honey Pie, and Beer Guy. That is, except for Jason Mewes. He just plays himself… literally. It’s just him. Anyway, I absolutely love everything about this. You know exactly what everyone’s deal is without the need for expository dialogue, and allows the film to focus on more important matters. Like horrifying mutilations and monster dick.
Next, we’ve got the monsters. It’s never said what they are, though if I had to guess, they’re either Chupacabras, or some sort of military experiment (going by the trailer). They’re done completely practical, looking absolutely fantastic. Everything from their bloody, tooth-filled maws to their large, throbbing muscles, and also genitals. These are some of the best-looking practical FX creatures I’ve ever seen, and they are thankfully used to the fullest possible potential. They slice, dice, gore, bite, hump, everything you’d want a horrible monstrosity to do. No amount of blood-and-guts are wasted, which is the biggest plus this flick has going for it. Love it!
The tonal shift between this gorey romp and Tremors might not be for everyone. Nonetheless, I personally feel it doesn’t detract from their potential Double Feature attraction. Start with a light-hearted monster movie about giant worms, end with a twisted dark comedy about horny Chupacabras. Sounds like a fun night to me!
Well, those flicks sure helped pass the time here on this rock! Unfortunately, my phone’s dead now. Probably should have called for help before watching movies. Oh well, guess there’s nothing left to do except try to wait out the worms. I have four days until I die of dehydration, right? No problem! Go have yourself a fun movie night, and hopefully I’ll see y’all again soon!
Until next time…