In a genre that relishes so much in dark and stormy nights, one horror franchise has shown fans that terrifying monsters can strike in the sun-scorched desert in broad daylight.
These nefarious graboids (as well as their hilariously named offspring) are now celebrating their 30th anniversary since they first emerged from the Earth and into the hearts and minds of countless monster movie fans.
So to commemorate this event (which hasn’t happened since Precambrian times), let’s take a look at 30 fun facts about Tremors!
1. Series creators SS Wilson and Brent Maddock first got the idea while working for the US Navy in the California desert. They were charged with filming instructional videos, and while standing on a large rock, pondered what it would be like if they had to stay on the rock to avoid something coming up from the dirt. And thus the franchise was born!
2. Their original title for the first film was “Land Sharks”, but this was changed to it sharing the name of a certain iconic SNL sketch dating back to the 70’s.
3. Director Ron Underwood had been a friend of Wilson and Maddock’s, whose experience in National Geographic even helped shape the graboids into looking as “realistic” as possible. It was even his first feature film as a director!
4. Screenwriter Brent Maddock had initially envisioned Chuck Norris and Linda Hamilton as Burt and Heather Gummer.
5. But it’s a good thing they went with Michael Gross, as he really stuck around and remains the only actor to appear in every installment of the franchise!
6. The role of Heather Gummer marked Reba McEntire’s first foray into acting, something she would continue to do for decades. Although sadly, she’s never returned to the franchise.
7. When Rhonda has to “get out of her pants”, they intentionally didn’t rehearse the scene, so that it would be all the more genuinely awkward between Finn Carter and Kevin Bacon.
8. To date, Kevin Bacon claims that Tremors was the most fun he ever had on a film set.
9. Scarlett Witch herself, Elizabeth Olsen has stated that it was her favorite movie growing up.
10. Ariana Richards would later fight off another set of large monsters when she starred in Jurassic Park three years later!
11. Originally, Tremors was given an “R” rating for language, but at the last minute the studio changed its mind. They re-dubbed the 20+ “f bombs” with other words like “sucker” and such.
12. Sadly, the “PG-13” rating proved not to be enough to make Tremors a box office hit. However its cult following began with video rentals, and it was even one of the most rented movies of 1990.
13. Following the first film’s popular rental status, Tremors 2 was meant to be a much larger production, with both Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire returning.
However Bacon opted out to do Apollo 13, and Reba was on a music tour, so the studio dropped the budget severely from 17 to 4 million USD. This is why for the rest of the series, Tremors films have always been direct-to-video.
14. Not only was the budget shrunk, but the body count of Tremors 2 is less than a third of its predecessor (10 to 3).
15. According to series co-creator SS Wilson, the Shriekers introduced in Tremors 2 are the deadliest of the creature’s life cycle.
16. At the end of Tremors 2, Grady claims that he wants to make a graboids theme park, and according to Jodi Change’s line in the third film, it seems that he actually made one.
17. Despite being the name of the franchise, the creatures are only ever referred to as “tremors” once in the series (in Tremors 3). Every other time, they’re called “graboids” or “dirt dragons” (exclusively in Tremors 4).
18 . Tremors 3 also introduces the ridiculously named “ass-blasters”, which are the third and final form of the creature’s life cycle. Interestingly this named is coined by Jodi Chang, and it was her uncle who coined the named “graboids” in the first film.
19. We were originally meant to see Shriekers in the third film, but due to budgetary constraints, all the scenes involving them were written out.
20. Franchise star Michael Gross has stated that the third film is his absolute favorite!
21. The massive 2 inch bore gun we saw in Tremors 4 really did exist back in the 1800’s. It was used to shoot at an entire flock of ducks.
22. Tremors 4 boasts a surprisingly diverse cast, with more main characters begin minorities than white. It really makes the town of Perfection seem even more special, because it was founded by people who came from all different places to build a new and better life.
23. Franchise creators SS Wilson and Brent Maddock originally wrote a script for Tremors 5, but due to lack of creative control, they stepped down, thus ending their involvement with the series completely.
24. Tremors 5 was actually filmed in a real wildlife reserve in South Africa, thus many of the wild animals we see are real and not CGI (with the obvious exception of the graboids).
25. The kitchen escape scene in the fifth film is a huge reference to Jurassic Park (almost shot for shot).
26. Burt Gummer incorrectly states in Tremors 6 that he’s fought graboids on two different continents, but the number is actually three: North America (Tremors 1 and 3), South America (Tremors 2), and Africa (Tremors 5).
27. While mostly known for its Western movie memorabilia, the Lone Pine Film History Museum contains an exhibit to Tremors, as the first film was shot there back in 1989.
28. There were two TV spinoffs, one in 2003, which starred Michael Gross and followed Tremors 3. But it only lasted one season
29. The second was a pilot shot in 2017 with Kevin Bacon, but it was never picked up or released. All that exists of it is a trailer they shot (which can be found on YouTube).
30. There will be a 7th installment, called Tremors: Island Fury. Michael Gross confirmed that filming just wrapped in December 2019. It will most likely get released later in 2020.
Which of these fascinated you? Which did you already know? What do you love most about this franchise?! Let us know in the comments below! And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!