We at Barking Mad About Films do love a creature feature, and one of the best, in our opinion was the 1990 film, Tremors.
Directed by Ron Underwood, who would go on to direct the also excellent City Slickers. Also on his CV is Mighty Joe Young.
Ron may be best known, however, for directing the huge Eddie Murphy box office flop: The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
Ron now appears to mainly direct for TV with lots of our favourite shows on his lists of credits from Reaper to Castle!
To give you an idea of the success of the original Tremors, the film has spawned 4 direct to DVD sequels and a TV series!
The original film centres around 2 handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) & Earl (Fred Ward) who want to leave the sleepy town of Perfection, Nevada to better themselves.
They soon discover that the small town is now infested with gigantic worm-like creatures, named Graboids via shopkeeper Walter (Victor Wong)
With the help of Rhonda (Finn Carter) a seismology student and ‘survivalists’ Burt & Heather Gummer (Michael Gross and Reba McEntire) they manage to defeat the creatures and put the town of Perfection on the map.
The sequels are all enjoyable, if a fan of the low budget, B-Movie and are a great attempt to keep the series evolving, rather than carbon copy the original.
What is interesting is the directing of the sequels, with the exception of the latest instalment, would fall to the original Tremors writers: S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock which we feels helped keep this franchise going.
Parts 2 & 4 being directed by Wilson and 3 directed by Maddock. As writers, they know the creature they invented and develop it.
Here we look at the Tremors franchise briefly:
A prime example of benefit of having the same writers, is in the first sequel, Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996) where they give the Graboid varying stages during its life cycle. As there is only so much you can with a worm like creature, I’m sure you would agree?
We meet a walking version of the Graboid, called a shrieker. Another version we meet has wings and a tail that shoots flames (the AssBlaster) are introduced into the sequel, as there is only so much you can with a worm like
Tremors 2 would also bring back Fred Ward’s Earl character and Michael Gross character, Burt. The setting is however relocated to Mexico.
Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001) sees Burt return home to help the town from land developers, looking to push all out of their homes. They plan to build on Perfection, now it has become a tourist attraction, with many visitors coming in the hope of hunting or just seeing a Graboid.
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004) is a western prequel, set in the town of Rejection, Nevada. The town is extremely poor because of Graboids, known in this era as dirt dragons, who are over running the mines. Miners clearly find this unsafe so profit is not being made. Michal Gross again returns playing the great grandfather of his Burt character.
The town is extremely poor because of Graboids, known in this era as dirt dragons, who are over running the mines. Miners clearly find this unsafe so profit is not being made.
Michal Gross again returns playing the great grandfather of his Burt character. They, of course, beat the Graboids as we learn Rejection becomes a place of wealth,hence it being renamed to the town of Perfect we know so well from the other instalments.
These have all been popular with fans, although I am unable to comment on the series, set after the third film, having never seen it! Its premise, over just 13 episodes, does make it worth seeking out, as it appears to be more a character piece of how the residents learn to live side by side the Graboid.
In 2015 a fifth instalment, 25 years after the original, Tremors 5 was released. The big stand out is that Wilson and Maddock walked away from the project, after losing creative control.
Michael Gross returns with a new cast addition: Jamie Kennedy from the Scream franchise as Travis. Travis talks Burt into hunting a new type of Graboid in South Africa, with the promise that he can help grow Burt’s dwindling brand and help him with marketing etc to be a huge success.
The tremors have a new strain in this feature and some sequences are clearly a nod to the Jurassic Park raptors. The film suffers that the creatures appear to be something new, and it doesn’t seem to have the same feel as the previous 4.
If a fan of the franchise, there is, however, plenty to enjoy, but if you have not liked any of the other sequels, we feel this will do little to change your opinion.
Gross is great fun as his comedy Graboid hunting character and Kennedy is good value too. CGI is good for a film of this type and clever ideas of hunting Graboids are good too.
Rumours since August 2015, after this film was announced, was that a TV reboot or a Sixth film could happen, this was fuelled by Kevin Bacon saying he would be open to a return (would surely be better than doing EE adverts!)
If you like low budget SyFy films you could do worse than give the Tremors franchise a chance, and if you love films of this genre, the first really is a must see.
What’s your favourite B-Movie franchise? Are you a fan of Tremors? Would you love to see Kevin Bacon return, we would love to hear from you, here at Barking Mad About Films
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