Tremors (film)

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Tremors
Tremorsposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Underwood
Produced by Gale Anne Hurd
Brent Maddock
S. S. Wilson
Screenplay by Brent Maddock
S. S. Wilson
Story by Brent Maddock
S. S. Wilson
Ron Underwood
Starring Kevin Bacon
Fred Ward
Finn Carter
Michael Gross
Reba McEntire
Music by Ernest Troost
Robert Folk
(uncredited)
Cinematography Alexander Gruszynski
Editing by O. Nicholas Brown
Studio Stampede Entertainment
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • January 19, 1990 (1990-01-19)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $48,572,000

Tremors is a 1990 American western monster 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 released by Universal Pictures and is the first installment of the Tremors franchise.[1]

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]

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 another resident, Edgar, dead at the top of an electrical tower, though still holding on to the beams with a Winchester rifle. Jim Wallace, the town doctor, determines that Edgar 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.

Val and Earl discover the town's phones dead and head for the police in Bixby, but are thwarted by a 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 to reach her truck and they 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 Walter away.

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 cartridge 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]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

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]

Tremors was filmed in Lone Pine, CA. The mountains in the distance are the Sierras.[5] After filming was complete the original set was completely torn down.[citation needed]

Props[edit]

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.[6]

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.[7][8]

Release[edit]

Tremors debuted in theaters and on VHS on January 19, 1990, and on DVD on April 28, 1998. Tremors was first released on Blu-Ray on November 9, 2010,[9] and again on September 17, 2013 as part of the Tremors: Attack Pack In region 1 (U.S. & Canada).[10] In the UK the Attack Pack was not released on Blu-Ray, instead the second, third, and forth films were each released separately on August 5, 2013.[11]

Soundtrack[edit]

Tremors / Bloodrush
Film score by Ernest Troost
Released 2000
Genre Electronic, Stage & Screen
Length 49:51
Label Intrada – ETCD 1000

The soundtack for Tremors was composed by Ernest Troost, and released in 2000. The album contained 9 tracks for Tremors, as well as 4 additional tracks, also composed by Ernest Troost, for Bloodrush.[12] The album was released for promotional purposes as a limited edition CD.[12][13]

Tremors
No. Title Length
1. "Titles / Opening Sequence"   3:14
2. "Val & Earl / Rhonda"   2:46
3. "Something's Wrong"   6:57
4. "First Attack / Pole Vaulting"   5:13
5. "On The Rocks / Graboid / Uzi4u"   7:34
6. "On The Road / Miguel's Plan / Nester"   3:16
7. "Val's Run / Don't Move / The Dozer Rescue"   3:36
8. "Journey Begins / Truck Attack / The Rocks"   2:58
9. "Goin' Fishin' / Stampede / Closing"   2:56
Bloodrush
No. Title Length
10. "The Hospital"   2:03
11. "The Nurse"   2:19
12. "The Hallway"   3:12
13. "The Struggle"   3:47

Reception[edit]

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!'".[14]

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]

[Tremors] is very well cast, with [Fred] Ward and [Kevin] Bacon proving affable and enjoyable comedy leads... The special effects are first-rate... It may not top anyone's 10-best list, but Tremors is nevertheless solid entertainment.

—TV Guide, [15]

Box office[edit]

While only a modest hit at the box office it went on to become a huge hit on home video, TV and the internet.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

  • On March 21, 2012, the NBC Nightly News story "Shaken and awakened in Wisconsin" jokingly blames the filming of a "Tremors remake" as the cause for unidentified loud booming noises.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vincent Canby (1990-01-19). "Underground Creatures and Dread Events". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Tremors at Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ Tremors: The Series DVD Art Rumbles Your Home Video Collection
  4. ^ The Ultimate Tremors FAQ, General Questions about Tremors: Why do the creatures on the posters/DVD covers look absolutely nothing like the actual creatures in the film? Written by S.S. Wilson (writer/directer of Tremors)
  5. ^ Maddock, Brent; Wilson, SS (June 5, 2000). Exclusive Tremors Interview Part 3. Interview with MJ Simpson. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ Foam Graboid at Stampede Entertainment
  7. ^ The Ultimate Tremors FAQ, Questions about Tremors: What is that dang elephant gun Burt uses to kill the Graboid in his basement? Written by S.S. Wilson (writer/directer of Tremors)
  8. ^ The Ultimate Tremors FAQ, Questions about Tremors: What happened to the 8 gauge elephant gun (actually a Darne shotgun) Burt used to kill the Graboid in his basement? Written by S.S. Wilson (writer/directer of Tremors)
  9. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=4952
  10. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=11535
  11. ^ http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=11378
  12. ^ a b "Ernest Troost – Tremors / Bloodrush (Original Motion Picture Score)". Discogs. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  13. ^ http://stampede-entertainment.com/wrmkllr/soundtrack.html
  14. ^ "Kevin Bacon interview for The Following". The Telegraph. 22 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Tremors: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ "VIDEO RENTALS : 'Internal Affairs' Has Appeal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  17. ^ http://www.tv.com/shows/american-dad/four-little-words-888112/trivia/
  18. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993049/trivia?tab=mc&ref_=tt_trv_cnn
  19. ^ http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/46815020#46815020

External links[edit]