Tremors FAQ

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

It’s a can of soda he’s drinking as he walks out of Chang’s (and no, I do NOT know what kind!) When he sees the creepy tentacle under Val and Earl’s truck, he discards the soda without thinking about it.

When everyone discovers the Graboid tentacle attached underneath Earl/Val’s truck, what/why does Burt throw something underneath the truck next to him? was last modified: by

No, they’re various disgusting things they came up with for innards at Amalgamated Dynamics. We didn’t intend them to be eggs. Graboids don’t lay eggs, they metamorphose.

In Tremors 1, it looks like we see eggs among the internal organs of one of the blown up Graboids – are they eggs? was last modified: by

We didn’t.  We had a hole in the ground that was deep enough for the station wagon to sink into.  In the hole was a specially made machine, sort of like an elevator, that was supposed to lower the car slowly.  But the machine jammed – it got clogged and blocked by the special lightweight potting soil we were using for “dirt.”  The car only sank a couple of feet.  It was our last night of shooting and we could not work past dawn, so director Ron Underwood had to quickly figure out a series of close-ups and insert shots to make it look like the car actually sank.  That very last shot (done later in miniature) was a wide shot where you just see the headlight beams blink off and that’s what makes if feel like the car finally went under.  Later, when Val and Earl dig the car up, we put just the car’s front grille (taken off) under the sand, with a battery to run the head lights.

How did we get the station wagon under the ground in Tremors? was last modified: by

Here’s one that has partially stumped us. Production designer Ivo Cristante (Tremors 1 and Tremors 2 tells SS Wilson it is probably corn. He remembers thinking about what Old Fred could successfully grow in that dry environment. Do we have any botanist fans who can tell from the Old Fred garden hoe close ups in Tremors 1?

What is old Fred growing in his garden? was last modified: by

This is actually a question to which we gave considerable thought: “Why is there a lone teenage kid in Perfection?” Here’s Melvin’s Tremors 1 back story: he’s the son of rather irresponsible parents who regularly leave him home alone to go gambling in Vegas. The townsfolk long ago got used to the situation, as people in small towns do. There was a line explaining this in the original Tremors 1 script. It was said by Val or Earl and was something like, “I wish his parents would just take him with them to Vegas.” As a result, Melvin turned out sort of selfish and money-hungry in Tremors 3, but we understand him since he had to fend for himself from a young age.

Who was the adult guardian of Melvin in Tremors? was last modified: by

Just coincidence. There is a lot of seismic activity in the southwest and many public and private entities monitor it all the time. If we had secretive people who knew in advance Graboids were going to hatch, we’d turn into the X Files.

Was it just coincidence that the university had students monitoring seismic activity in the valley, or was someone at the University expecting a hatching? was last modified: by

Well, this is equivalent to the great number-of-Shriekers-in-a-Graboid slip up and Old Fred’s disappearing car. In the years between making T-1 and T-3, we overlooked this basic geographic reality. Burt’s line is simply wrong. He was let down by the writers. He should have said, “They’re working their way up from the south.”

But the same fans have provided an excellent explanation for the Graboid movements, if not the T-3 line. The 1989 batch could have hatched south of Perfection (unlike the T-4 batch). They found themselves blocked by the granite ridge which separates the south end of Perfection Valley from Bixby. So, they worked their way north, taking out the victims in the order Val indicates, heading back toward Perfection. I have no idea what this does to the orientation-of-the-valley discussion and I’m too tired to think about it.

Boy, you guys are tough.

In a related T-1 question, some of you feel Rhonda seems to be unexpectedly working in two widely different areas of the Valley (where she first meets Val and Earl, and later at the concrete ditch). On that point I think we’re safe. She clearly says she has placed seismographs all over the valley, so it’s logical that she might be servicing any one of them an any given time.

Here’s a major one. You fans have done it again. In his T-3 town meeting briefing, Burt says the Graboids are moving down from the North, “just like last time.” But in a chat room discussion forwarded to S.S. Wilson, some fans point out that in fact, all the early Graboid victims in T-1 are South of Perfection, i.e., between Perfection and Bixby! was last modified: by

You’re envisioning the trail as starting right at the base of the mountain. We envisioned the jeep trail as starting way before that, out in the desert. Our intention in the dialogue where the townsfolk discuss it was to imply that the trail was so rough that the little two-wheel-drive vehicle would not make it to the rocks. Earl says “You need major four wheel drive just to get up that jeep trail,” which makes it sound like he might means to get up up the mountain itself — but he didn’t! Honest!

In Tremors 1, why didn’t the townspeople just take truck Rhonda’s to the base of the jeep trail? With the trail being a mountain path, the Graboids wouldn’t be able to follow, and the people could walk safely to Bixby. I know the real answer is that it would just kill the whole movie plot, but what’s the “creative” reason? was last modified: by

If you are referring to Hiram’s punt gun, which is sort of like a small cannon, no. The punt gun was never found after the Graboid pulled it underground in Tremors 4. If you are referring to the Gatling Gun Christine gives Hiram at the end of Tremors 4, also no. It’s technically not a cannon and it went to a museum in San Francisco after Hiram’s death. The cannon Burt refers to in Tremors 1 is a firing replica of a Civil War mortar (type of cannon). We wrote it into early drafts of Tremors 3, but the scene didn’t make it into the movie. It’s one of the few things which wouldn’t have been totally destroyed in the explosion of Burt’s house, but we’ve still never been able to show it. Maybe someday.

When they are stranded on the rock at the end, is the cannon Burt refers to the same one Hiram obtained in Tremors 4? was last modified: by

It is actually a shotgun called a Darne, with an unusual sliding breech action. It was huge, an 8 gauge (the smaller the number, the bigger the gun). We had dummy cartridges custom made from solid brass rod stock, with the bullet held on via a screw.

Update:  Mar 2021. I thought I had corrected this answer years ago, but apparently not.  The gun is an 8 gauge shotgun made by William and Moore, not Darne.  The info about our dummy cartridges is correct.

The Internet Movie Firearms Data Base has much more info on the  guns in Tremors.

What is that dang elephant gun Burt uses to kill the Graboid in his basement? was last modified: by

Wow, you’re asking us to go way back in time on that one. Boring reality version: the wardrobe department picked out a variety of things which seem to fit the character (in this case Fred’s character, Earl Basset). Then the director picked what he liked best. Also, the legal department has to approve use of the name. So it may be that it just happened to be a company for which we could get permission.

More romantic version: Earl worked odd jobs all over the country before landing in Perfection and teaming up with younger Val. No doubt he did a stint at Alumax, bailing with his hat when he got fed up with the 9:00 to 5:00 grind.

How did Fred Ward come by that Alumax Industries hat? was last modified: by

Sorry, we don’t have any record of that and can’t tell for sure from the existing footage which models they are.  Maybe some of our sharp-eyed detail-oriented Burt fans can help here?

Update:  Mar 2021. The Internet Movie Firearms Data Base has more answers than you probably want about guns in Tremors.

What model bolt-action rifles do Burt and Heather shoot the tentacles with? was last modified: by

We appreciate it when fans ask and answer a question at the same time.  But I will also add that the Graboid in question was “spitting” out the bomb, so it had no need to roar or scream.

A friend asked me, “Why didn’t the Graboid scream when it regurgitated the bomb that landed on the other bombs?” I said its probably because he knew the bombs hurt his seismic sensors and took cover then returned to the food. was last modified: by

Yes.  The movie ratings system is always changing.  Some lines we thought would be acceptable when we started shooting were not acceptable by the time we finished.  Since then, somewhat to our surprise, we’ve realized that the Tremors films are loved by kids and families.  So we have limited most bad language in the later films, except for the name of the ABs, which some people have objected to.

Were swear words cut out or “looped” (replaced) in the original Tremors to get the PG 13 rating? was last modified: by

Truth: we hoped no one would notice or ask.  But our fully plausible after-the-fact explanation is that always-prepared Burt maintained backup tires and rims of several sizes and makes, in case he had to commandeer a vehicle other than his own in an emergency.

FAN SUPPORT UPDATE:  (A fan wrote in to say why the rims would fit!)  Just so you guys are aware, a lot of the old trucks that had 6 lug nuts for the rims used the same mounting pattern.  All full size Chevy trucks, full size Chevy Jeeps, and even the old small Toyota and Nissan trucks could all use the same rims.

Val and Earl say at the end that Burt gave them the new tires for the Jeep, but how did they mount them on the rims? They couldn’t use rims Burt had since Jeep rims don’t match his Chevy rims. Chevy has six holes and Jeeps had/have five holes. Perfection doesn’t seem to have a garage where they could do tire changes and stuff. was last modified: by

Ironically, though one would think so, Burt is not ex-Army.  His deep-seated resistance to authority and his desire to live life exactly as he wishes made him a bad fit for that highly regimented institution.

Can you tell us more about Burt and Heather’s backgrounds? Was Burt Ex-Army? was last modified: by

We had not thought about that.  But Bertram kind of makes sense, since he’s a descendant of Hiram Gummer.  Might reflect a family bias for similar-sounding names.

What is “Burt” short for? Perhaps, “Bertram”? was last modified: by

That is what we call in professional film making circles: a mistake.

At the end of Tremors 1 why is Fred Ward’s character credited as Earl Bass not Basset? was last modified: by

We thought of them as being in their mid-to-late 30s.

What was Burt and Heather’s age intended to be in Tremors? was last modified: by

As you go down the face of those cliffs, you encounter older geologic layers.  Before you reach the bottom, you come to hard sandstone, which the Graboids can’t penetrate.

What kept the Graboids from diving deep below the floor of Perfection Valley and emerging at the bottom of the “Cliffs to the North”? was last modified: by

Here it is from the original script:  they are repairing a section of road already damaged by a rock slide.  Carmine is breaking up asphalt (for eventual replacement).

What exactly were those construction workers doing when they were killed by Graboids? Burying phone lines? was last modified: by

Nestor Cunningham.  Jim and Megan Wallace.  Old Fred does not have a last name in the script, so apparently that’s up for grabs.

Do the characters of Tremors all have last names? What’s Nestor’s? The Doctor’s? Old Fred’s? was last modified: by


Are Val and Earl related in any way? was last modified: by

It was returned to the private gun collection from which it was rented.

What happened to the 8 gauge elephant gun (actually a Darne shotgun) Burt used to kill the Graboid in his basement? was last modified: by

No, S.S. Wilson came up with the name out of the blue early in the writing process.  There was no connection to anything.  The name just sounded funny and it stuck.  It’s one of the few character names S.S. Wilson has contributed to the many scripts he and Brent Maddock have worked on.  Most names are invented by Maddock and some point.

How did you come up with the name, Burt Gummer? Was it possibly an homage to the Charlton Heston’s RoBERT Neville, in “OMEGA MAN”? was last modified: by

Sorry, we don’t know and we can’t.  Our weapons prop master did a superb job of putting all those different guns together, but I’m not sure even he could remember how many and what they were all these years later.  So, maybe one of you really dedicated fans, working diligently from frame grabs of the basement sequence, referencing your well-worn copy of the 1990 Shooter’s Bible –??

Update 2021 – a fan encouraged us to point out that someone HAS tried to name all the guns:  The Internet Movie Firearms Database.  It’s an exhaustive list.  BTW, if you wade through the whole Tremors page, you’ll see they say we shot the Burt and Heather’s gun basement in multiple locations. That is not true. It was all shot on the one set.  We did shoot over several days, and the wall had to be “rebuilt” each day, plus partially after each take, so their reasoning for why some guns change position during the scene is half right.

Burt’s gun wall: Exactly how many weapons does he have on that wall? Could you please name them all? was last modified: by

The machine is a shell case polisher.  The device agitates empty brass cases in a  mildly abrasive medium, gently polishing off the burns and powder residue from the previous firing.  Perfectionists like Burt and Heather want their cases sparkling clean before they reload them!

In Tremors 1, what were Bert and his wife mixing in their basement with that machine that attracted the graboids? Something to do with making their own bullets but what exactly? was last modified: by

The Graboids were pretty big news.  A new life form!  Photos of them flew round the world.  Plus Rhonda and Val were on a few national talk shows.  Even so, Perfection is very remote, so there wasn’t a flood of tourists right away.  Jodi arrived quickly to oversee her uncle’s store.  Once she got there, she saw opportunity and decided to stay.

After Tremors 1, what exactly happened? Did [the town] automatically start attracting tourists? And when did Jodi move in and fix things up? was last modified: by

It’s not likely Universal will do a better Blu-ray release. Sadly, they don’t view Tremors as a major property and have made many disappointing marketing decisions over the years.  For example, Tremors 4 was released in the United Kingdom with none of the cool extras.  Though we made the movies, they own them and we have no control over what they do with them.

Is it possible you guys can convince Universal to release a new Blu ray release of Tremors with a remastered transfer? The transfer on the current Blu ray is HORRIBLE. (this review really sums it up Also, if they ever release a new release Tremors, ever consider doing an audio commentary for the film? was last modified: by

Well, the answer is getting lost in the mists of time, but I don’t have Michael Gross’s thoughts about it.  He says, ” I recall saying I wanted to wear a baseball cap of some sort. Someone (wardrobe?  Ron?) asked it might be a sports team, and I said I thought that would be okay, but specified it should be a team from some southern state.  Next thing you know, these hats from Atlanta show up on the set, and off we went.”

How come Burt wears an Atlanta Hawks hat was last modified: by

Actually, our version is that the jeep trail, criss-crossing sandy washes and ravines, becomes heavily rutted and impassable well before it reaches solid rock at the base of the mountains, so they’d be goners if they tried it.

Toward the end, why didn’t the townspeople just jump into Rhonda’s truck and drive it to the base of the Jeep trail? With the trail being a mountain path, the Graboids wouldn’t be able to follow, and they could just walk to Bixby. I know the real answer is that it would just kill the whole movie plot, but what’s the “creative” reason? was last modified: by

Okay, I’ll probably get this wrong since I haven’t re-watched the movie to double-check.  If you read other faq answers you’ll see we got the number of Shriekers-in-a-Graboid wrong in Tremors 3.  But I’ll give it a shot.  I say 10.  Edgar Deems, Old Fred, two road workers, the doctor and his wife, Nestor, Walter Chang; and two telephone repair workers.  Dedicated FAQ Followers feel free to correct me.

How many people do the Graboids kill in Tremors 1? – NEW was last modified: by

I gotta be honest, neither me, Ron Underwood nor Brent Maddock remembered where the song came from.  And I could never have answered this question without help from two Facebook friends who led me to Keith Blackwell, a member of the band Fahrenheit.  They recorded the song as a demo and, since they knew some of our production people, offered it as background music.  Better yet, Mr. Blackwell has put it up online and you can hear it in its entirety, all these years later, at

What’s the song playing when Val and Earl are trying to clean out Melvin’s septic tank? – NEW was last modified: by

OMG, this may be the first Val belt buckle question ever!  It was part of many costumes provided by the Tremors wardrobe department.  The good news is, all these years later, director Ron Underwood remembers choosing it!  Ron writes, “I remember the meeting with Abigail Murray (costume designer) in our production office in the [San Fernando] Valley where she brought in her “find” of the belt buckle.  I think it was in a heart shape around the name “VAL.”  I remember thinking it was great as soon as I saw it.  She found it in a second hand store as I recall.”

So, the bad news is, it was a rare item even back then.  We don’t know who made it or when or how many might have been made.

Who provided the movie clothing in Tremors, specifically for Val and Earl. I noticed a lot of western wear. And where did Val get that awesome belt buckle! Was it specially made for the movie or can it be purchased? – NEW was last modified: by

Finn has continued to do all sorts of things (including have kids).  She has done guest spots on many TV shows over the years since Tremors.  We did not write her character, Rhonda, into Tremors 5 since, in the Tremors universe, she’s gone off to live with Val.  But Finn was a total delight to work with and fearless in going for the quirky Rhonda we had in mind.

What has Finn Carter been doing lately? Also, if you ever get permission from Universal to make Tremors 5, would she be in it? – NEW was last modified: by

Well, we tried to shoot and edit that scene so that you never really see the back of the truck or very far underneath. Hopefully it’s not too much of a cheat

How come the tentacle on their truck is not seen when they drive away from the hillside where “Stumpy” grabbed their axle? was last modified: by

Finn Carter would laugh if she read this question. She had a heck of a time that day. We shot and re-shot the three of them running many times. It was insanely hot and she was super exhausted. That said, remember that she is calling after Val and Earl, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” So, clearly, they slowed down and let her catch up.  The way the footage is edited, that might not be clear, but that is totally what happened. In my mind.

Update: here’s an answer from a helpful fan who emailed Stampede.  Thanks!

“Because Rhona runs faster than both of them. At the beginning of the movie, she easily catches up to Val and Earl with her backpack on when they run on the rocks from the worms.”

How did Rhonda, after grabbing the lighter out of her pocket, catch up to Val and Earl since they had been running full tilt for 14 seconds? was last modified: by

Answer 1: Earl slept very late.
Answer 2: You shoot low budget movies as fast as you can, from sun-up to sundown.  You usually don’t have a choice where the sun is.  So you just hope people won’t notice and send you questions 25 years later.

In the opening scene at the cliff, in the shot of the cattle, the sun clearly overhead, like high noon with heat waves. Yet when Val wakes Earl up, he says, “Good morning Mr. Bassett, this is your wake-up call.” Why? was last modified: by

Since S. S. Wilson comes from a background in stop motion animation, yes!  We considered anything that would help us get the movie made.  But the fact that the creatures were always seen in dirt and kicking up dust made stop-motion an unsatisfactory choice, since those are hard elements to work with (or add in later) when doing stop motion.

I know you and the Stampede crew went with CGI for the sequels in places where it would’ve been impossible to pull off with live creatures, but when you guys were doing the first film, was there ever talk about doing some stop-motion Graboid shots? was last modified: by

I have to be honest.  No, I did not realize that.  I will look for him the next time I watch the film.

Update:  I checked.  It’s pretty subtle!  Like half a second!  And only half the guy’s head!

In Tremors 1, when they jump into Rhonda’s truck and she is in the window, you realize that behind Val for a few seconds you can see the stunt driver right? was last modified: by

Well, the simple answer is, he didn’t have one.  Remember, we first see the gun when Val and Earl’s truck gets stuck at the road work site.  When Earl grabs the Colt from the glove box, it’s just wrapped in paper.

Why didn’t Earl use a revolver holster for his Colt when he was riding the horse. He would have never lost it then after the graboid attacked his horse. was last modified: by

Well, not really.   We didn’t feel Val and Earl should be experts, and a tentacle would be pretty hard to hit with a handgun.

Did you guys ever think of having Val and Earl have a revolver battle against the tentacles? was last modified: by

You know, we’ve never though about that.  But we feel that they did.  Their kids were grown and they were building their retirement place near Perfection.

Did the doctor and his wife have any kids? was last modified: by

We never wanted it to be rated R!  We like to make fun family movies.  We were upset the first time we submitted it , because it DID get an R — for language.  We had let Kevin and Fred use too many unacceptable words, so we had to go back and make changes to get rid of enough to get our PG-13.

If Tremors had been rated R, what changes would you have made? was last modified: by

Yeah, Nestor is not Melvin’s dad.  Melvin’s parents just left him alone a lot when they went to gamble in Las Vegas.  But we think Melvin’s reaction is still understandable.  He’s just a teenager, and he’s never seen anybody killed, let alone in such a scary way.  It makes him see how much danger they are in.

I thought Nestor was Melvins dad and that was why he was crying and so upset when Nestor was eaten. So if he wasn’t his father, apart from the loss of a friend.. why does he freak out more than the others? was last modified: by

We’re not quite sure what this means.  Do the tentacles have guns, or are Val and Earl shooting at them like wild west guys?  If it’s the second version, we think it’d only work for a short time.  The Graboid would pull its wounded tentacles underground and attack from below unless they got to safe ground.  We sort of did that with Black Hand Kelly in Tremors 4.  But the tentacles didn’t have guns.

Do you think Val and Earl would have survived a gunslinger battle with the graboids’ tentacles? was last modified: by

It is a special effect — a beautiful old-school, perfectly done matte painting.  We couldn’t find a cliff that looked right anywhere in the area where we were shooting.  It had to look like dirt, not rock.  So we finally had to bring in a world-class matte painting team, Illusion Arts.

In the opening scene when Kevin Bacon is taking a whiz over the edge of the cliff, and the ending scene where they run full tilt toward the same spot, are they really at the edge of a cliff, or is it special effects? was last modified: by

It was an accident.  Kevin just didn’t hit the nail for a few times.  Director Ron Underwood thought it was a great moment that seemed very real, so he left it in the final film.

In the beginning of the movie Val and Earl are putting up a barbed wire fence. I was wondering if the multiple attempts to hit the nail was planned or if he missed that many times on purpose. was last modified: by

That’s funny!  Yeah, nearly all the effects in the original Tremors were done “live” right on the location, so we did end up with things like bouncing dirt.  Under Kevin was a big sheet of plywood covering the large hole in which the Graboid was placed during other parts of the scene. I guess today any young person with an iPhone and a movie app could digitally erase our dirt bounce.  But we’ll leave it as is for posterity.

OK ! Enough Hollywood trickery!! In the final action scene, Kevin Bacon starts running and the ‘ground’ under his feet is BOUNCING. Please go back and edit this, then re-release the movie in all major theaters across the world. was last modified: by

Believe it or not, the original score was not loved.  In post production, much of it was thrown out and some “action” music hastily written by a new composer.  That said, we love the “Val and Earl” theme, if that’s what you’re referring to; but using it in later productions would have been a tough sell to the studio.

The first film had the best distinctive theme song why didn’t you guys keep it as the main theme for all the films? was last modified: by

Actually, there is a very clear closeup of him stepping into the loop of hose right before the jack-hammer takes off.

Ok, after Earl warns the highway workers that “there’s a killer on the loose” the guy’s foot gets stuck in the air-pressure hose. How did that happen since the scene immediately prior shows it clearly outside of it? Did the Flash mess with the time-line again? was last modified: by

Great question!  That would be totally like Walter, but no, he really didn’t have a gun.  He only sold ammo at his store — mostly to Burt.

Did Walter really not have a gun or did he just lie to keep Earl from getting it for free? was last modified: by

This is partly true. Early sketches by the guys at Amalgamated Dynamics did have the retractable head skin, and it did get a laugh in an early meeting, especially from Exec Producer Gale Ann Hurd, as being too phalic.   So the retracting skin was dropped.  However, it is not true that we replaced it with the tentacles.  They were always part of the design and were described in the original script.

The Internet Movie Database says that: “One idea by the special effects crew was for the worms to have an outer shell. When above the dirt, the shell would retract to reveal a slimier ‘inner worm’. However, many production members started to giggle at the ‘phallic’ resemblance it had with a foreskin, so this was changed to the big worm sprouting several smaller worms from its mouth.” Could you confirm, or deny, the story? was last modified: by

Well — because the panties were our idea, that is, the director and writer/producers.  We are not fans of monster/horror movies where women are scantily clad for no reason, but we also really liked the scene in which she has to get out of her pants to escape the barbed wire, so we discussed it with Finn and all agreed on the modest version she wore.

Why is Rhonda bold enough to go without a bra but still wears full coverage panties? was last modified: by

In all the years of answering Tremors questions, this is a first.  I am embarrassed to say we’ve never thought much about Mindy’s father.  We do think that free-spirit Nancy was not married to him and that they drifted apart for some reason.  But that’s about it.

On part two, we’re not sure where that question comes from.  Nancy does not hate Earl.  She pretty much likes everybody, though she gets impatient with Burt at times.

Who was Nancy’s husband? What happened to him? Why does she hate Earl? was last modified: by

No, but you can be sure Burt never misses an opportunity to point it out.

Burt makes a comment about eminent domain in Tremors 1. Given that its use became much more common after the 2005 USSC ruling, did you feel prophetic? was last modified: by

Uh —- what?  I think this one went over our heads.

Why didn’t you incorporate the 2016 Tour de France as a prequel to Perfection Valley terror? You could have had the Graboids take out some of the Yellow jersey leaders, then head west to America for more delectable cuisine. Pogo sticks just don’t compare to bicyclists going downhill at 55mph. Plus bridging the Space-Time continuum would increase audience participation by incorporating the Sci-Fi types. was last modified: by

Forgive me, there are lots of funny answers to this question.  We are writers, after all.

The entire town of Perfection would have been eaten, and it would have been a very dark, depressing horror movie.

We would have had to add people to the town to get eaten so Val and Earl, and maybe Rhonda, would still survive.

Burt would have had to come up with a mini-nuclear bombs instead of his ordinary ones.

We would have had to come up with four more cool ways to kill a Graboid.

The movie would have been twice as long!  But twice as expensive and we wouldn’t have been able to make it!

But seriously, we are amazed at the new questions fans keep coming up with all these years later.  Thanks!

How different would the movie be if there were 8 Graboids instead a of 4? was last modified: by

This is a good question.  Indeed it is true that Earl found an axe earlier when trying to help Rhonda.  But when the motor in the soft drink cooler turned on, we think he left the axe by the table he was sitting at across the room.  He had no time to get off the cooler, over to the table and back before Walter got pulled down.

When Walter was being eaten by the Graboid that came through the floor, why didn’t Earl help him with that axe he had? was last modified: by

We think this might be a trick philosophy or political question.  But we don’t deal much in philosophy, or politics, so our answer is that the purpose was to tell a fun, off-beat, exciting story as best we could.

What was the purpose behind the film? was last modified: by

It’s interesting to us that fans like to rank things so much.   But we’ll offer our opinion.  Old Edgar died of thirst up on the tower, but didn’t suffer the horror of being eaten.  The road crew guys seemed to get killed pretty quickly.  The doctor and his wife had it pretty bad, both being slowly pulled underground, so they are definitely up near the top.  We don’t really know what happened to the telephone guys, so it could have been the worst of all, but probably not.  Nestor got pulled under very fast and we think went unconscious fairly quickly.  Our vote would be poor Walter Chang — grabbed, stabbed in the back with tentacle horns, and slowly pulled through the floor with a leg bent backward.  Yeah, now I’ve totally creeped myself out.

Out of all the victims in the first film which one do you think got it the worst? was last modified: by

Great question.  We hadn’t really noticed it, but it’s quite true.  It’s due to how we thought of Val and Earl as we developed the characters through several drafts of the script– as kind of ranch hands plus small-town handymen.  It’s also due to Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward working with director Ron Underwood, and wanting to play the characters with a strong Southwest feel.  In the later movies, as we moved on to new characters and had to adapt the stories more into the modern world, the cowboy feel kind of got left behind behind.

How come the 1st film felt more cowboyish than the others? was last modified: by

REAL cameras!  MOVIE cameras!  Shooting big heavy rolls of 35mm motion picture film!  Mostly they were by Arriflex.

What kind of cameras did you use on the first movie? was last modified: by

Sorry to report that, as of this late date, no one we’re still in contact with remembers.  During production, these decisions get made quickly, often choosing from dozens of options.  It’s possible nobody even paid attention to what brand it was at the time we were shooting.  It just got picked because it looked right to the director, costumer, and Michael Gross.

For 20 years now I have been trying to find a copy of Burt’s vest when they leave the house in the trailer. I even tried to contact Abigail Murray through her agent to ask the same question. What brand is it? was last modified: by

We don’t think there was ever such a scene even shot, because we hate movies that end like that!  We’ve always felt it’s much more satisfying to end on a definitive note.  You can always make a sequel no matter how “final” your ending.

On IMDB it says there is an end credit scene showing the dirt move, indicating that there’s one more alive. Is this true? Or maybe it’s only on vhs? was last modified: by

It says “Company,” and it is indeed intentional, since the whole town of Perfection was built from the ground up just for the movie. Production designer Ivo Cristante put a great deal of thought into what the history of Perfection could have been. Once he decided it was probably a mining town, he thought it would be fun to indicate that the store was originally owned by the mining company. We modified that idea in Tremors 4, when we indicated that Walter Chang’s ancestors founded the store, but they could still have called it the company store at some point in the intervening years.

In T-1 there was a faded white name painted under “Walter Chang’s Market”. What did it say and was this intentional? was last modified: by

We defend our physics!  The Graboids lifted only a portion, like one corner, of the buildings at any one time.   A smallish section of lumber and drywall wouldn’t weigh nearly as much as the Cat.

Although it’s only a movie, how can a Graboid lift a building, but not be able to lift a 30 plus ton Cat bulldozer? was last modified: by

No, although that would have been a cool idea.  They are actually of Harri James, our 2nd unit script supervisor, wearing a freaky blonde wig.

At the end of Tremors when Val (Kevin) pulls the pictures off the Jeep’s sun visor; are they pictures of Kevin’s wife Kyra? was last modified: by

Yes, what happened to the character remained the same.  We changed his race because we felt Victor Wong was the best person to try out for the role — and he was Chinese.

Had you guys gone with the original script, in which Walter was Vietnamese instead of Chinese, would he have gotten eaten up as well? was last modified: by

All these years later we can’t say for sure.  It’s not in the script.  It was probably Brent Maddock or SS Wilson (who directed the 2nd unit that filmed that moment).  That sort of thing often got added on the spur of the moment during production.  It made sense because we wanted to emphasize the tentacles were just randomly grabbing things, hunting by sound and feel alone.

Whose idea was it for the tentacle to eat that can of spinach in Chang’s market? was last modified: by

I know, right?  Where does all the money go?  Well, yes, you have 150-200 crew members all working 12 hours a day.  If they are union and work longer hours, they can get into triple overtime rates.  You have vehicle rental, fuel costs, office space rental, motel rooms and food every day for all those people.  The cast, especially the “name” stars, gets a BIG chunk.  Before the production you have to pay a crew to build the sets and also pay for all the materials.  For indoor scenes you have to not only build the sets but pay to rent the sound stages.  After the production you have to pay a crew to tear the sets down.  In post production you have the editor, composer, musicians, sound editors, sound mixers, and studio time.  And, back in the day of Tremors, you paid a laboratory to develop and print the film, and make copies of the film for editing, screening and, finally for hundreds of 35mm prints that used to go out to all the theaters.  It adds up!!!

How does one spend a budget of $11 million (Wikipedia)? Actors’ salaries? Set design? Union salaries for scads of workers? So much money that I would find hard to spend in a lifetime. And yes, I realize that in the scheme of movie making, this amount is probably considered “small potatoes “ was last modified: by

We wanted any distinctive old four-wheel-drive and our transportation department found the Jeep Gladiators, but I never knew where they found them.  I don’t know if they were rented or if we bought them for the movie.   After production they were sold or returned to wherever they were rented.  We had two of them on set, so that in case one had mechanical trouble, shooting wouldn’t be delayed. They were not heavily modified except for changes to make them look alike.    By the way, they aren’t 100% identical.  Look closely for the differences!

Where did you find Val and Earls truck for the film? Did you modify it? What happened to it after filming ended? was last modified: by

Well, great question, and one that stumped the studio marketing people, too.  Nobody knew quite what it was.  Here’s what happened: S. S. Wilson had a love of old horror movies.  His partner Brent Maddock is mostly a comedy guy.  So it started as sort of homage to 50s horror,  but the first drafts kept getting more and more funny as we came up with jokes.  Later in the process (we did seven drafts), we felt that the comedy was ruining the scary moments, so we began taking jokes out until we ended up with only comedic moments that arose naturally out of the situation.  So it became a scary movie with genuinely funny moments.  Ultimately that hurt it when it went to theaters, because the ad campaign made it seem more like a goofy comedy.  But people who don’t like “monster” movies also avoided it.  It was only later that it found a big audience — and years later we started to hear studio people say they want something with “the Tremors tone.”

Was Tremors written as a horror movie or a comedy? was last modified: by

No, we had not seen Razorback.  It does sound interesting.   Now we have to track it down!

In addition to the classic 1950s creature features to which Tremors so effectively pays homage, it shares many stylistic and thematic similarities with Razorback (1984). Had you or anyone else working on Tremors seen this other modestly budgeted horror and if so, was it an influence? was last modified: by

Love this question!  This is totally something we talked about during writing and even during shooting, but we never worked explanations into the script.  Our thinking was that Melvin’s parents go off to Vegas and leave him alone, somewhat irresponsibly.  And he just skips school (where ever it is!)

Mindy is easier.  Nancy is absolutely a dedicated home-schooler — which is why Mindy became so successful later, though Melvin did pretty well in real estate, too, it turns out.

Where did Melvin and Mindy go to school? It certainly didn’t seem like one was nearby. was last modified: by

Yes, we feel they stayed in touch.  Earl might’ve been a little jealous, but he’s a loyal friend and wanted Val to be happy (after all, Earl is the one who pushed Val to realize Rhonda was the right woman).   And Earl met Kate in Tremors 2, so it worked out!

Did Val and Earl keep in contact after Val got married? Was Earl jealous of him? was last modified: by

It’s a good question because, really, it’s an emotional moment we kind of skipped over.  Looking at it now, Burt and Heather probably should have noticed Nestor and Walter were missing when the people arrive with the bulldozer and trailer.  So we’ll have to say they found out right after the bulldozer leaves and on the long drive up to the mountains.  And of course they were very upset to hear that two long-time friends were gone!

When did Burt find out about Walter and Nestor’s deaths and how did he react? was last modified: by

Hah, again we are challenged to explain more about the graboid life cycle.  Here’s what we think: the Tremors graboids were at an early stage of development (earlier than in Tremors 2).  Researchers dissecting them did find small hard-to-identify embryos, but assumed that they were undeveloped eggs that the graboid would lay at some point.  A few scientists argued that there was no apparent birth canal, and that something else must happen for the embryos to be “born,” but their comments were ignored as being too outlandish, because no one imagined an animal spontaneously “erupting” into young the way graboids do.  So no, Burt did not get the heads-up he would have liked.

At end of the movie Rhonda says there is going to research on the graboids. I’m assuming this would be inspecting the dead graboids’ bodies. So wouldn’t they be able to see that the new creatures (shreikers) were developing inside? And therefore, Burt would have had his critical, need-to-know information in Tremors 2. Anyways, I love the films. Thanks. was last modified: by

Well, it’s one of those movie action-scene editing things.  Editors and directors like to “stretch” such moments to get maximum dramatic impact.  But we also often disagree on how much stretching is too much.  At some point, the timing gets so unrealistic it works against the drama.  This one is probably right on the edge.   Yes, Val has a really good arm.

And, yes, I’m amazed that I’m still answering NEW questions 30 years later.

At the end, Val chucks Burt’s explosive device PAST the Graboid. Yet the Graboid then takes a full 10 seconds — much of that going at ‘super-graboid-speed’ — to even reach Val before exiting thru cliff-face model to its untimely demise. Can Val chuck a boom pipe 100 yards? {and perchance you thought us fans were out of questions} was last modified: by

I confess we did not think of that.  But I’ll defend our position as follows: the boulders are not “floating” on the desert sand, but rather are sticking up from, and are connected directly to, the underlying ancient layer of solid rock beneath the whole valley.  So the graboids would not have been able dig under them or sink them.   Rhonda could probably explain it better than I, but that’s the idea.

In the first film near the end, did you guys ever think of having the graboids start digging really deep and sinking the large boulders the people were on — just to keep the horror going on? was last modified: by

He was not stupid, but yes, he did make bad decisions under pressure.  Also, to be fair, when you watch the movie, you have to imagine these people are encountering graboids for the very first time.  No one in the world knows anything about them, so Nestor can’t be blamed for not quite understanding the threat.  When he gets toppled off his house trailer, he does try to find cover as quick as he can.  The big tire isn’t the best choice, but the way we designed that set, there weren’t a lot of good places for him to go.

Was Nestor stupid or did he just make really bad decisions under pressure? was last modified: by

I have to say we did not think about those things.  Building a miniature set would have been time consuming and more expensive (we were a low budget movie!) Also, when we went out to do the shot we thought it was going to work like we planned it. Only when it didn’t did we have to quickly improvise.

I was watching one SS Wilson’s “Lost Tapes” of Tremors, and it showed how how you guys made that little “tremor” scene with the pebbles moving down the dirt bank before you cut to Rhonda, with it being done originally with little pops of a sort, before changing it to a wire. I’ve had to wonder, did any of you think about instead using a little stage, creating a desert themed layout with sand, mounting it onto a sort of vibration generator and attempt to get the same desired effect? was last modified: by

We continue to be amazed at what fans think about. It’s actually a good question. We certainly hope it did not involve a “splat!”  That would have been rather disrespectful to old Edgar’s remains.  We imagine that Val and Earl, being clever handymen, figured out a way to gently rope Edgar down.

When Edgar was up on the electric tower, how did Val get him down and did it involve a splat? was last modified: by

There is not one specific town.  SS Wilson and Brent Maddock had done a lot of camping in the southwest deserts and had visited a number of ghost towns and small towns like Glamis, Randsburg, Rhyolite and others.  Perfection is a composite of places like that and of the people we met when hanging out in such places.

Is there any town that inspired the idea for perfection Nevada? was last modified: by

There are lots of things we would like to have done — but we were a low budget movie! I think we did discuss the possibility of seeing Burt’s cannon, but decided against it either for reasons of budget or other plot ideas we liked better.

Why did you not get a cannon at the end to tie in with Burt’s line: “My cannon”? was last modified: by

Not exactly a question, but we very much appreciate the vote of confidence! Thanks!

I met Ron Underwood at the 30th anniversary, I bought a 1964 Jeep Gladiator that is very very similar to the original vehicle (T1). I’ve decided that I want my purchase to be a part of the franchise, but only if original directors are involved. was last modified: by

Great question.  Sadly,  we’ve long ago lost touch with the sound designers and don’t know what they based the graboid sounds on.

What sounds were used for the Graboids? was last modified: by

It’s possibly a valid point, but I will defend our famous population sign thusly: Edgar and Old Fred lived far enough from town that they were not included.  That said, yes, we did joke on set about Melvin’s parents being off gambling all the time.

The population for Perfection in the first movie should not be 14, but 15 or 16. Melvin’s parents were not included. Was the joke on set that they were in Las Vegas all the time? was last modified: by

I think we’ve answered this one before, but I know how much people would love to find one of those old military version Jeep Gladiators.  They date from the early 1960s. The two we rented for the first movie were sent back to where ever we rented them from.  The ones we used in Tremors 2 and Tremors 3 were also rentals and were returned.  We have met a few fans who have found and bought them (search the FAQs for one lucky fan’s comment), but the old trucks are just becoming more rare!

Hello there! I’m looking for information on the whereabouts or existence of the jeep truck used in the original movie. I would very much like to purchase it if possible. Any info would be appreciated thank you was last modified: by

We can’t say — exactly.  SS Wilson’s memory, increasingly subject to question, is that we felt Perfection was in central Nevada, like somewhere  East of Reno.

Where in Nevada would you say Perfection is exactly? was last modified: by

We’re probably answering this question too late (we’ve been busy!).  Hope the convention went okay.   The Graboid tentacles were made in a number of ways.  Most were sculpted in clay and then cast in various kinds of rubber, then elaborately painted.  Some had extremely complex mechanical skeletons.  Some were simple hand-puppets.  The reference to panty hose probably refers to the graboid intestines, seen in the movie after the monsters are blown up.  Some “guts” were panty hose filled with things like canned pureed pumpkin, or other things the creature effects people dreamed up.  The Tremors Blu-ray DVD has some very nice behind-the-scenes extras showing most of this.

How were the “snake” parts of the graboids made? I think I read somewhere a long time back they were pantyhose with “stuff” stuffed in them? (OK, I’m planning to go to a convention cosplaying as Val and a graboid would help sell it…) was last modified: by

We don’t actually agree that he’s greedy.  He’s just a smart small town businessman.  He sees opportunity and goes for it.  His opinion would be that if Val and Earl don’t recognize the value of their monster tentacle, he might as well be the one to capitalize on it.

Why is Walter so greedy? was last modified: by

We think this question refers both to Tremors and the opening of the TV series. There are a couple of ways to answer it. 1) With a movie reality joke: the graboid didn’t catch Val and Earl because they are the STARS!  Or 2) with S. S. Wilson’s penchant for analysis:  El Blanco is unique in the graboid pantheon, and is probably much faster than regular graboids. Furthermore a graboid’s speed of movement is very dependent on the soil it happens to be in.  The unlucky hiker was probably on very loose easy-to-push-through dirt that gave El Blanco the edge in that case.

How did the graboid not catch Val and Earl when El Blanco easily caught hiker who was running faster than them? was last modified: by

It’s both a movie review AND a question!  But hey, the internet has unlimited space.  As to the question part, all of us creators of the first Tremors grew up when westerns were very much in vogue.  So at least subconsciously they had influence.  But we’d also spent lots of time wandering around the small towns and ghost towns and abandoned mines of the southwest. It was the people and the look of those modern day Western places that had the most impact on writing and later shooting the film.

Obviously, the Tremors franchise has many fans. However, I’ve personally talked with many fans that do not particularly like the fourth film, and it’s common to see it listed as the “worst” in articles that cover the whole series (sometimes even behind the fifth and sixth movies, which is just nonsense). I quite like it, if not necessarily as much as the first three or the series. My thinking is that this perception has more to do with a bias against westerns, as they’re no longer in vogue, as opposed to anything that’s actually deficient about the film on a qualitative level. Here’s the question: what western influence, if any, was there on the first Tremors movie? To my eyes, there are several elements that are similar between it and many classic westerns, but I want to hear what the people behind the film have to say. Thanks! was last modified: by

I continue to be amazed at what fans think of — and/or what I don’t think of.  It never occurred to us that it might have been the same graboid that got Walter.  It’s possible.  All we know for sure is it’s not the one Val nicknames “Stumpy.” So, yeah, let’s say it was the one that got Walter!  Payback!

Was the graboid that Burt and Heather shot to pieces the same one that got Walter? was last modified: by

S. S. Wilson is prejudiced because he wrote that line.  But I don’t think you’d get 100% agreement from the Stampede crew.  Some like the pole vaulting scene.  Others have other favorites.  All would agree that it is ONE of the best scenes.

Do any of you guys also agree that “Wrong Goddamn Rec Room” was the BEST scene of the ENTIRE franchise? was last modified: by

Here’s the story.  It was totally planned by the stunt crew.  S. S. Wilson was not there the day it was shot, so he only saw it when it was shown the next night during  dailies.  Even HE thought it was an accident and had to be reassured by director Ron Underwood that it was planned and our Val stuntman wasn’t hurt.

When Kevin Bacon jumps off the roof (going for the bulldozer) the awning collapses under him. Was this planned, or is it an unfortunate accident that ended up fitting in nicely with the shot? was last modified: by

We think it’s a tie between the one in Burt and Heather’s basement, and the one Val drives over the cliff at the end.  Being mercilessly shot to pieces or falling a huge distance seem about equal.

I asked you which victim in Tremors got it the worst. Now I’m asking you guys: which one of the graboids got it the worst? was last modified: by

They are totally props, hollow forms covered with chicken wire, sprayed on the outside with a material similar to stucco, and then painted.  We simply could not find rocks of the right shape and size that also had that great view of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Most of the pole vaulting rocks are fake, too, even though there were hundreds of rocks all around, because they had to be exactly the perfect distance apart for the stunt people to make their jumps.

Are the boulders in the bomb-throwing scene towards the end props? Or are they real boulders? was last modified: by

It’s an understandable request. We love Tremors, too! Unfortunately all the graboid parts and tentacles were custom made at Amalgamated Dynamics shop.  There’s nothing left over.  Universal has never supporting doing any action figures or any other kind of merchandise.  So fans are on their own.  We’ve seen some pretty impressive home made graboid creations over the years, so hopefully you can go that route.

Can I get a graboid puppet like in T1 and how much would it cost? I’m asking for research purposes. I love tremors so much. was last modified: by

Answer: Sept 27, 2020. You are obviously one of our beloved super-fans. We have had to keep quiet about this for months, and it’s been driving us crazy.  But now the official announcement has been made about the release of a super deluxe edition of Tremors from Arrow Films of UK.  They have not only re-mastered the movie from the original negative, they have put together an incredible collection of extras.  We’re not sure it’ll have everything you’re asking for, but it has a lot!

Can there be an anniversary “Directors Cut” of Tremors to include all the language that was cut out? Plus any extras like interviews with cast and crew? THANKS… I have owned/currently own copies of this movie in VHS, DVD, Bluray & digital, so I kinda like this movie. was last modified: by

No. We had great animal wranglers and the company took very good care of them.  The only horse that got nervous was the one that had to lie on the ground and “wear” the rubber tentacles after Val and Earl are thrown off their mounts.  The horse didn’t like those tentacles very much, but its handlers were able to keep it calm enough to get through the scene.

Were any of the horses injured in the filming of “Tremors”? was last modified: by

It’s actually a hand-held CB radio. Walter had a counter-top version in the store (that Val and Earl use when they’re on the roof).  Even though cell phones have largely replaced them, Citizen Band radios are still used for short range communication in some situations.

What was the walkie-talkie Burt was using in the first Tremors movie? was last modified: by

Well, in our defense, we’ll say that our intention was that Val and Earl were repairing the fence, not building it.  They were just adding a strand to replace one that had broken.  The points you make are valid, of course. I don’t think we consulted fence professionals about the specifics.

In the beginning were Val & Earl building that fence all wrong to show us they weren’t the brightest, or did the actors and director actually not know? Posts weren’t dug, or tamped. Wire nailed on top of the post as opposed to a few inches down the face. Wire wasn’t pulled taught with a stretcher, etc. was last modified: by

In our minds Burt’s cannon is totally real.  We imagine it’s a replica of a smallish Civil War era muzzle loader.  It’s probably on display in his living room, which we also never see, but is also totally real.

Is Burt’s canon a non-canon since we never see it? was last modified: by

Nice to see that Universal allowed someone to release the sound track.  As to your question, at the time we felt Robert’s additional music was  overblown, too bombastic and “traditional.”  However, we respected Gale Ann Hurd’s decision that we needed a different “take” on the big action cues, as Ernest’s versions were too subtle.

Are you familiar with the recent Limited Edition release (3,000 units) of the full Tremors soundtrack by La-La Land Records on Dec 2, 2020? Also, can you talk about your opinion on the original music by Ernest Troost compared to the additional replacement music by Robert Folk? was last modified: by

We are long out of touch with the people who provided the vehicles for Tremors, so can’t be much help.  I will add that the trucks (there were two used on the movie) were custom painted by the transpo dept and they quite possibly didn’t use a standard auto paint since it only had to last for the length of our shoot ( a couple of months).  If other Tremors Gladiator fans (and there seem to be many) have info to the contrary, please let us know and we’ll update this FAQ.

BTW, until getting this question we never knew there were two Gladiator models:  the Thriftside we had and the (not as cool) Smoothside.

What is the exact name of the color of Val & Earl’s 1963 Jeep Gladiator Thriftside Pick-Up? Obviously, it can be described as “light blue”, but I was hoping you could provide additional details. was last modified: by

Yes. It never made it into the deleted scenes, but there was a shot where Brent Maddock and S. S. Wilson drove into Perfection in a police car.  Also in that scene, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff played the third set of phone line workers (the first two teams having been killed by graboids).  But during editing, Ron Underwood felt the end of the movie was just taking too long, so we all got cut out! A few stills of us in costume are all that’s left.

In the bonus features for the new Arrow release of Tremors, there is a photo of Brent Maddock dressed as a State Trooper. But I did not see a deleted scene showing what this could be from. Was something filmed where the writers played police officers? was last modified: by

Sadly no.  S. S. Wilson’s Dad shot most of the VHS on Tremors 1. He wasn’t available to hang out as much when we got around to making Tremors 2. And, since Wilson was directing, he had no chance to shoot anything either.

I’ve really been enjoying the Tremors: Lost Tapes Episode(s) online. Do you have VHS tapes showing behind the scenes of TREMORS 2 to show us someday? was last modified: by

No, it was created by the prop department to match how we described Perfection Valley in the movie.  So it’s unlikely they used any other real locations or names on it.

Was the map that Val tears off the wall at Walter’s store based on a real location; if so where was it? was last modified: by

Ron Underwood confirms that all the test screenings were done without any titles.

During the test screenings of the original film, do you remember if the opening title was shown as Tremors, Dead Silence, or Beneath Perfection? If the title was shown as Dead Silence or Beneath Perfection, are there any surviving photos of that title listed? was last modified: by

Most of us at Stampede have been back to Lone Pine twice, once for an anniversary of the movie in 2002, and again for the 30th anniversary in 2020.  As for the arches, we or our location manager may have been aware of them at the time, but  many decisions went into picking our locations. Each one had to be easy to drive to (with all our many vehicles), had to be as close as possible to other locations, etc.  And since the script didn’t actually call for an arch, nobody would have been actively looking for one.

I love Tremors and its my favorite monster movie especially because it was filmed near where I lived. When are you going to come back and visit Lone Pine? With all the natural arches in the Alabama hills why didn’t you show at least one of them in Tremors 1? was last modified: by

Ron Underwood and S. S. Wilson were both very surprised to see these — and liked them a lot!  No, we had never seen them.  As far as we remember, when we were called to a marketing meeting at Universal, we were only shown the Jaws-rip-off poster that became the one the studio used; as well as a few in-joke posters that were done just for fun, but also not used.

Famed movie poster artist Drew Struzan recently posted [early 2021] posters he did for Tremors (that were not used). Have you seen them? Can you provide any details? was last modified: by

She would have been deeply affected, certainly, but we don’t think to the point of it being debilitating or preventing her from continuing her scientific work, as she mentions she’ll be doing at the end of the movie.

Do you guys think Rhonda had severe PTSD from seeing Walter get eaten? was last modified: by

We can’t offer legal advice, so don’t quote us, but we think if it’s your own creation and you don’t try to market it or sell it, you’d be on pretty safe ground.

Can I make a t-shirt with a quote from the movie and a graphic of my own design (based on a Graboid), or would that get me in copyright trouble? Not for sale; just for my own, personal use. was last modified: by

It’s one of many twists on movie cliches we enjoyed doing.  Most people seeing the movie the first time are POSITIVE Melvin will get eaten.

I can’t believe Melvin gets the honor of being the 1st person to be grabbed by a graboid and survive. was last modified: by

It’s an evolution. And it came from our surprise at learning how family-friendly Tremors proved to be, even with the violence, swearing, and smoking.  We were like, “Parents are showing Tremors to their kids??”  When we got the opportunities to make 2, 3, and 4 we felt a responsibility to go in a slightly lighter direction, hopefully not too far.

Why was the original film a lot darker than the others? was last modified: by

We actually got into this question in T-1.  I wanted to show that, as you suggest, the graboid in Burt and Heather’s basement was partially helpless, not completely. We had shots of its spikes slipping on the linoleum floor but the director and editor decided not to use them. Love the idea of a graboid pulling itself forward with its tentacles.  Wish we’d thought of it!  BTW, the rig we built to shoot the spike shots will be featured in an upcoming Tremors: The Lost Tapes episode on S.S.Wilson’s youtube channel. [This answer is being posted August 2021]

If some graboid ends up on a solid surface like a concrete floor would it be able to move itself forward like a caterpillar? Or maybe its tentacles have enough strength to drag the graboid forward if they grab onto some anchor? Or this poor worm will be completely helpless out of its lovely dirt? was last modified: by

You’re right that sort of character was not on our radar back then.  We thought we were cutting edge enough making Rhonda smart and tough and having Victor be the most successful guy in town.  Certainly these days we’d be open to any sort of character!

I know it was the 90s/early 00s, but did you ever consider having any kind of queer characters in the franchise, or would you do such a thing now? was last modified: by

Our hope was that it was clear that after she saw her husband pulled into the dirt she knew it wouldn’t be safe to get out of the car onto the ground.  She assumes she has to be safer in the car (and can’t imagine a creature that is able to “sink” it).

Why didn’t Megan get out and run in the trailer while the graboid was sinking her car? was last modified: by

No. The humans were always playing catch-up.  It didn’t occur to anyone the monsters were strong enough to come through the floor until it actually happened.

Did no one think to get on the rooftops as soon as the graboids 1st arrived in Perfection? was last modified: by

She wasn’t a fantasy.  She was a former girlfriend.  Earl gets her name wrong, calling her “Bobbi Lynn Dexter.”  Val corrects him, “Tammy Lynn Baxter!”  An bit of trivia, the photos are actually of our 2nd unit script supervisor in an outrageous blonde wig.

What was the name of Val’s fantasy girlfriend (the one he had pictures of in his visor)? And what did Earl call her? was last modified: by

We wrote Rhonda to be a strong independent woman but did not specify her sports history.  That said, we agree there is a very athletic quality to her run.  That came totally from Finn Carter and her commitment to the character.

Was Rhonda a track star or something. She runs fast! was last modified: by

Lacking Rhonda’s can-do creativity, she’d have needed a lot more help from Val and Earl if she were to make it.

Do you guys think Tammy Lynn Baxter would have survived the 1st film? was last modified: by

Low budget movie!  No need to see it, so don’t build it!

How come we don’t see inside Val and Earl’s house? was last modified: by

There was more information planned for both Edgar and Old Fred.  We thought of them as old-timers who had lived in Perfection Valley longer than anyone else.  And we shot scenes with them where we learned that Edgar takes good care of his donkey, Fred brings her carrots,  and the two guys like to get together to play cards; but those scenes were cut from the final movie.

Was there any more information about the character of Edgar, since we don’t see much of him in the film? Did you think of a backstory for a character that would only be dead on screen or not even bother really? was last modified: by

The gummy worm version:  they would tear off.   It’d be like what happens in Tremors 1, when Val and Earl’s truck tears off one tentacle.

If you tied all a graboid’s tentacles to the back of a monster truck and took off, would it pull the graboid or would the tentacles just tear off like pulling a gummy worm apart? was last modified: by

In that draft, the owner of the store was a Vietnamese immigrant. When we got the opportunity to cast well-known actor, Victor Wong, we went for it.  Since Victor was Chinese American, he asked if we’d change the character name to Chinese, which were were happy to do.

Neither Brent Maddock nor S. S. Wilson remember writing the character of Viola, but other fans have asked about here.  We’ve been unable to find those early drafts of the script.  We must’ve dumped them many years ago.  Mostly likely she was cut in order to help hit our low budget.  Even the character of Mindy was cut for a while, but the studio relented and let us put her back in.

I found a script for the first movie online that had a few differences from the movie. Walter was called Pham Vam and there was a character called Viola, an old lady who lived in Perfection. Why were these changes made? was last modified: by

Despite that fun image, we’re fairly sure Burt and Heather came to Perfection as adults, and chose it very deliberately, after much study, driven by their increasingly survivalist tendencies.  Remember how Burt touts “geographic isolation” as one reason they settled there.

Did Burt grow up in Perfection? I love the picture I have in my head that he Miguel and Walter were friends when they were kids. was last modified: by

OMG, Nancy haters?  Well, not damsel in distress, certainly.  But from the beginning we felt it would be fun (and hopefully not annoying) to have a character who is the polar opposite of Burt and who would also seek out the isolated lifestyle of Perfection.  Given our ages, we thought of her as an ex-hippie.  That said, yes, the nature of Tremors is that Burt is more often right about the extreme situations they get into, but Nancy has to be given credit for standing up for her beliefs!

A Nancy question. This was a very long one that listed many, many things the character of Nancy has done that were deemed annoying, especially her doubting or chastising Burt. It concluded: “What was her purpose? A damsel in distress? A rival to challenge Burt in opposing view (which she was mostly wrong in)?” was last modified: by

The Perfection store owner was originally Vietnamese.  We chose that because, way back when we wrote the original, there were a lot of Vietnamese immigrants coming to the US. But when we got the chance to cast Victor Wong, we jumped at it, and he asked if the character could be changed to Chinese, which we were happy to do.  Amusingly, we don’t remember the character of Viola, but the question has come up enough that apparently there are early versions of the script  in which she appears.   We had to cut many things from the original script in order to get our budget approved (and even cut the character of Mindy for a short time), so that’s when Viola would have been taken out.

I found a script for the first movie online that had a few differences from the movie. Walter was called Pham Vam and a there was a cut character called Viola, an old lady who lived in Perfection. Why were these changes made? was last modified: by

We don’t own the rights to Tremors and have no say over what Universal studios does with the franchise.  In the past they seemed to have no interest in promoting it or creating merch or anything.  Lately, it does seem like there is more interest at the studio, especially with the success of the fantastic 30th anniversary DVD by Arrow.  So while we would have said, “probably not,” we will say now there could be hope.

Update Dec 2023. It appears to have finally happened. Apple Music has a sound track featuring both Ernest Troost’s and Robert Folk’s music.

Is there a possibility that we’ll ever get an original sound-track release, even if it’s just a single? was last modified: by

We’re afraid we’ve long ago published or posted the known existing supply of graboid photos.  That said, if you’ve not already gone ahead, you might peruse the behind the scenes Tremors videos from Amalgamated Dynamics or S. S.Wilson’s Tremors: the Lost Tapes video series, as those might have glimpses of graboids that are new/different.

Hi guys! I’m looking for a little favour! Tremors is my all time favourite movie, it was my childhood fave and I still regularly watch it to this day! I want to get a Tremors tattoo, looking to get a realistic looking graboid tattoo! My problem is that I cant find a photo of a graboid that I really want, I want a sot from the front with its mouth wide open and tentacles out! I’m just wondering if any you guys have any old secret photos maybe from set that haven’t been posted online? I’d greatly appreciate the help! Really want it to be perfect! Or perfection 😀 was last modified: by

No.  We always do opposite if we can figure out what it would be.

Burt and Heather were the opposite of the cliche of the overly prepared dying at the hands of the monster, to establish the threat. But was there ever a point in production you actually considered going the cliched route? was last modified: by

We just thought it seemed like Burt’s sense of humor to refer to a machine gun on his custom plate.

Is there a significance to Burt’s license plate : UZI 4U? was last modified: by

Sadly that’s one of those details that we don’t remember, if we knew it.  It would have been bought by the costuming department, probably one of many different types that then would have been presented to director Ron Underwood and actor Michael Gross to choose among. These decisions get made in a rush, and possibly only the costumers knew the actual make/brand.

But like with the question about Larry’s car in the Tremors TV series, if any fans know the answer, send it to the FAQ page and we’ll add it here!

What was Burt’s tactical vest and where can I get one that’s authentic to it? was last modified: by

With details like her folding lawn chair, we always felt she was camping out (maybe sleeping in the bed of her truck?), since she was only planning to be there a few days. Guess we should have added a small tent to her gear. Would have been more clear!

Where was Rhonda staying while she was out in Perfection? Or did she commute? Love these movies so much! was last modified: by

Great question, and one that actors would love answered. Some writers and directors come up with that kind of background to help actors. And some actors create it on their own if not given it because they feel it helps guide their performance. In our case, I confess we didn’t give a whole lot of thought to Val and Earl pre-Perfection. They just evolved rather quickly as we went through the early drafts of the script.

Where did Val & Earl’s friendship come from? How did they meet? They obviously started a small business together & had good chemistry. was last modified: by

We checked with Ron Underwood on this, but he does not remember picking the watch, so we can’t say for sure. It is very unlikely that it was custom made (given our low budget), so it is probably a real watch from the time, found by one of our costumers and offered to Finn/Ron when they were finalizing her look for the movie. If any fans recognize it, please chime in!

What was the name of calculator watch that Finn (Rhonda) wore in Tremors? Was it just a prop or a real type calculator watch? was last modified: by

We actually struggled to come with with a cool name for the creatures. We threw different names around (grabbers, chompers, crunchers), and we don’t remember who first said “graboids.” We didn’t love it, and kept trying, but never came up with anything we liked better by the time we had to start to start shooting.

So we know in-universe where the name of Graboid comes from, but where did the name come from out of universe? was last modified: by

Yes. When Val is racing to get the bulldozer, we wrote that Melvin’s little shed gets knocked apart. Only the metal roof is left and he ends clinging to it as it is slid around like a surfboard by a graboid underneath. Val arrives and saves him.

During the earliest scripted drafts of BENEATH PERFECTION, were there any other sequences that you wrote which you would have liked to have seen filmed, but had to be cut during the scripting phase so the film could come in on its $10-11 million budget? was last modified: by

Well, we’ve gotten lots of positive comments from other industry folk over the years. Can’t say any were out of the ordinary. One fun event was Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino hosting a screening of the film in LA. And of course it’s been gratifying to have studio execs sometimes talk about wanting “the Tremors tone,” meaning the mix of comedy and horror that was pretty fresh when we did it back then.

Have other writers and directors in the filmmaking industry expressed or articulated their love of TREMORS to you in interesting or unexpected way? was last modified: by

Ron Underwood thinks “Yes, and No.” We have not saved a TV version of the movie, so can’t double check. But he’s pretty sure they did use an alternate (non flip-off) take of Melvin for TV. On the other question, we did not shoot footage of the townsfolk jumping into the semi trailer, so TV version could not have had that.

Does the TV edited version of TREMORS contain any new footage or alternate takes not in the theatrical version? When Earl asks, “Hey, Melvin! You wanna make a buck?” Melvin has a sarcastic laugh in the TV version instead of flipping Earl off and yelling, “Eat it!” I also thought the TV version included a montage of the townsfolk jumping into the back of the semi trailer in town, before they drive the Caterpillar to Burt & Heather’s. Am I misremembering these details? was last modified: by

Well, 1) we’re not fans of blood and gore. 2) we’re family oriented and like to think we make family-oriented films.

What made you guys decide to make Tremors a PG-13 rated monster movie with little gore instead of an R rated one with lots of blood and gore? was last modified: by

Earl is a less hot-headed than Val. He’s mad, but we think he still would have said something like he says later: “They’d have torn your place out from under you in half an hour.” Maybe adding, “Burt, you really don’t understand what we’re up against here.”

When everyone is stranded on the rocks at the end, what do you think Earl would have said to Burt if Val had not butted in? was last modified: by

Egad! No! I suppose we can postulate that it was Stumpy who got the road workers and line workers, but we really didn’t track the other three in that sort of detail!

Do you know which graboids killed which characters in the first film? was last modified: by

No, the tentacles are just part of the graboids, like tongues, or maybe octopus arms. From a script writing standpoint, we invented them so we could have the surprise that the graboids are actually much larger than everyone thought. Also, the tentacles saved us money during production, as they were easier to work with than the full sized puppets.

Were the snake things ever intended to be the actual creatures? If so how different would the film have been? was last modified: by

Well — that actually hasn’t come up before. But perhaps it’s because of the number of people who get attacked as the movie gets going. Road workers, Old Fred, doctor and his wife. But it was just four — moving fast and — always hungry.

Why did it feel like there were more like 8 graboids instead of 4? was last modified: by

We assume you are looking for the shooting location, not where the house was in movie story terms. You may have some trouble, as that’s the one location that was nowhere near Lone Pine. The set for the house and the car sinking scene was just north of Los Angeles, along Route 14, somewhere just off Soledad Canyon Rd. No longer remember specifics.

If any diligent fans have better info, please let us know!

Do you know where Doc Jim Wallace was building his home? I know Burt and Heather’s was the most remote location, some 15 miles from Lone Pine. I am trying to locate real locations on Google Earth. was last modified: by

What can we say? Finn Carter is the kind of actress you hope for, always in the moment, always reacting in character to everything going on in the scene.

Love when Rohnda cringes at Walter when he comes up with the name “graboids.” Pretty cute. was last modified: by

If he did, given his success as he moved on in life, it doesn’t seem to have held him back.

Did Melvin get PTSD from seeing Nestor get eaten? was last modified: by

Hammering and shooting a rifle are two entirely different skills. Val excels at the latter.

How was Val able to bullseye that graboids tentacle when he had trouble hitting a nail at the beginning of the movie? was last modified: by

No. They are just part of a graboid’s mouth.

Were the snake things ever intended to be the actual creatures? was last modified: by

She is 9. Here’s the line introducing her, from the shooting script: “While they talk, Nancy’s daughter, MINDY (9), comes bouncing
along on her pogo-stick…”

How old was Mindy in Tremors 1? was last modified: by

It’s a question scientists like Rhonda would love to answer more fully, but graboids are pretty hard to test in the field! That said, evidence indicates they can sense something as small as a rabbit if it is moving on the surface nearby. Even so, walking slowly does help because you are both making less noise and spacing out the time between steps, thus hopefully preventing the graboid from investigating.

How sensitive is a graboid’s hearing? Like what is the range of hearing they have, and would they be able to sense a person walking really slow? was last modified: by

No, it was not a set up or a reference to a cut scene. We were just having Val express his feelings and frustration about what would really help them in that moment. And of course the reference to tank is what triggers Earl to think of the dozer.

Was there supposed to be a fight between Burt and the graboids with him in a tank because of the line where Val said “A helicopter is what we need or a god damn tank”? was last modified: by

No, we didn’t happen to see this episode of that old show, but we did check it out. We agree the boy’s creepy creation certainly looks similar to a graboid tentacle. And it is attracted by sound! Funny coincidence!

Were the graboids inspired by that robot that little boy made in Tales from the Darkside “Hush”? The woman that babysits him kinda even looks like Rhonda. was last modified: by

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