Was there ever a more perfect horror movie concept than ‘Landsharks’? That was the original title of the spec script that grew into the cult horror comedy that became Tremors. Now 30 years down the line from the original lacklustre box office release, the film is generally regarded as a genuine classic, but does it hold up after all this time?

Tremors takes place in the tiny desert hamlet of Perfection, where odd-job men Earl (Fred Ward) and Valentine (Kevin Bacon) have finally scraped together the cash and gumption to quit this one-horse town forever. Unfortunately for them, they chose the day that a brood of subterranean man-eating monsters arrive to turn the valley into their own personal smorgasbord. It’s all down to Val, Earl, gun-nut neighbours the Gummers, and seismology student Rhonda (Finn Carter) to get the weird, zany and tiny population of the town to safety while there are still a few left alive to tell the tale.

What makes Tremors stand out above dozens of other low-end budget horror films of the time, is that at heart it’s a delightful parody of cliché-ridden ’50s monster movies and provincial small-town disaster films. No one involved with the film is under any illusions that it’s supposed to be taken seriously. As a result, the balance of comedy and horror never misses a beat, as the early spooks and sparsely used gore play off brilliantly against the great dialogue, and occasionally daft plot turn.

One of the key factors, which the many and various sequels never quite managed to nail, was the brilliant writing of the assembled characters. Everyone serves a purpose, and there’s little or no fat on the bones of this lean beast. It also helps that there’s no human villain here, no temptation to throw in a ‘Jaws Mayor’ or the like. In fact the closest the film comes to that is the obnoxious teenager, Melvin (Robert Jayne) who in turn also gets the films only serious moment of honest pathos. It also introduced the aforementioned Gummers, with Reba McEntire taking a break from belting out country ballads to play Heather, with Michael Gross as her firearm obsessed husband, Burt. The irony being that 30 years and six sequels later, Burt has become the franchise’s hero.

Really, there’s no question to it. Tremors is still as fresh, as fun, and as hilarious as the day it was made. In the newly cleaned up Blu-ray, Paradise looks even more vibrant and parched than ever before, and even if this means a few wires and puppet rods are more noticeable in the back of a shot or two, it’s all just part of the charm. Also, to their credit, Arrow have managed to round up practically every pre-existing piece of making-of documentary and interview out there, as well as providing their usual bespoke materials for this release. Honestly, if you ever loved this movie, don’t just walk down to shops and buy it. Run like goddamn bastards… pardon my French.

Available on Blu Ray from Mon 14 Dec 2020