Tremors 3: Back to Perfection

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Tremors 3: Back to Perfection
DVD cover
Directed by Brent Maddock
Produced by S.S. Wilson
Nancy Roberts
Written by John Whelpley
Starring Michael Gross
Shawn Christian
Susan Chuang
Ariana Richards
Music by Kevin Kiner
Cinematography Virgil L. Harper
Distributed by Universal Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • October 2, 2001 (2001-10-02)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection is a 2001 direct-to-video western monster film directed by Brent Maddock, and is the third installment in the Tremors series featuring the subterranean worm-creatures dubbed "Graboids". It is a sequel to Tremors 2: Aftershocks. Michael Gross, Charlotte Stewart, Ariana Richards, Tony Genaro, and Robert Jayne reprise their roles from the first film. It is followed by Tremors 4: The Legend Begins.


Local resident and adventurer Burt Gummer returns to his hometown of Perfection, Nevada after an excursion-turned-Graboid/Shrieker hunt in Argentina. Eleven years have passed since the original Graboid infestation, and the town's preventative equipment for tracking Graboid activities has for the most part fallen into disrepair thanks to native residents Miguel, Nancy, and Mindy Sterngood. Walter Chang's market has been taken over by his niece Jodi, and the town has gained a new resident, Jack, who creates mock-attack tours for visiting tourists. One afternoon, during one of Jack's tours, his assistant is eaten by an actual Graboid. Jack, Mindy and Jack's customers barely manage to escape to warn the town, and Burt determines there are three Graboids in the area.

They begin to take action to kill the Graboids, but they are stopped by a team of government agents and a paleontologist who claim that the Graboids are an endangered species, preventing the humans from hunting them, and threatening eminent domain in response to their concerns for their own safety. Jack manages to reach an agreement with the agents that if they can capture one live Graboid, Burt and the residents will be allowed to kill the remaining two. Burt grudgingly agrees to this and they set out to trap a Graboid while the agents go after another of their own accord. Melvin Plugg, a fellow survivor from the original attacks, approaches Burt in the hopes of buying his land in order to develop it into a town. Burt coldly refuses when a Graboid suddenly attacks and swallows an entire metal barrel with Burt trapped inside. Jack hurriedly lures the worm to Burt's home, killing it with the underground wall barriers surrounding the building and using a chainsaw to free Burt from its belly—As Jodi arrives to see Burt getting out of the belly.

Some time later, the case of a missing Graboid worries Jodi, Jack, Miguel and Burt. When they find the paleontologist who explains that he and the government agents were ambushed by Shriekers from the Graboid they were chasing, he then dies of wounds received from the shriekers despite using a fire extinguisher on himself to hide his body heat. The group manages to warn Nancy and Mindy while tracking the Shriekers into a box canyon, but an albino Graboid—later named El Blanco—traps them on the rocks for the night. When they are able to draw El Blanco away, they go into the canyon and find that the Shriekers have molted their skin, becoming previously unknown winged creatures which are capable of jet-propelled flight. Miguel is killed when the creature knocks him off a cliff, and the creature crashes on a metal fence, killing itself. Burt's investigation reveals that the chemicals in their stomachs react explosively, enabling their flight. Finding them carrying Graboid eggs, which Jodi recognizes from the paleontologist's findings earlier, they surmise that they evolved to spread the eggs through flight, enabling Graboids to spread out further and further. Jodi dubs this new species "Ass Blasters" due to their method of flight. Meanwhile, Nancy and Mindy are attacked by an Ass-Blaster in town and hide in a freezer, which prevents them from calling for help.

Using a mattress as cover from the creatures' infrared vision, the group gets to Burt's house; however, not being prepared for an aerial invasion, they are forced to flee via Burt's escape room when one of the creatures attempts to break in. To keep them from supposedly spreading and multiplying like their predecessors, Burt rigs his house and his large stash of MRE's to explode before getting word from Nancy of an ironic discovery: the food would render the Ass-Blasters comatose, instead of causing reproduction as in Shriekers, having caught a live one in such a manner. With four more Ass-Blasters remaining, Jack and the others go to a junk yard where they smash a fifth one with a refrigerator. They come up with a plan to rig a potato gun from everyday objects to ignite the combustible materials in the creatures' stomachs. Jodi inadvertently blows one up in a shed of gasoline, while the potato gun manages to kill two more; however, the last one proves to be too intelligent, having learned to avoid the makeshift flaming projectiles. They manage to kill it by rigging it with a fuse and letting it detonate. Their relief is short-lived when Burt is attacked by El Blanco and is pinned down. Realizing that his ultrasonic watch is what kept El Blanco interested in Burt, Jack takes it and sticks it to the fifth injured Ass-Blaster headed for Burt and Jodi, causing El Blanco to eat it instead, saving Burt and Jodi's lives.

In the aftermath, Nancy manages to sell the captive Ass-Blaster to Sigmund and Ray (based off Siegfried and Roy) while Jodi and Jack pursue a romantic interest, depressing Mindy who had a crush on him. Meanwhile, Melvin tries again to approach Burt about selling his land, but because El Blanco is an endangered species and illegal to hunt—and formed a mutual unspoken friendship with Burt—Burt informs Melvin that the residents have decided to take precautions in order to live safely alongside the Graboid, ruining Mel's plans of selling the town. Burt leaves Melvin standing on the rock with El Blanco circling below, cursing Burt as he drives away laughing.



In Tremors 3 some of the graboids were created using Computer generated imagery (CGI), which was the first time a Tremors film had used CGI to make a graboid. The graboids seen in the previous films were full-sized puppets and 1/4 scale miniatures.[1] Some of the shriekers seen in Tremors 3 were also CGI, as well as some of the shriekers seen in the second film. However, due to software compatibility problems, the shrieker CGI from the second film could not be used again. Instead, new digital models were created by HimAnI productions using laser scans of existing physical models, which were used in the second film, created by Amalgamated Dynamics.[2]


Tremors 3: Back to Perfection holds a "fresh" rating of 67% at Rotten Tomatoes based on 6 reviews.[3] At the Video Premiere Awards show, in 2001, Michael Gross won the award for best actor, for his work in Tremors 3.[4]

It’s nice to return to this community, and the actors retain their wit and sparkle. The production values are substantially lower, some of the jokes are recycled, and the grand finale is lackluster, but there’s still an underlying affection for these characters, even those doggone wormies, and their precarious situation. All in all, taken for what it is, Tremors 3 is worth a gander.

— AMC Movie Guide, [5]


  • Video Premiere Award - Michael Gross - Best Actor (Won)
  • Video Premiere Award - Linda Drake - Best Visual Effects (Nominated)
  • Golden Reel Award - Best Sound Editing - Direct to Video (Nominated)


  1. ^ "Graboid Turn Sequence". Stampede Entertainment. 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Shrieker Spin Sequence". Stampede Entertainment. 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ Tremors 3: Back to Perfection at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ "Michael Gross wins Best Actor for Tremors 3!". Stampede Entertainment. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection". AMC. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 

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