Tremors (film)

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Tremors
Tremorsposter.jpg
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
Music by Ernest Troost
Robert Folk
(uncredited)
Cinematography Alexander Gruszynski
Edited by O. Nicholas Brown
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • January 19, 1990 (1990-01-19)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $16,667,084

Tremors is a 1990 American western monster film from Universal Pictures, produced by Gale Anne Hurd, Brent Maddock, and S. S. Wilson, directed by Ron Underwood, and written by Maddock, Wilson, and Underwood. Tremors stars Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, and Reba McEntire.

This is the first installment of the Tremors franchise,[2] which was followed by four direct-to-video sequels: Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996); Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001); a series prequel, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004); and finally Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015).

Thirteen episodes of Tremors: The Series, a television program based on the film series, aired from March through August 2003.[3]

Plot[edit]

Valentine "Val" McKee and Earl Basset work as handymen in Perfection, Nevada, an isolated ex-mining settlement in the high desert east of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They eventually tire of their jobs and leave for Bixby, the nearest town. As they leave, they discover another resident, Edgar Deems, dead on top of an electrical tower, though still holding onto the tower's crossbeams, along with his .30-30 Winchester rifle. Jim Wallace, the town doctor, determines that Edgar died of dehydration, apparently afraid for some reason to climb down.

Later on, an unknown force kills shepherd Old Fred and his flock of sheep. Upon discovering his severed head buried in the sand, Val and Earl become convinced that a killer is on the loose; they head back to town to warn the other residents. Two workmen who ignore Val and Earl's warning are killed by the same force. Val and Earl try to get help, but find that the phone lines are dead, and the only road out of town is completely blocked by a rockslide. Unbeknownst to them, a snake-like creature wraps itself around the truck's rear axle; the creature is torn apart when Val stomps on the gas pedal and drives away.

Val and Earl return to town and borrow horses. They come upon Wallace and his wife's buried station wagon near their trailer, but the couple is missing. As they press on, something suddenly erupts out of the ground, revealing the snake-like creature to be one of multiple tentacled "tongues" employed by an enormous burrowing worm-like creature, later named a "Graboid". Thrown from their horses, the two men run for their lives. The chase ends when the eyeless creature violently rams itself into the concrete wall of an aqueduct and dies from the impact. Rhonda LeBeck, a graduate student conducting seismology tests in the area, stumbles onto the scene; she deduces from previous soundings that there are three other Graboids in the area. Rhonda, Val, and Earl become trapped overnight atop a cluster of boulders near one of the creatures, and they eventually escape by pole vaulting from boulder to boulder to reach Rhonda's truck.

After the people return to town, the Graboids attack, eventually killing general store owner Walter Chang and forcing the other citizens to the town's rooftops. Meanwhile, nearby survivalist couple Burt and Heather Gummer manage to kill another one of the creatures after unknowingly luring it from town to their basement armory. In town, the two remaining Graboids attack the building foundations, knocking over the trailer of a citizen named Nestor and dragging him under. Realizing they cannot stay any longer, Val commandeers a bulldozer and chains a partial truck trailer to the rear, while everyone else distracts the creatures; the survivors use it to try and escape to a nearby mountain range. On the way there, both Graboids create an underground sinkhole trap that disables the bulldozer, forcing the survivors to flee to the safety of large boulders.

Earl has an idea to lure in the creatures, then to trick them into swallowing Burt's homemade pipe bombs. While this works on one Graboid, the other spits it back towards the survivors, forcing Val, Earl, and Rhonda to leave the rock to avoid the explosion. With one last pipe bomb, Val allows the creature to chase him to the edge of a cliff and then explodes the bomb behind it, frightening the Graboid into tunneling through the cliff face, where it plummets to its death. The group returns to town, where they call in the authorities to begin an investigation, and Earl pushes Val into approaching Rhonda romantically.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Film poster and DVD cover art for Tremors was designed by Universal Studios. The art 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 was revealed to the characters in the film. Universal agreed initially, but then decided to use a close-up of a Graboid tentacle, with sharp teeth, on the poster.[4]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography took place in Lone Pine, California, in 1989. The mountains in the distance are the Sierra Nevada.[5] After filming was complete, the original town set was completely torn down.[citation needed]

Props[edit]

The creature for Tremors was designed by Amalgamated Dynamics. The full-scale Graboid seen after being dug up by Val was cast in lightweight foam. It was placed in a trench, then buried, and dug up again to achieve the desired "used" effect.[6]

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

Release[edit]

Tremors debuted in theaters on January 19, 1990 and on DVD on April 28, 1998. The film was released on Blu-Ray on November 9, 2010[9] and again on September 17, 2013 as part of the Tremors: Attack Pack for region 1 (U.S. & Canada).[10] In the United Kingdom, the Attack Pack was not released on Blu-ray; instead, the second, third, and fourth films were released on Blu-ray 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 soundtrack for Tremors was composed by Ernest Troost and released in 2000. The album contained nine tracks from the film, as well as four additional tracks, also composed by Troost, from Bloodrush.[12] For promotional purposes, the album was released 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, Bacon felt that the film 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]

Tremors was well received, however, and was hailed by critics for its diverse cast and humor. The film holds a "fresh" rating of 85% at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 33 reviews and an average score of 7 out of 10, with the consensus: "An affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, Tremors reinvigorates its genre tropes with a finely balanced combination of horror and humor.[15]

[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, [16]

Box office[edit]

While only a modest hit at the box office, Tremors went on to become a huge hit on home video, television, and the Internet.[17]

In popular culture[edit]

  • On March 21, 2012, the NBC Nightly News story "Shaken and awakened in Wisconsin" jokingly blamed the filming of a "Tremors remake" as the cause for unidentified loud booming noises.[18]
  • "Bad Apple!", a 2013 episode of the superhero comedy series The Aquabats! Super Show!, features a scene of a giant underground worm attacking a desert farm which series co-creator Christian Jacobs noted was an homage to Tremors, with some shots mirroring those in the original film.[19]
  • "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", an episode of the second season of the animated television series SpongeBob Squarepants, features a large worm known as the "Alaskan Bull Worm"; the worm is defeated when it tumbles off a cliff, similar to the death of the final Graboid in Tremors.[20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TREMORS (15)". United International Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ Vincent Canby (1990-01-19). "Underground Creatures and Dread Events". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "Tremors: The Series DVD Art Rumbles Your Home Video Collection". Dread Central. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  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/director of Tremors)
  5. ^ Maddock, Brent; Wilson, SS (June 5, 2000). Exclusive Tremors Interview Part 3. Interview with MJ Simpson. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Tremors Full Scale Graboid On Set". stampede-entertainment.com. 
  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/director 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/director of Tremors)
  9. ^ "Tremors Blu-ray Announced". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Tremors: Attack Pack Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Tremors Sequels Heading to Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Ernest Troost – Tremors / Bloodrush (Original Motion Picture Score)". Discogs. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "TREMORS soundtrack". Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Kevin Bacon interview for The Following". The Telegraph. 22 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Tremors". rottentomatoes.com. January 19, 1990. Retrieved August 13, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Tremors: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ "VIDEO RENTALS : 'Internal Affairs' Has Appeal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  18. ^ "Shaken and awakened in Wisconsin". NBCNews.com. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  19. ^ Liu, Ed (May 28, 2013). "ToonZone Interviews Christian Jacobs on "The Aquabats! Super Show!"". ToonZone. 
  20. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants - Season 2, Episode 20: Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm / Squid on Strike". TV.com. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Rhode, Jason (13 May 2015). "25 Years of digging on Tremors". Cryptic Rock. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 

External links[edit]