Tremors: Limited Edition (Arrow Video) 4K Blu-ray Review

For years, fans have had to suffer with the subpar Tremors blu-ray. Arrow Video has come to the rescue, giving the film the attention it deserves, breathing new life into this classic monster movie.

Studio: Arrow Video
Release Date: January 19th, 1990 (theatrical)
                            December 15th, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 96 mins
Region Code: FREE (4K and 2K)
Picture: 2160p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (4K)
                1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (2K)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
                English DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0
                English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Chipboard Hard Case (Limited Edition)
                      Slipcover (Regular Edition)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, and Victor Wong
Written by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock
Directed by Ron Underwood
Rating: PG-13 (creature violence and gore and for language)

Released at the very beginning of the 1990s, TREMORS does not feel like it belongs in any time period. The film doesn't have an agenda like many monster movies that came before, electing to just thrill and humor its audience. The film doesn't have any political leanings and we don't even know where the monsters came from. The film wants us to relate to the characters, like them even, and throw tense situations at us for 95 minutes. 

The fact that the film succeeds in doing this is a minor miracle. Monster movies throughout the 80s had been getting bigger and bigger, culminating in 1989's GODZILLA vs BIOLLANTE which was the biggest Godzilla film to date. Audiences were trained to want bigger things in their movies, but TREMORS goes the opposite way. The film is grounded in reality and all of the characters are normal and relatable. There are no scientists trying to figure out what is going on (the female lead is studying seismic tremors in the area but that is as close as we get to that cliché) and there are zero authority figures. Hell, the town is so small it doesn't even have a police department. We are left with the townsfolk and we are better off for it. 

The monsters themselves, graboids as they would be called, are ugly and kind of cheap looking, but they still are original enough. Some say they look like the worms from DUNE, but I think they look more like the worms from BEETLEJUICE. They are not necessarily scary. They are more of the wait it out kind of monsters. The one thing that the film never conveys that well is the speed of the monsters. We are told that they are fast, but it always seems like the characters could have ran faster than the monsters, but didn’t because the screenplay didn’t need them to just yet.

TREMORS was first released on dvd in 2001 in the form of a “Collector’s Edition”. The picture was anamorphically enhanced and looked fine for the time. The special features for this release were the same as they were from the laserdisc. This included some deleted scenes and a making-of. In 2005, we got a new version of the film on DVD in the form of Tremors Attack Pack, which brought all four films (at the time four) into one set for the first time. There were two films per disc and they all looked fine. The special features were carried over from all of the films’ previous releases.

In 2007, we saw the film released for the first time in HD, on HD-DVD. No blu-ray release at this time as Universal was HD-DVD exclusive. While the picture quality was a step up from the previous dvd releases, it was still flat and lifeless and suffered from pretty bad edge enhancement. The extras from the previous dvds have been carried over as well. November 9th, 2010 saw the long awaited blu-ray only to find that this was simply a copy of the HD-DVD. Everything was the same except for menus which had been changed to reflect being a blu-ray. 

TREMORS was re-released on blu-ray as part of the TREMORS ATTACK PACK. Just like it’s dvd counterpart from 2005, each disc carried two films and this would be the only way to get the sequels on blu-ray. This is the set that I have and I like it, but I wish that each film had been given it’s own disc so that the film has some room to stretch.

Now, in 2020, Arrow Video has given TREMORS the royal treatment. There are no less than four releases: two Limited Editions (4K and Blu-ray) and two regular editions (again, 4K and Blu-ray).

The picture quality for both the 4K Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray are both excellent. The film was given a brand new 4K restoration for this release. Both transfers are going to be a revelation for fans as the uptick in quality is just amazing. Finer details are excellent with clothing giving us some really nice textures. Colors in the 4K version are superb. Almost the whole film takes place during the daytime which gives us so many colors for the filmmakers to work with. The orange of the sand, the yellow of the sun, and the blue of the clothing and sky really shine here. Grain structure is also strong and balanced.

We’ve got three different tracks here to listen to. I listened to the original theatrical mix (2.0) and it sounds so good. Dialogue is crisp and clear, the score really shines, and the monsters have weight to them. This is not a light and distant track. This is a full track that really immerses us into this world. 

The special features are numerous and informative. Two commentary tracks great us first with both being excellent. The brand new making of is a wonderful look back at the film with the people who made it. The interviews outside of the making of are really good as well. My favorite feature is the comparison between the theatrical version of the film and the one that aired on TV. It's always interesting to see what TV censors had the studios get rid of just so that a film could air on TV. It's even more interesting here because the film was already dubbed over to cut down almost all of the "fucks" said in the film. Some of the dubs aren't TV-friendly, so these lines have been dubbed twice. 

        Disc 1: 4K Blu-ray

        Commentary by Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock, and S.S. Wilson
        Commentary by Jonathan Melville

        Making Perfection (31m 7s, HD) This new documentary by Universal Pictures looks a 
        the making of the film and it’s enduring legacy, featuring newly filmed interviews with cast and crew,         including Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross, Ariana Richards, Ron Underwood, S.S. Wilson, 
        Brent Maddock, and many others.

        The Turth About Tremors (22m 2s, HD) A newly filmed interview with co-producer Nancy 
        Roberts looking back at the film’s rock road to the screen.

        Bad Vibrations (10m 47s, HD) A newly filmed interview with the director of photography                    Alexander Gruszynski.

        Aftershocks and Other Rumblings (12m 38s, HD) A newly filmed interview with associate 
        producer and second unit producer Ellen Collett.

        Digging in the Dirt: The Visual Effects of Tremors (20m 59s, HD,1.85:1) A new 
        featurette about the film’s extensive visual effects, with the former crews of Fantasy II Film VFX and         4-Productions VFX.

        Music for Grabboids (13m 35s, HD, 1.85:1) A new featurette about the film’s music score with 
        composers Ernest Troost and Robert Folk.

        The Making of Tremors (44m 15s, SD, 1.33:1) An archive documentary from 1996, directed by         Laurent Bouzereau, tracing the production of the film through interviews with the filmmakers and 
        special effects teams.

        Creature Featurette (10m 26s, SD, 1.33:1) A compilation of on-set camcorder footage 
        showing the making of the Graboids.

        Deleted Scenes (5m 2s, SD, 1.33:1) Four deleted scenes (formerly released as “Outtakes”), 
        including the original opening scene of the film.

        Pardon My French! (16m 18s, HD, 1.85:1) A newly assembled compilation of overdubs 
        recorded for the network television version of the film.

        Electronic Press Kit - These short featurettes were produced by Universal Pictures to promote 
        the film on its theatrical release in 1990.

        Featurette (3m 50s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Kevin Bacon Profile (2m 53s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Michael Gross Profile (2m 20s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Reba McEntire Profile (1m 53s, SD, 1.33:1)

        Trailer Gallery:

        Theatrical Trailer 1 (1m 58s, HD, 1.33:1)
        Theatrical Trailer 2 (1m 55s, HD, 1.33:1)
        Radio Spots (4m 21s, HD) 8 spots
        TV Spots (1m 23s, SD, 1.33:1)
        VHS Promo (1m 19s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Tremors Franchise Trailers:

        Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996) (1m 53s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Tremors 3: Return to Perfection (2001) (1m 14s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004) (51s, SD, 1.33:1)
        Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015) (43s, HD, 1.78:1)
        Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (2018) (56s, HD, 1.78:1)
        Tremors: Shrieker Island (2020) (59s, HD, 2.00:1)
        Image Galleries:

        Production Stills (114 images)
        Behind the Scenes (56 images)
        Laserdisc Image Gallery (113 images)
        Screenplay (draft 6, 1988) (112 images)
        Screenplay (draft 8b, 1989) (107 images)
        Storyboards (62 images)
        Posters and Video Artwork (23 images)

Disc 2: Blu-ray Bonus Disc

Extended Interviews from "Making Perfection"

                Ron Underwood (47m 44s, HD)
                S.S. Wilson (1h 21m, HD)
                Brent Maddock (1h 3m, HD)
                Nancy Roberts (50m 37s, HD)
                Alec Gillis (59m 31s, HD)

        ArcLight Hollywood 2015 Q&A (with Play All option)

                Pre-Film Q&A (Cast) (26m 31s, HD)
        Post-Film Q&A (Crew) (44m 40s, HD)

        Gag Reel

                Play with Introduction and Commentary by S.S. Wilson (10m 48s, HD)
                Play with Original Audio (9m 54s, HD)

        Early Short Films

                "Recorded Live" 1975 short film by S.S. Wilson (8m 12s, HD)
        "Dictionary: The Adventure of Words" 1968 short film by Brent Maddock (16m 26s, HD)
        "Library Report" 1983 short film by Ron Underwood (24m 32s, HD)

Arrow Video has given TREMORS the home video release it deserved many years ago. Fans don't have to suffer another watch of the crappy old blu-ray. This is a very high recommendation here.

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