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Note about Tremors 5 and Tremors 6 questions:
Stampede did not work on Tremors 5 in any way so we have NO information about it or Universal’s plans for future Tremors movies. All questions about those topics should be sent to Universal Studios.
Questions about Tremors 2
It is an older model Jeep J series pick-up, sometimes called the Gladiator. Produced from 1963 to 1987 these are rather rare. The transportation coordinator on Tremors I found the one we used in the first movie and no, unfortunately it was not put in a museum. Maybe it should have been, because we had a heck of a time finding another one for Tremors II! By the time we made Tremors II, the transportation staff had to buy three of them from junk yards in order to get two of them up and running. We used one or the other depending on what sort of shot we were doing. If you watch Tremors II closely, you can spot differences between the two “identical” trucks we used. We always try to have more than one picture vehicle so that we can keep shooting when something goes wrong with one of them or, when we damage one (as when Earl backs into a steep ravine to escape the Graboid that drops on the hood)
It took a long time to get the sequel made because the first movie, while successful, was not a HUGE box-office hit. It’s easy to get a studio to greenlight a sequel for a HUGE hit (like BATMAN). But we had to work a long time to convince the studio that the fans really wanted a Tremors II. Ultimately, it was Universal’s video division that really supported the idea, because the first Tremors had been HUGE in video and on TV.
Fans continue to ask about the “Miss October” seen and mentioned in Tremors 2. Here’s the scoop.
We had a number of arguments about what year Playmate we should pick. We decided on 1974 because it made the Kathy character about the right age for Earl (about 40).
Then we cast Helen Shaver as Kathy. But it turns out that the real Miss October, 1974, Ester Cordet, doesn’t look remotely like Helen. So, we searched through Playboy files and selected the Playmate actually seen in the film, Miss September, 1970, Debbie Ellison.
Were there any scenes shot for Tremors 2: Aftershocks that did not make it into the movie and will they ever be available on DVD?
There are only two cut scenes. One was a short scene in which Earl said good-bye to Kathy before the first Graboid hunt. The other was the last part of the night scene in which Burt’s truck is attacked by Shriekers. We tried to a do a joke in which you see Shriekers all over the truck, then Burt blasts every one with his semi-auto pistols. Unfortunately we just didn’t have the budget to do any more computer animated shriekers and tried to do the scene with our floppy dummy shriekers. They looked like rubber dummies — which they were. I tried editing the scene a dozen different ways to keep it in, but eventually my writing partner, editor, and producer ganged up on me and made me take it out. Even worse, I had stood in for Michael Gross in the master shot, firing the pistols inside the truck, so I was cutting myself out of the movie! No Alfred Hitchcock moment! That outtake did not make it onto the DVD and I’m afraid it would be hard to dig it out of Universal’s storage areas now.
Why did you call the new little monsters is Tremors 2 Shriekers when you didn't use that name in the film?
When Brent and I were working on the script, we needed a way to identify the new monsters for the people reading the script. We didn’t want to keep calling them “new little monsters” all the time. We came up with the name Shrieker because that’s what they do: they shriek (scream real loud) whenever they see food with their heat sensors.
A name is useful on the set, too, even if it isn’t used in the movie. Often times the crew will invent names for things so they all know what they’re talking about when setting up a shot. You’ll hear them say things like, “We’ll have a Shrieker over there, and Graboid back there, and the hero Shrieker will be in foreground. When filmmakers refer to something as the “hero”, they mean the one that is used for close-ups. We had several Shrieker puppets, but two of them could perform more actions than the others, so they were the “heroes.”
We’ve gotten some complaints that Tremors 2 was less gory than Tremors 1. And when SS Wilson was visiting some grade school kids last year, he was approached by an eleven year old who had only one piece of advice for Tremors 3: “Make it gross!”
Well, we’re in kind of a fix, folks. The people paying the bills are Universal FAMILY Home entertainment. Not only that, parents e-mail all the time telling us how great it is that we make monster movies that aren’t so gory. And we have little kids ourselves we’d like to be able to watch the movies (well, they were little when we started the series!)
So the Tremors movies will have to be a little less gross than some of you might like. We’re trying to please all of our fans. But keep an eye out for other Stampede movies. We’re trying to set up a feature a couple in the next few months that will be really scary, and more gross. Wish us luck.
Why did we choose the L.A.R. Grizzley over, say, the Barrett semi-auto? It had more to do with timing than anything. Tremors 2’s pre-production was very rushed. The prop people brought me a picture of the L.A.R. target gun and I loved it. Fifty caliber target shooting was relatively new then, and frankly we didn’t know much about it. At the time we didn’t happen to see any other guns built for the sport. We’ve since checked out a number of special guns for Burt and would love to use the Barrett. But it’s LOT heavier than the L.A.R. so in some ways would be impractical for Burt to lug around.
They got married and are running the theme park established by Earl and Grady with the money they made Graboid hunting.
Well, life sometimes refuses to imitate art. Reba McIntire is a very busy country star and hasn’t wanted to reprise her stand-out role.
If Shriekers can only see when the lift the flaps on their head, how do they know when to open them?
Can Shrikers “see” with their heat-seeker closed? Yes, Shriekers can sense some heat through the bony shield on the heat seeker organ. They open it to get a more accurate iamge and “sight in” on their prey. They close it before they attack, because it is delicate and vulnerable to injury.
Why don’t warm blooded Shriekers attack each other? All animals are equipped to easily recognize others of their kind. Honeybees can identify bees not from their own hive, for example. It is not known for sure how Shriekers avoid attacking one another, but it is likely they they can either the shape of the heat image or possibly the exact body temperature (which is much higher than that of most other animals).
It went like this: Universal had asked us to come up with an idea for Tremors 2. We knew that most fans expected to meet a Queen Graboid of some kind, since that’s the way most monster sequels tend to go. So we wanted to come up with something else. We were stuck for quite a while. Then one day we said “What if the Graboids got smaller instead of bigger?” From there we realized that, if they were smaller, there’d have to be more of them to be dangerous. From there we realized that we wouldn’t want to have to watch Graboids lay eggs, watch the eggs hatch, and wait for the Shriekers to grow to dangerous size. Boring! So that’s what led us to sudden hermaphroditic metamorphosis. See?
At the time we came up with the idea for Tremors 2, it seemed better to set it in a new location. Way back then it seemed too co-incidental for Graboids to show up in Perfection again. It was Michael Gross who encouraged us to go back to Perfection for Tremors 3, because he missed the emotional connection of people fighting for their home. He said while we were making Tremors 2, “What are we fighting for, an oil refinery?”
Can’t tell you exactly what the cost was, since it is buried in the lump-sum creature effects budget for the film, which also included Graboids, human body parts and other things. The articulated Shreikers had metal cable-controlled skeletons and bodies of foam rubber. The skins are other kinds of molded rubbers and the beaks are fiberglass.
They are “born” (ejected from the mouth of an adult) nearly one fourth full size, and grow very rapidly. Nancy Roberts currently owns the baby Shrieker made by Amalgamated Dynamics for the “birth” scene.
It’s a fabulous piece written for the movie by composer Jay Fergusen. We wanted something which was the opposite of the usual monster movie music, something lyrical and soft, with a Mexican flavor – before the mayhem started.
How come the explosion at the end of Tremors 2 looks so different from the explosion of Burt's house in Tremors 3? We saw all the TNT and stuff in his T-2 truck; what makes the difference?
It’s great that you fans notice stuff like this. And there IS a reason. When the Mexican government offered Burt whatever he wanted, he loaded up his T-2 truck with all the fun stuff he’s not allowed to have in the U.S., high explosives – TNT, C-4, and the like. When REAL H.E. goes off, it makes very little flame and creates a devastating shock wave. That’s the effect S.S. Wilson wanted and that’s what Peter Chesney created for the end of Tremors 2, using real high explosives, by the way. If you look at the grass in the foreground of the building when it blows up, you can see the shock wave.
Now, in Tremors 3, we wanted the look of Burt’s ammo, reloading powder, black powder, and gasoline blowing up. All those things “explode” more slowly, with a lot more flame, than H.E., so Larry Fioritto and his team created that kind of explosion, with LOTS of gasoline, black powder, etc.
Yes and no. Burt dropped it in front of the tractor in which he took cover from the Shriekers. The whole area was turned into a crater in the big blast. However, Burt, knowing that his rifle is a massive, tough chunk of stainless steel, figured it might have survived. Plotting its approximate trajectory from the blast site, he searched laboriously through the rubble and finally recovered the rifle. Cleaned up and re-barreled, it appeared again in Tremors 3.
What was that big thing in the back of Burt's truck which Grady asked about? Burt quickly covered it saying, "Might end up in my collection."
It was a cannon shell. Sorry we’re not sure of the exact size now, but it was something like a 90mm round which would be fired from a tank’s cannon. When the Mexican Military said he could take whatever he wanted to help fight the Graboids, Burt slipped the cannon round into the truck, hoping to add it to his weapons and cartridge collection. It was of course destroyed in the Big Blast at the end.
How can Shriekers do so much damage to prey? They have no teeth and their beaks don't look that sharp.
Actually their beaks are fairly sharp. Ever been bitten by a parrot? However, the real secret is the great strength in their jaws and legs. Once they clamp down, it’s almost impossible to force their jaws open. Repeatedly yanking backward with their powerful legs, they can tear or rip just about anything. That’s how they rip open sheet metal.
Well – if you think about it, all the Graboids are dead by the time the Shriekers are running around, since Shriekers come out of Graboids. In Tremors 3, El Blanco did sense the Abs, and he even ate the last one!
Yes, but the fact is, most of the creatures who have lived on earth are NOT preserved in the fossil record. Only a fraction get fossilized. So we thought it would be fun to propose that at least one higher, more complex animal, with a very unusual life cycle, arose in the Precambrian and was lost to history until Tremors 2. If you’d like an alternate theory, at one time there was on the SciFi Tremors series website a much more detailed and scholarly analysis of where in pre-history Graboids may have arisen (the writer proposed that Kate White was mistaken in her original judgment about the Precambrian origins).
On a side note, one thing that is definite is Graboids and their two metamorphic forms were NOT the result of the compound Mixmaster being released into the Perfection Valley environment (revealed in Tremors, the Series). Graboids predated that event by hundreds, if not thousands of years.
No, it’s a muzzle brake, a device that reduces felt recoil (kick) when the gun is fired. Some of the expanding gasses blasting out of the barrel are directed slightly rearward through the holes, sort of little “jets” which pull the gun forward at the same time it is kicking backward against the shooter.
Surprise: because they don’t really exist! It was a fairly complicated thing to shoot. The “baby” is actually a full sized Shrieker in a special cage we built extra big to make the Shrieker look small. (You’ll notice there are no people seen in the same shot with the baby. That would have given away that the cage was huge). We didn’t have the time or money to make real baby Shrieker puppets, so the effects team came up with that clever “cheat.”
A lot of it just has to do with the way they were filmed. In the series the directors tended to use quicker, closer shots of the Shriekers than we did in T-2. Outwardly the series puppets are almost identical to the T-2 puppets, but the ones in the series have more range of motion.
Technically, they can keep producing babies as long as they get an unlimited amount of food. But in reality there is an upper limit. Studies were done by the scientific team which brought the Shriekers to Perfection Valley in the series. They found that it requires tremendous effort to “birth” the baby and this takes quite a toll on the Shrieker’s body. After producing ten to twelve babies, an adult often dies suddenly of apparent heart failure. In the wild a Shrieker would rarely be able to get enough food to reach that state.
What ever happened to Senor Ortega? Was he eaten by Shriekers or did he leave before the Graboids metamorphosed?
He wisely beat it out of there before things got bad.
Yes, they do. But not nearly as much. Scientists think the reason may be that Shriekers are designed to alert each other when they find food. ABs are more solitary animals, primarily looking for a good place to lay their single egg, so the theory is there’s not as much need for them to signal each other about food sources.
No, the pouches aid in the animals’ breathing. If you watch closely in T-2, you can sometimes see them pulsating. Baby Shriekers grow from eggs lining the stomach walls of the adult, feeding directly on digestive products there. When an adult eats enough, one of the eggs suddenly starts to grow, forcing its way into the stomach cavity and up the throat. Yech.
It’s not clear why only one egg is “triggered” at a time.
At the end of T-2, Earl suggests that the team should be paid for killing the Shriekers along with the Graboids. Were they able to get extra money for killing the Shriekers?
Yes, they were. They had to give a discount price, since:
- there were so many Shriekers and,
- the refinery they were supposedly “protecting” was destroyed. But Earl, Grady, and Burt came out quite handsomely in the end.
When the Graboid on the surface is about to go into the stage of producing Shriekers, its tentacles aren't moving. Why is that?
A Graboid is nearly dead at this point. The tentacles’ primary purpose of for pulling prey into the mouth. Since the animal is no longer eating, it doesn’t need to use them any more. All its remaining energy is going to support the growing Shriekers inside it.
When Earl is sprayed with CO2 and goes into the warehouse full of Shriekers why don't the Shriekers see his face? It doesn't look sprayed.
Yes, Earl was taking a chance. But all the cold surrounding his face helped disguise it. Also, the Shriekers had food all around them and were all happily eating. As a result, they weren’t paying as close attention as if they’d been in full hunting mode.
We think it’s always fun and interesting to have characters come back, but unfortunately, there are no plans for future Tremors at all, with or without Grady.
Theoretically there is no limit. As long as it gets enough food, a Shrieker can keep producing new baby Shriekers. Practically speaking, however, a Shrieker in that situation would probably eventually die of old age or as a result of the stress of constantly reproducing. But it would make a lotta babies before that happened.
If after Tremors 1 the Graboids’ bodies were sent off for scientific study, why wouldn’t the scientists have discovered Shriekers inside them BEFORE Earl and Grady ever got to Mexico?
At they time they were killed. none of the Graboids in Tremors 1 had yet started the metamorphic process which leads to Shriekers forming inside its body. So there was no sign of Shriekers in the T-1 Graboids studied by Rhonda and other scientists, and no hint that this is how they reproduce.
In T-2 why do we see so few Graboid tentacles in action? You show only one tentacle, when the Graboids where turning into Shriekers.
Since we were focused on introducing Shriekers to the Tremors world, we didn’t feel we should spend time and money recreating all the things Graboids did in Tremors 1. Also, since we had had trouble getting good full scale burst-ups in T-1, (remember how slow the Graboid comes up next to Earl before the run to the cliff?) we were excited about showing our full sized 8 foot Graboids bursting out of the ground with real energy (as when one eats the oil worker in the opening, and later, when one makes a grab for Grady by the pickup). So we put our effects dollars into those moments, rather than refurbishing and using the tentacles with all their cables, which required many puppeteers.
Are the tongues of Graboids, which appear to operate independently of one another, connected to the Shriekers eventually “born” from the Graboid? Are they like independent umbilical cords each working for an individual Shrieker within?
Ummm, we see where you’re coming from, we think, but the answer is no. Shriekers do not appear inside an adult Graboid until right before they’re “born.” Science would love to be able to study a living Graboid in which Shriekers have started to grow, but so far that opportunity hasn’t come up. Thus far it appears that El Blanco, the albino Graboid now living in Perfection Valley will never reproduce.
Why is there orange-red coloring on the Shriekers necks and tails? They can’t see, so its not to identify other Shriekers, and these colors wouldn’t be useful for camouflage.
Many animals have coloring that seems to serve no purpose. What we often find, however, is that science just hasn’t figured out what the purpose is. For example, some have theorized that these colorful patches on Shriekers might have more blood near the skin surface in order to emit more heat than the rest of the body, and that might communicate something to another Shrieker like, “Stay away from my food,” or “Look out, I’m about to throw up a new baby.” Unfortunately, Shriekers are hard to study because they are the shortest-lived of the three Graboid life forms. Some years ago, the few that the government had in captivity escaped in Perfection Valley and multiplied, much to the consternation of the locals, who barely managed to destroy them.
Good question. In most cases, yes, but not too well. Glass tends to limit the transmission of infrared light. Some insulating glass is designed to block almost all infrared light. While we could see right through it, to a Shrieker that sort of glass might look like a mirror. Wish we had thought of that when we were making T-2. We could have had Earl, Grady, and Kate carrying glass doors, and the Shriekers couldn’t have seen them! Of course it would have required a lot of dialogue from Kate explaining the science behind it.
Update to this question: Here’s alternate answer from a fan who says:
Are you ready for the true scientific answer? Well here goes. A friend of mine keeps pet rattlesnakes in his house (in double locked containment, of course}. As you know, rattlesnakes and other pit vipers can see warm objects in total darkness. Before entering the reptile room, you must turn on the overhead light or else the snakes will vigorously rattle their tails until the lights are on and they can see you clearly. Snakes can not hear because they have no ears (unlike Graboids), but they can sense heat through the tempered glass in the window of their terrarium.
(SSW admits he has not tested the glass scenario with rattlesnakes, nor is he likely to.)
Any possibility that a young Gummer might have been in the womb when Heather left Burt pre-Tremors 2?
No. Burt and Heather were very careful, since they had grave doubts about the value of bringing children into a world under constant threat of disaster (and that was before they knew about Graboids).
You have said elsewhere in the FAQ that the two least-damaged Graboids from T-1 ended up in a casino and a museum. So which Graboid does Burt have mounted in his basement at the beginning of Tremors 2?
Burt initially went along with Rhonda’s request to donate all the Graboid remains to science. A few days later, he regretted his decision. At considerable expense and effort, he reclaimed the head of the most-damaged Graboid, the one that fell to the bottom of the cliffs. Its head was relatively undamaged, and he had a taxidermist mount it, also at considerable expense.
Okay, we gotta be honest, this one stumped us. As far as we know nothing was intentionally written in the dirt in this scene. Can other fans help us out? Anybody else see any mysterious writing in the ostrich pen sequence?
No, they felt he’d performed the duties asked of him and the loss of the truck was well worth getting rid of the Graboids and Shriekers.
Why do Shriekers only drag their tongues on the ground at certain points, such as when Grady thows the MRE into the cage?
Well… we gotta say, it’s amazing that fans are still coming up with new questions! Apparently there is need to invent, er, divulge new Shrieker behavioral secrets! Our belief is that Shrieker tongue-searching is a fall-back food finding technique. If they have sensed no warm-blooded prey for a certain amount of time, they resort to tongue searching for less palatable cold blooded, or just cold, food. They can’t use the technique non-stop, however, because they’d trip over their tongues trying to walk and, with their mouths open too much they’d quickly become dehydrated from slime evaporation.
Did the grabiod hunters charge the refinery owner or president for the shriekers they killed? - NEW
Yes, they did. At least they tried to. The refinery owners weren’t too happy about it, and weren’t happy that the refinery got blown up, but they ultimately made a deal that covered both Graboids and an undecided number of shriekers. Earl and Grady made out pretty well in the end.
Uh, okay, remember what Kate said about exponential growth? We actually have no idea. There was like, a whole lot of them inside that storage building that Earl blew up, and they were all eating and making more Shriekers the whole time. So, like, a zillion?
Burt is a perfectionist! He feels you can always improve your game, so he was taping the kills to learn more about Graboids and how best to take them out.
How come the Graboids kept falling for the same RC car contraption over and over again, never learning it was a trap like the Graboid in the first film learned that the dynamite-on-a-rope was a trick. - NEW
Here’s what we think: the Graboid in the first movie had to swallow the dynamite before realizing it was the bad stuff. Burt, with his RC cars and remote detonator, is too quick for them, hitting the button before they realize they’ve been “hooked.”
We don’t think Earl and Grady stayed in Mexico. We think they took their money and returned to open their theme park in the U.S. But, that said, we never thought about what happened to the ostriches! As I often do, I congratulate this fan on a creative soliton. Miguel would totally have wanted to take over the ostriches. He was probably a better rancher than Earl, anyway.
Well, we don’t think so. They did make a lot of money, but probably not enough to be able to act on Grady’s grandiose ideas.
They got married and lived happily ever after! And used the money Earl made to start a better business than an ostrich ranch. The money also allowed Kate’s to continue doing research in geology without being tied to oil companies.
When Burt drove his truck into the garage, and the captured Shrieker is carried into the office, nobody heard the incapacitated Shrieker under the truck or knew how it got there. Where the did he come from?
Here’s what we intended: Burt reports that he ran over dozens of the creatures, so one of them became lodged in the truck’s undercarriage, but not killed. It regained consciousness after he parked inside, and immediately began seeking food.
How many graboids did Earl and Grady end up blowing up in total? And how many did Burt blow up on his own?
We don’t know. And here’s why. In Tremors 1 it was important to say exactly how many Graboids there were, so that the heroes and the audience would know when there was only one left. In Tremors 2, it didn’t matter so much, because ALL the Graboids turned into Shriekers. So we just wrote that they killed a lot, and cut in lots of explosions. We even re-used some of our Graboid explosions (using different camera angles) to make it look like they got even more.
We are sorry to report that we no longer know, if we ever knew. When we were making the movies, I always thought I’d remember all those details. But film making is such a fast and intense process, it’s possible I never even thought to ask the people in the sound department how they created that cool sound.
Absolutely. Shriekers are all about eating — anything, anytime, as fast as possible.
Is there a reason that the oil field in Mexico had so many graboids, considering that later attacks had so few graboids.
Good question! Hopefully Rhonda or Kate has done some research on this. For now, we’ll have to guess that there was an abundance of food in that area of Mexico. More baby Graboids survived, thus more adults.
Sometimes the details get away from us. Sorry to report that nobody in the current Stampede circle remembers what brand of hat we picked for him all those years ago.
Before. Jodi had to take over the store very soon after she learned Walter had been killed. We just didn’t show the town in Tremors 2.
After Earl was sprayed by the fire extinguisher, so the Shriekers couldn't "see" him, why didn't he then take the fire extinguisher into the barn with him? Then, when his cold covering started to wear off, he could have re-sprayed himself.
Hey, those fire extinguishers have pretty limited capacity. It was used up!