Tremors is a 1990 American western monster comedy film directed by Ron Underwood, written by Brent Maddock, S. S. Wilson and Underwood, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross and Reba McEntire. It was distributed by Universal Studios[1] and is the first installment of the Tremors franchise.

The film was received well by critics and holds an 88% favorable rating at the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.[2]

The film was followed by two direct-to-video sequels, Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, and one direct-to-video prequel: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins. Thirteen episodes of Tremors: The Series, a television program based on the film series, aired March through July 2003.[3]

Plot[edit | edit source]

Valentine "Val" McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Basset (Fred Ward) work as handymen in Perfection, Nevada, an isolated ex-mining settlement that contains only fourteen residents, among them general store owner Walter Chang (Victor Wong) and survivalist couple Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and Heather Gummer (Reba McEntire). A new arrival is Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), a graduate student conducting seismology tests.

Val and Earl tire of their hand-to-mouth existence and leave for Bixby, the nearest town. They discover a man dead at the top of an electrical tower, though still holding on to the beams. Jim Wallace, the town doctor, announces that he died of dehydration apparently afraid to climb down. Somewhere else, shepherd Old Fred and his flock get attacked by an unseen force. Val and Earl arrive, only to find the sheep cut to pieces and Fred's severed head lying in the sand. Val and Earl return to Perfection, thinking that a murderer is on the loose. They warn two road-construction workers that they encounter, but to no avail. After Val and Earl leave, Carmine, the worker using a jackhammer to break up asphalt, stabs something under the ground causing blood to erupt on the surface. With a hose around his ankle, it pulls that worker away, while the other rushes to help, only to be crushed by a rock slide.

Val and Earl discover the town's phones dead and head for the police in Bixby, but are thwarted by the rock slide. They return to Walter's store, where they find something wrapped around their truck's back axle: the severed body of a large snakelike creature. That night, the creatures attack the doctor and his wife, killing them both and pulling their car underground.

The next morning, Val and Earl leave to get help, this time on horseback. They discover the doctor's buried car. Suddenly one of the attackers erupts out of the ground, revealing that the creatures they have seen thus far are actually "tongues" employed by an enormous burrowing worm-creature that Walter later names "Graboids". Thrown from their horses, the two men run for their lives. When they jump a concrete aqueduct their pursuer rams into its wall, killing itself. Rhonda happens upon the scene and determines from her readings that there are three more creatures in the area. They realize the creatures have extremely acute hearing, and find them due to their vibrations, but cannot tunnel through rock. One of the creatures traps the trio overnight at a cluster of boulders. Rhonda has the idea of pole vaulting from boulder to boulder. They reach her truck and return to town.

They are met with disbelief from the townspeople until a Graboid appears, disabling Val and Earl's truck. Everyone retreats into their homes or the store, but a Graboid bursts through the store's floor and drags away Walter.

The Gummers return to their home after unsuccessfully hunting the creatures - unaware of their true size - and contact the others via CB radio, but the noise of the couple's shell case polisher leads a Graboid to smash into their basement. The Gummers open fire with various firearms and manage to kill it, but another Graboid disables their vehicle. After retreating to their rooftop, Burt and Heather experiment with firing into the ground, but discover that they are too deep underground for firearms to be effective. In town, the Graboids attack the foundations of the buildings, knocking over Nestor's trailer and dragging him down underground. Realizing the town is being dug out from under them, Val and Earl plan to escape on a Semi end dump trailer with flat tires pulled by a bulldozer, which is too heavy for the Graboids to move. Val reaches the vehicle while the others distract the Graboids. Everyone is collected, including the Gummers, who bring with them an assortment of weapons and improvised explosives, and they set out for the safety of a nearby mountain range.

The Graboids dig a pit-trap in the bulldozer's path, wrecking it. The townsfolk use Burt's home-made explosives to drive the creatures away long enough to reach the safety of a boulder, where Earl has another idea: tricking the Graboids into swallowing Burt's bombs. This works once, but on the second try the last Graboid spits the explosive onto Burt's pile of bombs, sending everyone scattering. Val, Earl and Rhonda are stranded yards from the boulder, with the Graboid blocking their path to safety. Val has one more bomb and one last idea: he lets the Graboid chase him to the edge of a cliff and "stampedes" it with the bomb, then jumps out of its way, sending it through the cliff-face to its death. The group returns to town, and Earl pushes Val into approaching the clearly interested Rhonda romantically.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

Poster/DVD cover art for Tremors was designed by Universal Studios. The cover was originally going to feature an actual graboid, but Stampede Entertainment believed Tremors would be better if audiences did not see the creature until it is revealed to the characters in the movie. Universal studios agreed, but decided to use a close-up of a graboid tentacle with shark teeth for the poster instead.[4]

Filming[edit | edit source]

Template:Unrefsect Tremors was filmed in Lone Pine, CA. The mountains in the distance are the Sierras. After filming was complete the original set was completely torn down.

Props[edit | edit source]

The creature designs for Tremors were done by Amalgamated Dynamics. The full scale graboid, that can be seen after Val digs it up, was made of foam. It was placed in a trench, buried, and dug up again to achieve desired effect.[5]

Burt's elephant gun, an 8 gauge Darne Shotgun, was rented from a private collector for uses in the film. It fired dummy cartridges custom made from solid brass rod stock.[6][7]

Reception[edit | edit source]

The film was hailed by critics for its diverse cast and humor. Tremors holds a "fresh" rating of 88% at Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews.[2]

Prior to the film's release, Kevin Bacon felt the movie was a career low: “I broke down and fell to the sidewalk, screaming to my pregnant wife, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing a movie about underground worms!’”.[8]

Box office[edit | edit source]

While only a modest hit at the box office it went on to become a huge hit on home video, TV and the internet.[9]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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