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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.
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?
March 2019 update. A fan has responded with the detailed analysis below! Thanks!
Regarding the “writing” in the dirt behind Earl in Tremors 2, I just now watched that scene several times on blu-ray and the only “patterns” I can see behind Earl in the pen are the sparse, naturally random growth patterns of the grass and some of the fence’s shadows in the dirt, along with the inevitable patterns of Earl and the ostriches’ movements within the pen.
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!
Here is my attempt to translate. If fans speaking better Spanish are out there, please feel free to correct me.
Pedro first asks “Are you the American monster hunters?”
As Grady looks in his Spanish-English phrase book, Pedro rushes on, saying something like, “They are under the ground and they are eating everybody!”
Then, as Pedro is about to leave, he says, in effect, “Good luck and hope the monsters don’t eat you!”
In Tremors 2 Burt says something along the lines of he wants to add some items in the Mexican military truck to his collection. If his truck had not been blown up, how much really would he have been able to take across the American border? If I recall correctly, American customs are pretty strict when it comes to things like this.
This is a valid point. Our feeling is that when Burt refers to taking the high explosive cannon round for his collection, he is caught up in the moment (having just talked the Mexican government into letting him have all this stuff) and isn’t really thinking it through. Burt is a bit radical, but he’s not a law breaker, and none of his gun collection in Tremors 1 was illegal when we shot the original movie.
Not really. They are each driven by the desire to find and eat as much food as possible as fast as possible. So they tend to behave in a way that only appears to be coordinated. However, they will cooperate if it serves their main purpose, as when they climb on each other to reach the Earl, Grady and Kate on top of the oil tanks.
What would have happened if a shrieker, or a few shriekers, had not been in the refinery storage building when it blew up? Would that mean Burt and the gang didn’t catch it/them? And how screwed would Mexico be?
Yes. And — very screwed. However, as we’ve noted elsewhere, shrieker hatches are limited by the amount of food available in a given area, so it would have been bad, but maybe not a total shrieker apocalypse, since the oil field was fairly isolated.
Could shriekers, after coming out of a graboid, eat the graboid cocoon/body to produce more shriekers?
After all these years, fans are still coming up with new ideas. In truth, we did not even think of this possibility when we wrote and shot those scenes — and it’s totally logical! However, we’re always up for adding to Graboid lore, so here’s an explanation. The young shriekers do eat most of the parent Graboid when they awake and burst out, but they need all that initial nourishment to become fully formed and get strong enough to walk on their own, etc. When are they capable of reproducing, they move out into the world in search of more food. The tough Graboid skin and bone they leave behind isn’t nourishing enough to allow them to reproduce.
I’ve been a huge fan of the series since catching Tremors on tv in the early 90’s. I eagerly awaited the release of Tremors 2: Aftershocks in 1996 and thought it was great. Would you consider posting the full original script for Tremors 2 on the website for fans to read (the original draft with Val, Earl, Heather and Burt)?
Sadly, that’s a legal issue. Universal Studios technically owns the script, so we can’t just put it up online without their permission. We were surprised to discover we do still have it lying around, though.
What is with the creature design on the box art for Tremors 2? They look like psuedo graboid creatures. Were these an initial but unused concept?
No, this design is not something ever created or considered by us or the creature effects team. Even on the first movie we did not control what the marketing department did for poster artwork. They agreed not to show a full-sized Graboid (since we argued that was a big surprise in the movie) and so came up with the infamous “Jaws tentacle.” For Tremors 2, when it would have been okay to show a regular Graboid, for some reason they decided to create the extra-jaws-super-toothy Graboids, presumably to make the artwork similar to the original poster.
Did you guys ever figure out how many Graboids there were at the chiapas oil refinery? Was there a reason so many spawned in that location?
No, as much as possible we let Tremors fans do the math for us. It’s exhausting! I will admit, though, that in editing Tremors 2, we inadvertently implied that there were more graboids than we originally intended, because we fell in love with the idea of Burt blowing so many up with his remote control cars. Our editor kept reusing explosions! But since we also love answering graboid biology questions, here’s the totally scientific explanation: The large number is easily explained by the rhythms of nature. When conditions are right, almost any animal species can suddenly become numerous. So, many decades or even a century before the story in Tremors 2, graboids spawned in the area (no people around back then) and a large number of their shriekers survived, producing a large number of ABs that also survived, producing a great many eggs. When those eggs hatched in the time of Tremors 2, the saga of the oilfield began!
How could Burt have been sure he took out all the shriekers, since there were 3 or so left after Earl and Grady killed the first one [at the radio tower] plus the one that ate Julio and the one on top of the car?
If we are correct about which scene you are referring to (when Burt returns after being ambushed by shriekers), it is Grady, not Burt, who says “sounds like you got’em all.” Grady assumes this because Burt estimates he killed “a couple of dozen,” and that number roughly matches the number Kate earlier calculated have probably hatched.
Did Burt take the assault rifle Earl and Grady originally had as their backup weapon before he gave them elephant guns?
We love the things you folks notice! It’s a good question! Actually, Earl points the rifle out the window when they hear Burt’s truck coming, and then leaves it in the office. But it’s not there later when they could have used it against shriekers. The truth is, I think we forgot about it either when we were writing or during production. But we love the suggestion that Burt took it. Perfect! That’s exactly what Burt would do. He’d add it to the arsenal in his truck.
After Grady puts the noise-making chain in Earl’s truck, Pedro walks up to him as if he’s curious about what’s going on. Grady responds by saying “Moonstrose” (as it’s spelled in the DVD subtitles). What does that mean?
It is simply Grady mispronouncing the Spanish word for monster: “monstruo,” which Pedro said to him when he and Earl first arrived. He’s just means that the chain is for attracting the “moonstrose.” Pedro laughs politely at the attempt, even though in our minds he may not really understand Grady’s broken Spanish.
Yikes, these wardrobe questions! Sadly, S.S. Wilson, director of T2, totally let the wardrobe department do what they thought was best. So Burt’s black gloves are probably like for tactical military or police work (or something they found that just looked right). But we can’t track down the specific info now.
I heard Tremors 2 was originally supposed to be a theatrical production with a budget of 17 million but the studio decided in the end to make it a $4 million direct-to-video movie. Is that true?
Yes, except for the budget numbers which were somewhat different. Here is how it happened: the studio said if Kevin Bacon agreed to play Val again in Tremors 2, it would be theatrical. If he did not, it would be lower budget direct-to-video. At the time he thought Tremors was one of his worst movies, and he didn’t want to be in Tremors 2. So the decision was made.
We don’t think so. They are extremely rare after all, and limited to environments with suitable soil for them to move around in. So it’s actually uncommon for humans to come into contact with them. Our feeling is that the noise of ongoing expansion at the remote oil field in Mexico attracted the graboids to the operation.
Hypothetically, If Val (Kevin Bacon) had decided to be in Tremors 2, even if it meant leaving by T-3, as Earl (Fred Ward) did, how different would the movie be if that happened? And what do you think Val’s Reaction to the then-new Shriekers would have been?
We KNOW how Val would have reacted, because the first few drafts of the script had his character in them (we did not know when we started that Kevin Bacon was going to decline the role). The scene in which he and Earl meet the Shriekers was almost identical to the one in the movie, with Grady’s dialog done by Val. That said, many other things were different, because Val and Earl have such a long history as bickering buddies. They complained a lot to each other about whose fault all this new trouble was. Also, there were fun scenes with Burt and Heather, who BOTH came to help, because we didn’t know Reba McIntire wasn’t going to come back either. Ah, missed opportunities.
I was about to write, “Oooh, that one has escaped into the mists of time” when I remembered — I actually OWN the tank! So I dug it out of storage. It looks like the props department deliberately obscured the maker and model info, but I’ve put some pictures on my S. S. Wilson Facebook page. Maybe one of you can identify it. It was running when I stored it all those years ago, though I’m not sure now. A few parts are falling off, as you’ll see.
How much explosive was used to destroy the refinery building at the end? And was the crater seen afterward real or a computer graphic?
First of all, the refinery building that actually blows up is a beautiful, highly detailed miniature that was about six or eight feet long in reality. Built by Joshua Culp, it was set up in a field near our location. We used several “sticks” of very powerful high explosive for the scene, though I don’t remember the exact number. They were embedded in plastic drums full of dust and powder inside the miniature building. The special effects team always has to be very careful not to use anything that would become dangerous shrapnel in a blast. The crater, I’m proud to say, is NOT CGI. It is a genuine old-school film special effect called a matte painting. It was painted by Rocco Gioffre to exactly match footage of the actors that we had already shot. It was then filmed and combined with that footage to create the final image of the characters walking toward it. S. S. Wilson still owns the original painting.
What is the name of the music used at the beginning of Tremors 2 and is it available for purchase anywhere?
We assume this question refers to Mexican-style tune that plays over the opening titles. It is a beautiful original tune by our composer, Jay Furguson. Sadly, no, it is not officially available to buy, as Universal Studios has never released any of our Tremors film scores. (This answer is Oct 2019. If anyone finds any Tremors music legitimatley available, please let us know so we can share!)
Well, the screenwriter answer is, “Because it’s not as dramatic and surprising!” However, we have to admit this particular scene maybe bends the shrieker rules a bit. Shriekers do shriek when they see food. Here’s a half-answer: the shrieker was far away when it first spotted Julio, so we didn’t hear it shriek. Then it ran toward him in total silence! Okay?
Is the documentary Burt is watching in Tremors 2 a real one, or just a clip made up for the movie? (Either way, Burt watching a war documentary is right in character!)
It is made up. Just silent stock film footage from WWII that we bought. And, thank you, we thought it was the prefect way to introduce Burt, too. The narrator you hear on the TV, by the way, is T-2 director S. S. Wilson.
In the night time scene before you get the graboid releasing shriekers, you hear burt supposedly kill three more graboids “on a cluster charge.” But with the main graboid about to release shriekers, I had to wonder: Are those really Graboids he is killing, or are they actually Shriekers and he does not yet know it?
Our opinion is Burt killed graboids. The logic is that not all of the graboids would release shriekers at exactly the same time. Earl and Grady’s graboid could be an early one. Other graboids in the area might change later.
Toward the end, how come they didn’t just take Burt’s truck to escape the shriekers instead of of blowing it up? It was never shown that the shriekers ate the engine.
While it is true that the shriekers did not destroy the engine, the entire building was full of them. Four people never could have made it to the truck, climbed in, started it, and backed out before being swarmed by shriekers and eaten!
What is the the music on the radio that Grady says he knows before the graboid snags the chain, and what is the song as they are being pulled around?
Both songs were written by Jay Ferguson, who created the music for Tremors 2 and Tremors 4. I don’t think he gave the songs titles.
Hello! I have a question about Burt’s mounted Graboid trophy in Tremors 2. What happened to the original prop? Was it sold after production or was it destroyed?
It was not sold or destroyed. At the time we did Tremors 2, the creature FX team, Amalgamated Dynamics, had a mounted graboid on the wall of their shop. I think it may have been that one; in which case it went back to ADI after production. Later, one of the full-sized graboids was donated to the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History, and it’s still there today! (as of this Jan 2020 post).
If you had wanted to see more graboid tentacles in Tremors 2, but were limited by budget, could you maybe have spliced in tentacle shots from Tremors 1 (like when you used shots from Tremors 1 in Tremors 3)?
We did use a few graboid and dirt hump shots from Tremors 1 in Tremors 3. But using tentacle shots would have been a bit trickier. In T1 the tentacles are almost always doing something very specific (feeling a wall, searching a rock, grabbing something). To reuse them we’d have had to shoot scenes with Grady and Earl or Burt that matched what the tentacles were doing. Also, the lighting has to be exactly the same in the shots before and after. Since there weren’t many times tentacles would have been called for in T2, it didn’t seem worth the extra trouble.
Burt goes for the military style, but within that category there’s a pretty wide variety of different individual meals and lots of different manufacturers. I confess I don’t know what kind we actually bought for the movie.
What ever happened with “Grady and Earl’s Monster World”? I know it was referenced in Tremors 3, but nothing else was ever said about it since.
Hey, it gets hard tying up all these loose ends! Seriously, though, we feel that Earl and Grady made a go of it (with the money from the Mexican government), and it probably did pretty well for a time, when Shriekers were in the news. But in the end it was kind of a “niche” destination, like you had a theme park devoted to zebras or platypuses; and Grady and Earl probably moved on to other things. Hard core Graboid and Shrieker fans were disappointed when it finally closed.
Earl and Grady find Pedro’s remains hanging from the back of his truck cab. How did this happen, especially after we see the truck come to a stop? What happened that we didn’t see?
Our intent was this: Pedro was surrounded by shriekers attracted to his warm engine. His first natural impulse, to slam on the brakes, let the monsters start swarming aboard his truck. He climbed out the window into the bed and tried to get as high as he could, up onto the top of the truck’s cab, but by then, so many shriekers had hold of him they ate everything but his arms.
When Earl reverses the truck down the hill, the exterior shot shows that he’s broken the front axle. In T1, Val revs the truck up and dumps the clutch to break free from the tentacle’s grip, to which Earl responds “You can break an axle like that” … Is Earl ripping the axle off the truck in T2 a nod to T1 or just a coincidence?
I WISH I could say it was a deliberate homage. But in all honesty, it was such a long time between shooting Tremors and writing Tremors 2, I doubt that we even remembered the axle reference. We just needed a good way to visually show the truck was disabled.
When Grady is talking to Earl about the arcade machine at the start of the film, Earl says that someone made a lot of money off it but it wasn’t him. Who made the money off the arcade machine?
Hard working guys like Earl are honest but not clued in to how shrewd business people operate. After Tremors, graboids were big news, so lots of people were looking for ways to capitalize on that. Someone came to Earl and offered him a flat fee for selling them the rights to the graboid name. Thinking it was easy money, and not realizing the potential, he signed and got his check. Later, he saw graboid arcade machines popping up all over the country and realized, too late, that they were making a fortune and he was stuck with his flat fee.
Is it possible that a shrieker or even a group of shriekers didn’t attack Burt [in his truck] and were still out in the middle of nowhere in Mexico. It seems illogical that so many shriekers attacked Burt, especially when there were 3+ at the radio tower when Earl and Grady left it?
We would argue that the distances between these events are not as great as you may be imagining. Also, shriekers’ constant signalling to each other with heat causes them to act more or less like a pack of wolves, staying relatively close together. So we feel it’s likely the ones at the radio tower quickly “got word” about the heat of Burt’s truck and joined the attack on him. And gosh, if any of them had remained hidden somewhere, eventually there would eventually have been reports of AssBlasters in Mexico!
In Tremors 2 Burt considers the .50BMG a good round to hunt Graboids. In your ‘lore’ for the series, how many shots would it take to down a Graboid? And would Burt consider moving to a 20mm or 750 Nitro Express rifle instead?
In hunting, it’s all about shot placement. Even today, the science is a little murky on where graboids’ most vital areas are, as they have very strange lungs and circulatory systems. And of course getting a clean shot is hard with a creature that’s usually at least half underground. But we feel certain Burt could down a graboid with one shot from the .50 BMG if he had the right opportunity. That said, he would also happily opt for those larger calibers. “When it comes to graboids,” he’d say, “You can’t have too much gun.”
During the planning of Tremors 2, when Val was still going to be in the movie, were there ever plans to bring Ronda back as well? Either a cameo or battling graboids with the rest of them?
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that, because the movie was to take place in Mexico, we felt it would be too cumbersome to have a threesome on the hunt (plus adding Burt later). We felt we had to return to the pure team of Val and Earl, and flip things around introduce a woman for Earl to meet. So we wrote various versions of an early scene in which we learn Val and Rhonda broke up, and Val came back to live with Earl and help raise ostriches. In retrospect it seems something of a disservice to the wonderful character Finn Carter gave us as Rhonda. In any case, none of it was ever shot, since Kevin Bacon decided not to come back for T2.
After Earl and Grady wreck their truck, is Pedro driving out to collect the live Graboid or to rescue the immobilized truck? Grady says it’s to get the Graboid (“…haul his ass off to Monster World”) but Earl really couldn’t care less whether their live Graboid lives or dies.
It is actually both things. Earl has called Pedro to pick up him and Grady (more than their truck). And Grady is convinced that, once Pedro gets there, they’ll be able to winch the graboid onto Pedro’s flat bed. And Grady is probably right that he could talk Earl into it once Pedro gets there.
S S Wilson actually still owns the tank, but apparently the prop department removed any brand names and marks. Brand name on the controller is Futaba. But here’s a couple of pix that may help you figure it out.
Well, I’m not sure where such a rumor originated, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. We never discussed it!
Tremors 2 was shot in the hills just southwest of Magic Mountain. The refinery set was in a secluded valley in those hills. Also, I remember that we could see Route 126 from the location of the rock that Earl and Grady crash into. Sorry, can’t be much more specific. Long time ago!
In T2 Earl calls Burt to come help him out. What did Earl mean when he asked Burt if he was laying low?
Our feeling was that Earl already knew that Burt and Heather were having some difficulties in their marriage (which he asks about next). So he’s trying to ease into his question by first suggesting he knows Burt hasn’t been seen around Perfection much lately.
What are the glasses Burt uses in T2, the ones with the magnifiers on? Were they a made prop or are they a real thing?
They are a real thing. Small binoculars you wear like a pair of glasses. These days you can find many different kinds on line. I don't remember if our prop people came up with the idea or if it was suggested by Michael Gross. He was very into researching things Burt might use.
Sadly these questions are getting harder to answer. I’ve not stayed in touch with the costumers on T2. It would have been something they discussed with Fred Ward, as I didn’t get into costuming details very much. These decisions are made quickly in the rush of pre-production, with many options discussed. Today, they probably wouldn’t remember themselves what it was.
Is there a reason that Grady has what looks to be a P-38 can opener around his neck (the whole movie!)? He wore it as he was recruiting Earl for the Graboid hunt, so it wasn’t for any cans of food that the Mexican army was offering to him and Earl? Was Grady just a lonely bachelor who ate canned food a lot?
The things you folks notice! Yes, that is a p-38. Sadly I don’t have a good answer. I’ve never paid much attention to what people wear, including myself, so as a director I’m very dependent on the wardrobe people to come up with a character’s look based on the script. I was probably asked about it at the time and obviously okayed it, but don’t remember what the reasoning was (given that, yes, Grady never uses it). Over the years re-watching the movie I’ve never noticed it. All the more ironic because I still have my original GI issue p-38 and used to use it a lot on camping trips.
We assume you mean under the titles at the very beginning before the unlucky oil worker appears. That is a lovely original tune by our composer Jay Ferguson.
When Pedro gets attacked, why did he actually stop in the first place? You don’t see anything run across in front of the truck (the headlights don’t become obscured).
Our logic is that the shriekers attacked his truck from BEHIND. And Pedro, even if he had a graboid sensor in his truck, had no warning he was in danger since shriekers wouldn’t trigger it. His first impulse, feeling something hit the rear of his truck, would be to stop and investigate. Once he did that, it was too late. He barely made out of the cab and onto the truck bed.
In the scene when Burt first arrives in his truck, how come his dog tags change from inside his shirt to outside so many times?
This is called a “continuity error.” It results from the fact that we only had only one, (sometimes two) cameras, so we shot scenes multiple times. First we shot the whole scene with the camera seeing everybody. And we then shot it over and over again, each time with with the camera looking at a different character. Later, the editor took all the different versions and cut short pieces together into one coherent scene. We were shooting on film, so there was no way to go back and check every detail (film had to be taken to a laboratory, developed and printed, so you couldn’t see what you’d shot until at least the next day). Until video and digital you just had to try to remember the details. In this case, none of us noticed that Michael had the dog tags out of his shirt for some takes and inside for others. So the editor had no choice but to live with the slip-up, and just use the short pieces with the best performances. Continuity errors are actually pretty common. These days there are many web sites devoted to finding and cataloging these “mistakes” in every possible movie. So… you caught us!
Being the writer/director of Tremors 2: Aftershocks, do you have any earlier cuts of the movie (like a workprint) saved on VHS which may feature deleted lines or either of the two deleted scenes?
Sadly I did not end up with much. Just too busy directing and editing to think about collecting. Ironically I seem to have have only versions that were later edited for television, so they have even less of the original movie, let alone any outtakes.
No. Like any animal, graboids will do what they must to ensure the best start for their offspring. A graboid about to morph into shriekers will always come to the surface unless for some reason it can’t do so.
Here is another of those genre-crunching question, but we’ll tackle it. Assuming an apocalypse in which the zombies are caused by a virus and noting that, generally, animals are not usually harmed by human diseases, it is probable that graboids would have a field day. Lumbering noisy zombies would be very easy prey. Once shriekers emerged, they’d have hordes of zombies to eat and, with virtually unlimited food, would proliferate astronomically. So a zombie apocalypse would quickly become an shrieker apocalypse, and then an AB apocalypse. Presumably, any remaining humans who had been fighting zombies would have no chance at all.