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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 3
Here’s one that surprised us: some fans wrote that they were disappointed we didn’t announce when and where we were shooting Tremors 3. They would like to have come to watch us shoot. Well, first of all, we didn’t think of it. Maybe in the future we should have a contest or something where the winners get to come to the set. But the main reason is, while we love all you fans, we’re trying to surprise you! We didn’t want people to see what the next phase of the Graboid life cycle was, or see what tricks Burt might have up his sleeve! So we were actually pretty secretive all during the shoot.
Often people ask why a particular cast member has not returned for Tremors 2 or 3. There are several reasons. Sometimes actors don’t want to repeat a character they’ve played before. Sometime schedules don’t work (they’re already doing another movie when we have to be shooting ours).
For example, Kevin Bacon was asked to be in TREMORS II, but he was about to do Apollo 13, and is really enjoying playing a wide variety of different characters. He didn’t feel at the time that he wanted to come back and repeat the Val McKee character.
Sometimes, since we’re the writers, we can’t think fun things for the earlier characters to do and we feel like inventing new ones. That’s part of what happened on Tremors 3. Since many of the townsfolk are back, we felt we needed some new characters to add to the mix.
We did get some complaints from parents about this name. From our perspective, given the R-rated films many kids see all the time, we didn’t think it was so bad. But in hind-site it probably wasn’t the best choice. Our apologies to those the name offended. On the set we just called them Abs (“aay bees”) and we sort of forgot what it stood for over the course of shooting.
Yes, they do. They were completely computer generated except for a few shots. We did our best to get them to look identical but there’s something slightly different about them. The upside is they have a lot more movement than the eight foot tall full scale guys.
Well, yes and no. Sometimes the CG Graboids look thinner, but the Himani fx crew worked very hard to make them match exactly. We all studied many CG test versions before picking the final one. Here’s my theory, the CG Graboids look thinner because we see more of their bodies exposed. We only see the full scale puppets up to their “shoulder” so they sort of look like they are even wider below ground. But now we’ve revealed – they’re not!
You know, that’s a good point. But reptile just sounds better, more lethal. Yeah, we think they’re a very rare form of legless reptile.
We have one fan who says there only 3 Shrieker sacs in the split-open Graboid in T-2. So how come Burt says 6 Shriekers come out of each Graboid in T-3?
Slick Hollywood answer: the second generation Graboids seen in T-3 are a more highly evolved variety that metamorphoses more efficiently than the Tremors 2 Graboids.
Real answer: WE GOOFED!! All four of us who worked on the story forgot the right number and we never checked it! How embarrassing!
A LOT of you have asked about those tantalizing comics. Sorry, as yet they’re not real. We made a deal with Dark Horse to use their logo on the custom-drawn covers. We are told that the covers for the Graboid comics were done by artist Chris Qulliams. At various times we’ve tried to explore doing a real comic book series based on Tremors. So far it’s never gotten past the talking stage.
Sadly, as with T-1 and T-2, it’s still no. There’s not enough interest at Universal Family Home Entertainment to pursue merchandising deals. A few items from the movies have been sold on e-bay (as a charity fund raiser), but that’s it.
So would we at Stampede. It’s another of those things that takes time and money to put together and the T-3 budget was the tightest yet. Sorry. To tell the truth, though, there weren’t too many bloopers. The cast was amazing and Brent, Nancy and the crew worked like maniacs to fit the show into the extremely short schedule. We didn’t have time for bloopers!
I love questions like this. Gang, eleven years ago, when we made Tremors 1, we never thought there’d be a Tremors 2, let alone a Tremors 3. It wasn’t like Star Wars, where Lucas wrote all six episodes before he made the first one. When we got the chance to do the second and third films, we just studied them to try to make the new stories consistent with what we’d done earlier (except for the Graboid/Shrieker conversion factor).
Bixby is the town we’ve never seen that’s somewhere near Perfection. Here you have to re-study your Tremors 1. We explain in that movie that Perfection is in a valley hemmed in by mountains except at one end. The Graboid hatching area is at the other end. So, the Graboids pass through Perfection to get out of the valley. They’d probably like to go to Bixby, but our people always kill’em before they get that far! Tremors 3’s El Blanco stays around because, as Miguel says, he’s got a “thing” for Burt.
We had an idea here that we didn’t work into dialogue. Jodi Chang got rid of abandoned buildings and trailers, and cleaned up the old junk yard in trying to attract tourists. Why doesn’t Melvin still live in Perfection? Obviously, he hates it! That’s what he tells Burt, “I wouldn’t wish this place on anybody!”
Well, yes it is, you sharp-eyed fans. Here again, we wanted to work in lines explaining that Jodi moved the junkyard (and Nestor’s trailer, etc.) further from Perfection to make the town more attractive. With all the other character information we needed to work in, and always facing length problems, we had to drop these ideas from the final script.
Well, it was in a scene in Tremors 3. But that had to be cut to make our budget. He was going to use it to fire a shell into the canyon where the Shriekers are morphing into ABs. We had to change it to just throwing a bomb.
Yeah, we talked about putting that back up. But we had more scenes in the basement than we did in Tremors 2 and the darn thing is so huge, it would have been hard to work around (we had to shoot all the basement scenes in one day). So we decided Burt got tired of it and took it down.
Very good question. We don’t know! Except for the basement, we’ve never written a scene set in any other part of the house. I guess we feel Burt spends a lot of time in his basement, especially since Heather moved out.
Boy, you fans don’t miss much. Yes, again to save money, we lifted a scene of the Graboid bursting out of the ground and another of one moving the dirt around the rocks and used them again. Hey, at least we only stole from ourselves. It’s not like we stole the flying saucer from Forbidden Planet like they did in those old Twilight Zones.
Hey, we even get comments on the behind the scenes material on the DVD! Keeping us honest, a scientifically oriented fan pointed out that the real-life bombardier beetle (on which the ABs are based) does not use its chemical explosion ability for flight, but rather as a defense mechanism to startle would-be attackers. That’s correct. But it’s not as cool.
One fan says the population number on the sign is wrong. It’s says “five” but he counts only four: Burt, Jodi, Jack, and Buford. Not quite right. It actually it works out like this: Jack and Buford are newcomers and weren’t counted in the latest town census. The actual five members at the start of Tremors 3 are: Burt, Jodi, Miguel, Nancy and Mindy. Melvin, of course, moved out years ago.
Nope. Universal decided not to produce one for this installment. It’s almost like they were testing you guys to see if you would find out about a movie with no advertising at all. You did. The movie is outsold all their predictions. Many thanks to you fans, but there’s still no poster. Dang.
The reason we had Miguel get killed was that we wanted the audience to take the Ass Blasters seriously. Otherwise, they could have easily thought of them as funny creatures (which, given their method of propulsion, they are.) Unfortunately, we love Tony Genaro (the actor that played Miguel) and now we’re trying to figure out how we might be able to have him reappear every now and then in the TV series (as another character, of course.)
Fans continue to suggest new firepower for Burt to pack (a few naming exotics even our gun research hasn’t turned up!) One fan noted that Burt has now run out of ammo in two movies and should learn from his mistake. Here’s our justification for his running out in Tremors 3: He had hundreds of extra rounds in his truck, but had to sacrifice it to lead El Blanco away. Then it blew up. So he was left with what he could grab in the moment.
Burt of course has a following from all three films, but Susan Chuang and Shawn Christian won the affection of fans, too, who want to know more about them. Susan is a sometime stand-up comic and has a semi-regular role on Dharma and Greg. Shawn just finished a TV pilot. Let’s hope it gets on the air!
Interesting, many fans have e-mailed this question. But if one stays true to the Tremors rules, it’s hard to see how it would work. Graboids are not strong enough to break through most concrete, so they couldn’t come up through most streets. They’re attracted to sound, but a city has constant noise from thousands of sources, so they might not be able to hunt at all. They might be “blinded” by all the racket. A Graboid might be a temporary threat in a place like New York’s Central park, eating bikers, joggers, and horseback riders. But it would be pretty easy to track it down and kill it in such a confined area. So we think Grabids, if they ever tunnel into the cinema world again, will probably stick to the country side. Now – if some Shriekers got into the sewer system and started eating all the rats. Hmmm.
Yep, our theory is that Jodi had it taken up and graded. It was too expensive to repave. You’ll notice she had a lot of other things in the town cleaned up, too, like the old mining equipment that was across the street.
This isn’t really a question but some Burt fans were horrified that we blew up the house of the infamous gun-wall. Other fans pointed out that if we’re lucky enough for Burt to come back, he’ll rebuild an awesome place that is Graboid, Shrieker, and A-B proof.
Yes, that was part of the fun of making the third film.
ABs, the Graboid life-cycle form into which Shriekers metamorphose, are three to four feet high at the “shoulder” and five to six feet long.
What firearm is Burt holding on the T-3 cover? It is the black one with the silver looking clip/magazine.
Burt’s weapon is a modified Ruger mini-14 Ranch Rifle, reconfigured using a “bull-pup” design stock. Semi-automatic, stainless steel, it is basically a scaled down version of the military’s M-14, but fires the cartridge used in our army’s M-16.
Miguel was Catholic and the rosary beads were part of his religious beliefs. Burt meant only to keep them safe in order to later give them to Miguel’s family members.
Well, we never really thought of it! Actually we already had great concerns about killing Miguel. We were afraid fans might object. But we also felt it was good to remind people that the danger in Tremors is real, that anything might happen. Wouldn’t it be too cruel to kill two of our original characters in the same movie?
Burt asks Mindy to make noise over his walkie-talkie so he can use it to decoy El Blanco. What the heck is the metal-type music she plays over her CD?
[This reply came from T-3 director Brent Maddock:] The song, such as it is, is, I believe, just something Keven Kiner [T-3 composer] had or threw together. There was no way we could afford an actual song by a real metal band. Maybe Kevin has a name for it. I don’t know.
Underneath. We may reveal in the future how they decide where to lay them.
Melvin got into real estate and has been buying and selling land not only in Perfection Valley, but in nearby Bixby. Even though he was sort of a lazy kid (Tremors 1), he got his act together and started working really hard once he hit his 20s.
This is where those history and political science classes really pay off. Eminent Domain is the right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction. (A very hot topic for Burt)
Throughout history governments have used the concept of eminent domain to justify everything from the taking of a single house to huge sections of a country often resorting to a political upheaval or war. In 1903 President Roosevelt used eminent domain as the justification for taking the Panama Canal from Colombia. It was a strategic section of land to the US so Roosevelt went down to Colombia and took it. The Louisiana Purchase, the Spanish American War and the taking of land from the American Indians are all examples of the use of eminent domain by the US government.
We still see eminent domain used today but most often it involves a city or county government buying houses and tearing them down to build a road, airport or other public facility.
Burt has had two military trucks, one in T-2 and one in T-3. We rented the second one from Valuzet movie ranch (they have many military vehicles). We had only one, no multiples, since we were not doing any stunts or driving which might damage it.
Good question. There’s a spare room in Chang’s market. Maybe he stayed there. Or, being Burt, maybe he slept in an Army tent on his property.
Come ON people! Burt is ready for anything, and that includes floods. Okay, less sarcastically, Burt also lives not too far from Lake Mead. He might occasionally feel the need to get out on the water, eh?
Well… yes and no. He refused to sell it, but soon after that you may remember that Dr. Merliss was killed by Shriekers. Jodi then quietly “appropriated” it for the store. Jack later convinced her the right thing to do was send it to the organization for which Dr. Merliss was doing his research. She cut them a good deal.
Their infrared vision would be temporarily blinded, but there’d be no permanent damage. If they stared at the sun for a long time, it might damage their sensors, but what animal is going to do that?
Jack was living in one of the outbuildings of town, not clearly seen in the movie. Buford lived in Bixby, driving up on the days Jack had tours.
What happened to the Graboid that was killed when it hit Burt’s concrete perimeter wall? Was it destroyed when his house blew up?
No, that Graboid was still relatively intact after the explosion. Like others, it was eventually dug up and sent off for scientific study.
Here again, you fans get into details that are sometimes a bit hard to answer. If you’re seeing a difference between El Blanco and normal Graboids, it’s probably because of the different coloring on his white skull. If you’re seeing a difference between the CGI El Blanco and the full scale mechanical El Blanco, it’s possibly due to differences in “real” lighting and “CG” lighting. Or maybe we just didn’t get them matched closely enough.
It didn’t work out. Jack got tired of life in the tiny town while Jodi remained absolutely dedicated to making a success of her uncle’s store. They parted company, amicably, when he sold his tour business to Tyler.
If you mean the trailer that Val pulled behind the bulldozer to get the townsfolk to the mountains, it’s still out in the desert by the rock where the bulldozer fell into the Graboid trap. No one saw any need to drag it all the way back to town.
There is a limit on how often an AB can “blast off” in a short period of time. It has to generate the flammable chemicals in its abdomen, which it then ignites. That said, under the right conditions, a flying AB which is staying airborne like a glider, using updrafts and thermals, is able to fire a second, or even third burst, and thereby gain greater altitude, achieving very long flights.
The programs used to create the Tremors CG creatures are either custom-designed by the special effects CG programmers, or were heavily modified versions of then-existing CG software. To build your own three dimensional monsters or characters, you should research the commercial software that is available today. It changes all the time.
When Burt enters his house for the first time what would his Level One Security do if it “went off?” (It threatens to activate until Burt enters the correct code).
Burt is extreme, but not insane. Level One Security wouldn’t do anything like open fire on trespassers. However, it would send a coded signal to Burt’s cell phone, as well as to Chang’s market, signaling that unauthorized personnel were on site. In addition, tear gas and pepper spray bombs might “accidentally” get set off in the event of attempted forced entry.
Burt disdained its low rate of fire and short range.
In Chang’s market Jodi has a display case with a Graboid tentacle inside. But there are other items in the case. What are they?
If we’re talking about the same case (the one she is cleaning as she talks to Jack), there are Graboid hood ornaments (like on Jack’s jeep), and Graboid beer glasses, mugs, ball caps, t-shirts and buttons.
[We love how this question was worded so we present it in nearly its original form]. When the first [AB] appeared and they killed him he falled into the fence with the head down but when they got to see the [AB later] it had the head in the centre of the metal. is this a mistake in the movie??? say the true!!!!!!!!!!!
Ah, you sharp-eyed fans. Yes, to say the true, it’s a mistake; what we call a “continuity error.” The live action of the actors approaching the full-sized AB on the fence was shot weeks or months away from when the CG AB was animated falling onto the fence. I’m sure director Brent Maddock felt it looked better with the head visible on top of the fence – and we all hoped no one would notice the difference. Dream on, eh?
Is the truck that Jack is playing “rodeo” on in the junkyard in T3 the construction guys’ truck from T1? It surely looks like it!
How do you people make these connections?? No, it isn’t; at least I don’t think it is, but it would have made sense for that truck to end up there, and would have been totally cool if we’d thought of it.
At the end of “Tremors 3” Nancy makes a deal to sell the sole surviving AB to Sigfried and Roy to pay her daughter’s way through college, but in “Blast From the Past” it’s said she sold it to Sigmund and Ray instead. Why the name change?
I believe it was because, while we had the rights to use Sigfried and Roy in Tremors 3, we could not get the same permission for the series. The series was very low budget, so it may have been that we couldn’t afford to pay for them, but I don’t know for sure. I just remember being told by higher-ups, “You can’t use Sigfried and Roy. Make up some other name.”
We feel that they die after laying their one egg.
In the opening, did the camera crew leave or just get in their car when they saw the Shriekers coming?
They got into their van, and were ready to run for it, then realized Burt had it under control.
The potato gun is technically real, but it would be really dangerous to try it the way we had the characters in the movie do it. When ours shoots it’s just an optical special effect, much safer than using an explosive or flammable fuel!
What is that old car that has the hula doll in it? You see it at night as the camera moves in on the jiggling doll. Do you know the car’s name? Model? Make?
Sorry! We don’t know! Some old wreck our set dressers found out in the desert I guess. Can any car-buff fans help us out on this one? The old car appears at about 15:45 into the movie, but the shot is pretty dark.
Well, actually they did eat Miguel. We had some shots showing his demise in more detail, but decided they were too gory and took them out.
Well — these are supposed to be family movies. He was definitely a creepy guy, but we don’t like to think he was really THAT creepy.
Since ABs seem to be the most stable form in the Graboid life cycle, could you domesticate them — teach them not to eat human-shaped objects? Then you could keep them as pets that could help you hunt like a hunting dog.
Well —— sure. Why not? AB hunting dogs. Gotta love how fans think!
Well, we’re not sure. There are many unanswered questions about Graboid biology. For example, why were they seen in the late 1800s, then not again until the 1990s? Were their eggs dormant all that time? Unfortunately, nearly all Graboids have been killed (so far) each time they’ve appeared, so El Blanco is an anomaly. Our best guess is that he/she can live more than fifty years. We’ll have to wait and see.
We need help from the fans on this one. Do two ABs fight in any of our movies?
We’re not sure where this fascination with members of the Graboid life cycle attacking each other is coming from. But of course, in the case of Tremors 3, it is our fault, since we had Jack TRICK El Blanco into eating an AB. That said, we don’t think El Blanco would be changed in any significant way, except maybe for getting indigestion. He wouldn’t end up with mangled AB/Graboid DNA or anything. He would simply digest the AB and move on to his next meal.
We do try to work out the details on every bit of action. Note that Burt takes cover inside an oil drum as he is swallowed. So a little air is trapped with him. He mentions that he has “limited air” on the radio. Also, a person can survive at least three minute without air. From the time he is swallowed til the time he is cut out of the Graboid is 3 minutes and about 14 seconds, actual screen time, although in “movie” time it does feel longer. Finally, Burt plans for everything, and has probably done breath-holding exercises like deep sea free divers, right?
I’ve heard rumors that El Blanco may be a Mixmaster mutant. Is this true? It could explain his albinism and sterility.
We have not heard these rumors, but this is an excellent theory! We can only hope that Rhonda or another Graboid researcher will put it to the test. Perhaps by sampling El Blanco’s DNA?
Hey, our movies are PG13! That’s Jack and Jodi’s secret — if there is a secret.
When El Blanco eats the last A@@Blaster, shouldn’t the chemicals inside it cause it to explode and kill El Blanco?
We LOVE Tremors fans. All these years later you are still coming up with provocative questions. Yes, technically it is possible that, when El Blanco’s jaws crushed the AB, the chemicals would mix and explode. But we would argue that it is equally possible that the chemicals would be mixed first with blood and other fluids (not to be too graphic) and then be too diluted to explode. But you have a point. El Blanco probably got lucky.
We were open to it, but Fred was not. Some actors are not interested in playing the same character over and over.
Will their be super evolution of Ass Blaster as a result of genetic engineering to become a military weapon, thus becoming a new form? It would transform into a new stage gaining arms instead of wings, a longer neck, a bird-like mouth with tongue for gripping, vision as good as a human’s, but still with the heat sensor organ on its head, and with more intelligence and the ability to make moral decisions. It would also have the ability to detect vibration through its talons when touching the ground. But then it all goes wrong as it becomes a native of Perfection Valley, living with El Blanco as a friend.
Okay, wow. This seems like less of a question and more of an idea for a whole new direction for ABs and Tremors franchise. Sadly, we at Stampede aren’t working on Tremors any longer, so — uh, maybe?
Can someone visit or buy property where Tremors 3 was filmed? I ask because it looks like a nice place to semi retire. Thanks.
Like most movies, Tremors 3 was shot in several different locations and we just made it look like they were near by each other. If you are talking about the town site itself, it was near Valencia, California, actually not too far from Interstate 5, north of Los Angeles. We shot on private land, so it could have been bought, sold, or even developed by now. None of us have ever been back out there!
There were many props to fill the shelves of Jodi Chang’s store, since the plot had her selling Graboid memorabilia. We believe Universal auctioned some of it for charity soon after production ended. Other items were sold by individual cast/crew a different times. But, except for stuff that might turn up on eBay, nothing is “officially” for sale any more.
What was up with the fourth wall break in Tremors 3 when the tourist calls the graboid on the billboard a “tremor?” What was the reasoning behind that? It has always sort of bothered me.
We really had to think about this question. We did not intentionally break the fourth wall by having the tourist say something they really wouldn’t say (sort of like winking at the audience or talking right to the camera). We put the line in because we’d learned that many Tremors fans call Graboids “tremors,” as in, “The tremor crashes up through the floor.” Since Tremors 3 is about Graboids becoming a tourist attraction, the line seemed totally logical to us. But THEN we thought, oh wait, in the movie world of Tremors, there isn’t a movie called Tremors, so why would anyone use that term? The question is correct! We did break the fourth wall! But wait, how about this? Before Tremors 3 takes place, there were obviously many articles and TV stories about Graboids, and some of them no doubt had titles like “Mysterious Tremors Rock Small Nevada Town.” Or, maybe Rhonda LeBeck’s first scientific report was called, “Incredible Source of Mysterious Ground Tremors Identified.” So, we feel we can claim we dodged the bullet. Great question, though!
Why didn’t Fred Ward return to play Earl in Tremors 3? Also, Tremors 4 was a masterpiece; almost better then the original!
Question part one: We don’t know the specific reasons Fred didn’t want to return. These conversations are had between agents and managers and not in person. So you don’t get much back other than something like, “Fred doesn’t feel this project is right for him at this time.”
Question part two: Thanks for the praise of Tremors 4! We had great fun making it, and Michael had a blast playing the opposite of Burt.
We think El Blanco is still be living in Perfection and is still occasionally being glimpsed by excited tourists. Sadly, we no longer have any say in what happens with the Tremors franchise, so can’t really answer this question.
In Tremors 3 how does the AB see Nancy and Mindy up on the roof when they are hidden by the box? Were they just up there so long their body heat heated the box?
For this one I had to go back to the script to see what we intended. In the script it says the AB lands on the roof behind them, they look out of their box, see it, and run. But I re-watched the scene and the AB does seem to fly down as though it knows right where they are. So, I checked with director Brent Maddock, and he replied with just one word to the second part of the question (was the box heated over time by their bodies):
In all honesty, we don’t remember why we shot it the way we did, except that it probably seemed more dramatic than, “they look out and see the AB.” My hope is we were thinking it was sort of an accident that the AB hit the box.
When Mindy and Nancy battle the AB in the store, Mindy heats up a ham in the microwave to distract the monster. But the ham could not have been in there for more than 2 seconds before she takes it out, acting as if it’s hot. How is that remotely enough time to heat a ham?`
Well… dang it, this is a valid question. In the script we tried to write it so that you didn’t know what Mindy was doing for a few minutes; then you find out what she’s done. But sometimes you get into the editing room and realize don’t have the footage you need to make the idea work. We loved the idea of Mindy being smart and using the microwave, and didn’t want to cut it. But there was no way to make it work realistically. We couldn’t have the AB just stand there doing nothing for five minutes. And we hadn’t shot any other action to allow for the time really needed. So we had to go with what we had and hope no one would ask this question!!
Now, on big expensive movies you can go back and re-shoot scenes, or shoot new scenes to solve problems. But on our low budget, that was never an option. Most of the time our sets were torn down just days, or even hours, after we left a location. If we didn’t catch mistakes while we were shooting, we had to do the best we could in the editing room.
All excuses aside, I timed it, and the ham is in the microwave for almost FIVE whole seconds! So there!
Burt drives a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Later, he uses his truck to distract El Blanco and it crashes upside-down. But in that scene it is a completely different truck. The crashed truck appears to be the same truck that Miguel was driving in the beginning of the movie. Is this a coincidence or was it just to do with budgeting?
The things you people notice!!! We checked, and we admit the crashed truck is different from Burt’s “real” truck. Certainly its wheels and rims are totally different. That said, none of us can remember why! Yes, probably it was a budget issue, it being perhaps the closest wrecked truck the transportation team could find with limited money and time. We now assume that none of us noticed how different it was, or possibly that transpo asked if it was close enough and we said yes. Director Brent Maddock adds that he does not remember being asked about it at the time, and certainly didn’t realize it when we shot.
I will say, at least, that the wrecked truck is black and clearly is not Miguel’s green Ford 150!
How did the idea of the life cycle evolve? Back in ‘Tremors 2’ (before ‘3’) the pitch was that the shriekers would grow into graboids (the design clues being the translucent beak, the little spikes, and the tongues that look like three ‘fused’ tentacles about to separate). In ‘Tremors 3’ El Blanco can’t produce shriekers and they compare it to a sterile albino goat, and yet it’s the a**blasters laying eggs. So what’s the structure of the life cycle? Is the a**blaster an ‘adult’ stage, or is there no definite adult stage?
Truthfully, the life cycle evolved with Universal offering us more movies. While we implied that a shrieker might grow into a graboid, we left it open, giving ourselves the freedom to come up with a new form if we got the green light for Tremors 3. At that time Universal insisted that Tremors 3 would be the last movie, and that there was absolutely no financial incentive to do more. So we decided to close the life cycle loop and have ABs be the egg layers. So, yes, ABs are technically the “adult” stage, even though graboids seem more “adult.” Ironically, very soon thereafter Universal asked us for Tremors 4 and SyFy asked us for the series. Had we known all THAT was going to happen, maybe we could have invented a 4th form of graboid!
How come Tremors 3 was kind of juvenile compared to the first two? With a PG rating and monsters called “Assblasters?”
Well, we always tried to make the tone of our Tremors movies that delicate balance between scary and sometimes funny. In the case of T3, it definitely tipped a little bit more toward funny. As for the ABs, we did argue about what to call them, but in the end felt the name worked because entrepreneur Jodi Chang comes up with it. Not that everybody agrees with us!
We had to ask around about this one. We think it’s a reference to something that happened in Tremors 5, which we did not work on. If so, we can only say that after Tremors 4, all the creature rules and comedy/horror rules we tried to keep consistent have apparently been thrown out by the current filmmakers. Fans have told us the movies are now farcical comedies.
We assume this question refers to Tremors 3, in which Burt’s watch plays a key role. Sadly, it’s also a question whose answer has slipped away over time. Even director Brent Maddock does not remember the brand of the watch. If any fans recognize it, please let us know!
Was creating El Blanco as protected white/sterile Graboid just an excuse to always have a Graboid around because you guys knew we loved them, or was it really just all part of the work that went into the movie at the time?
It was both, but a bit more the former I guess. We always like to look at what would really happen (even in a fantasy situation) and we felt that clearly people would rise up to protect the super rare graboids. But the fact that graboids turn into shriekers presented a problem; they technically have a pretty short life span as graboids. That’s when we hit upon the idea of El Blanco. And that led to the idea that he could just stay in the valley indefinitely.
When they are in the junkyard looking for a potato gun parts, Burt says to hurry because it’s going to be dark soon. After they battle it out Burt’s watch goes off saying it is just before MIDNIGHT. Surely it didn’t take them HOURS to gather everything and battle the abs right? Is this another continuity error that slipped by?
It’s not a continuity error. We were aware of the issue. There’s often an editorial struggle between real time and movie time. We tried to address it by putting in the dissolve to night (where the light comes on) and having Burt say “What’s taking Jack so long?” Also, the battle with the ABs does go on for quite a while. But as far as “movie time” goes, yes it does not really feel like hours have passed, so you can argue we didn’t get away with it.
What is the mating ritual of a “Keister-Blaster?” You know, Dad has to be a great nest builder and provider or Mom won’t pay him any attention? Pa has to have some BLING!
ABs, like shriekers, are hermaphroditic, so there are no males or females and no mating. They are “born” with the single egg they will eventually lay already in place.
Was creating El Blanco as a Protected White/Sterile Graboid just an excuse to always have a Graboid around because you guys knew we loved them, or was it really just all part of the work that went into the movie at the time?
It was an excuse to have a Graboid around because WE loved them. When we got the green light for Tremors 3, we had many discussions about how to expand on the series but keep fun elements. We were happy when we came up with El Blanco.
Why didn’t you show Buford getting pulled into the graboid instead of the graboid resurfacing [with him in its mouth].
We felt like it was important to try different things with each movie. We had seen Walter Chang get pulled into a Graboid in Tremors 1. And we had seen the oil worker swallowed in Tremors 2. So in Tremors 3 we thought it would be more fun and fresh to have Buford just disappear, then reappear in a graboid’s mouth. So for a few seconds maybe some viewers are thinking, “What happened? Where did that guy go?”
Good question. And actually a two part question. ABs are the most rarely seen form of the graboid life cycle and there’s very little hard evidence on their abilities. Since, after they launch, they glide, their range-per-launch is highly variable. Normally a flight is less than a mile, but with the right conditions they can catch thermals and glide for extreme distances (many miles). With multiple launches, they can theoretically cover hundreds of miles. But they probably don’t. That’s why part two of the question is significant: It is believed graboid eggs require geothermal heat to hatch. That means the options an AB has for laying its egg are VERY limited. What they probably do is circle the area in which they were “born” trying to find the location where their parent graboids hatched.
I was curious, why doesn’t a graboid just become an ass blaster directly? Why is it necessary for the shrieker phase to come first?
We only know what has been documented about the animals. The odd thing about graboids is that their life cycle is more like an insect’s than like other large vertebrate animals. For example, a mosquito goes from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult mosquito. Graboid to shrieker to ass blaster is similar. Why graboids evolved in this way scientists just don’t know. Only Mother Nature has the answer.
In Tremors 3, after Burt turns on his siren, while Jodie is on a call, what are those graboid tentacle props supposed to be?
We assume you mean the ones on the counter in front of Jodie. They are auto hood ornaments, like the one you see on the hood of Desert Jack’s truck.
Once the shriekers have appeared, the characters later say there are eight of them (and therefore, later, eight ABs). How could that be? Only two graboids transformed into shreikers (three each) since El Blanco is sterile. Shouldn’t that be six shriekers/ABs?
Ah, but Burt also points out that shriekers multiply just by eating. If a shrieker gets enough food, it splits into two shriekers. When Jodie asks how ther can be more of them, Burt points out that they are probably eating small animals; so two shriekers ate enough to split, resulting in the total of eight.
You mentioned that one location in Tremors 3 was also used in Tremors 2, but looks different due to the season. Which is it? I have watched them night after night and cannot spot it, please put me out of my misery!
I discussed this with T3 director Brent Maddock. He does not remember any time he was on an actual T2 location. I don’t remember the comment you refer to, but I THINK what I may have meant was that the two movies were shot in the same GENERAL area north of Los Angeles. When we shot T2, there had been a record wet year and everything was very green. When we shot T3, the same area was more typical: dry and brown. I don’t think there are two scenes that were literally shot in the same spot. Sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase.
OMG, never thought about it! So we’ll have to make a semi-educated guess. Given that they sold it privately to Las Vegas entertainers with a major animal act, we think they got top dollar. While their sale was legal, ILLEGAL rare animal sales can be 10,000, 20,000 or more (even for dead animal parts). So, let’s say Nancy and Mindy got maybe 30,000 or 40,000, or maybe more!
Were ass blasters patterned after ducks? I have Muscovy ducks that shake and squeak just like the ABs.
We learn more interesting things from our FAQ questions! And maybe we’ll keep our distance from Muscovy ducks! That said, the ABs were designed to look like they could reasonably “hatch” from shriekers, but be leaner and capable of gliding. That shaking movement came from the inventive animators and HimAnI Productions. We don’t think they were thinking of ducks.
What specific questions! I’m afraid no one now knows, if anyone ever did. Michael Gross probably just made something up. He may even have just tapped something different for each take of that shot at the door, since we knew we’d see it only once in the final movie. What I love about the shot is Michael making sure to hide the keypad, because that’s what Burt would totally do!
S.S. Wilson doubles for Burt Gummer in both Tremors 1 in the shot of the bulldozer approaching the cliff and a deleted scene in Tremors 2: Aftershocks where Burt blasts all of the Shriekers off of his truck. Does S.S. Wilson double as Burt in any shots in Tremors 3: Back To Perfection?
No, the situation didn’t come up. While S. S. Wilson directed 2nd unit on Tremors 3, we never needed a full Burt double for the 2nd unit shots.
No. As a born and bred American she has only distant ties to her ancestral heritage.
Do assblasters really not have tongues, or are they hidden? If not, why don’t they; and how do they taste [food]?
ABs don’t need as much food as shriekers, and don’t live as long. They have to survive only long enough to find a good spot to lay their single graboid egg. So while there could be a vestigial remnant of the long shrieker tongue somewhere down in an ABs throat, they have to rely solely on their infrared vision to find prey.
Why did the graboid resurface with Buford instead of just swallowing him underground? Was it just to tell the Perferctionists “We’re back”?
Yes, of course it is partly for dramatic impact. After all, it’s a movie. But we do have logic; when a graboid gets large prey like a person, it often (not always) surfaces so as to be able to swallow its meal without also gulping an unpleasant amount of dirt.
Burt is holding one of his boots when he emerges from the cut-open graboid, but the idea (perhaps not totally clear) was that it got pulled off in the violence of being swallowed, not that he took it off on purpose. But, Burt being Burt, he wasn’t going to leave a good mil-spec boot behind in there.
Did you guys have it in the script for Jodi to let a graboid swallow her with a chainsaw in her hand just to cut herself out?
Uh… nope. That idea never crossed our minds.
Why, after such amazing special effects and puppeteering in the first two movies, was CGI used in the third?
It was partly a budget question and partly a “reality” question. The full scale graboids take a very long time to set up and work with (with your full crew standing around getting paid). We had less than half the budget and time for Tremors 3 than we had on Tremors 1. So we decided to experiment with some CGI because it could be done after the main shoot and would allow us to, for example, see El Blanco come further out of the ground, or have an AB burst through a door into the middle of the room all in one shot. That said, it was early CG days and we know fans weren’t thrilled with how some of the shots came out.
Not trying to complain about the name but I was just wondering. Within the universe of Tremors, what would be the formal name used for Ass-Blasters? I imagine that science articles, zoology journals, and children’s animal books would prefer to use a different name. Could it be Flying Shriekers? Bombardier Graboids? Thinking back to Tremors 4, Tecopa suggests Native Americans encountered Graboids in the past. Could ABs be the possible basis for the legendary Thunderbirds?
Long question, but certainly valid! Yes, the press and the scientific community would definitely have had to tone down Jodi’s graphic impromptu name. It’s not something we thought about even going into the TV series. Internally we just call them ABs, but it does seem folks would have wanted something more descriptive. Not sure shrieker or graboid in the name works. Thunderbird might be an option, but one would have to check how that would square with Native Americans. At the moment we confess we’re stumped for something better. Maybe more fans can chime in?
You know, we were wondering about that ourselves the other day. I don’t remember for sure, but I think our idea was the barrel does get swallowed. It protects Burt as he’s going down, and gives him a few minutes of air so he can talk on his walkie-talkie. I’m sure we had discussions like, “Okay, if it did get swallowed, why doesn’t Jack have to cut through it with the chain saw?” Obviously, in the end, we kind of skipped over that.
I think so. It is what director Brent Maddock would have wanted.
Why was Mindy so mean to Buford? He seemed like a nice guy, mostly. What guy wouldn’t start to get annoyed when the person he invites out is constantly putting him down? Also, Jack and Buford both work on the graboid tour, so why would Mindy talk so highly of Jack and so negatively towards Buford? They worked together ripping off people.
Well, we confess we didn’t expect to get a pro-Buford question! And, we kind of see the point. Our defense is, since we always intended the Buford character to be unlikable, we viewed him that way during writing and shooting, and perhaps weren’t aware that Mindy might come off as being unnecessarily mean.