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Sunday, October 25, 2015

31 Days of Halloween: Series Shakedown: Tremors


The Tremors series, from giant underground worm creatures(Graboids) to Shriekers to Ass-Blasters we have seen them change and evolve and how each new group of people take on both the old and the new. As of 2015 there have been 5 movies and one short lived TV series, While some people return now and then, only Burt Gummer is in all of the movies and TV show, well him or an ancestor( I will explain later).  So what had kept this going and where has it gone? Let us take a look.

Tremors(1990): The introduction of the Graboid's, as they become known, happens here in a small town called Perfection, Nevada. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward play the two main people and soon to be heroes, Valentine and Earl who do odd jobs and have big plans for the future.

We meet several other people of the town including Burt Gummer and his wife who is played by Reba McEntire who are survivalists and major gun collectors with a underground safety room.  A single mother and her young daughter, a teen who is a jerk and an asshole always playing pranks and the old man who runs the general store.

People are being eaten and others are up on poles and die of no water, what prevented them from coming down? Animals are vanishing and even whole cars as Valentine and Earl meeting a seismologist out in the desert and discovering the Graboids even running from and killing one by accident but the scientist points out there have to be at least 3 or 4 more.  They battle them from that point on...With a ending that ties into the start of the movie.

I really love Tremors, it is b movie giant monster movie but well done and better then you go in expecting. Some of the sequels are not that great but this one let you know the people of the town and even the feeling of dread as the story goes on. This is easily my favorite of the Tremors movies.

Tremors 2: Aftershocks(1996): 

It took several years for a sequel to be looked at but when they do, Burt Gummer and Earl are the returning people.  Valentine ended up marrying the seismologist he meets in the first one. In the years since the first movie, Graboids have become known and popular, stories were printed about them, the story told and even a video game was made but thanks to Earl not having a lawyer he lost out on all the money who could have made.  

But Graboids have made it to Mexico and Earl is asked to help kill them, and for each kill he will get a large sum of money, more if he can capture one and they give him help, they head down there to do what they are hired to do, the government of Mexico agreeing to give then anything they need and he mostly asks for remote controlled cars and explosives which he uses to kill a graboid or two.  But we learn that the Graboids are just stage one in the life cycle of these creatures, out of them is birthed three other creatures that uses heat to track people and is above ground now. They "talk" to each other by shrieking which gives off an awful sound and a ton of heat, so this changes the game and Earl calls in Burt Gummer but fails to tell him the things have evolved and Burt asks for all sorts of bad ass weapons but all for maximum penetration and the new animals, named Shriekers, are not the same problem.

They also find out that these new ones can eat and self replicate after meals. They come up with a crazy plan and of course win but it is a fun follow up to the first film and has enough connections to the first to make fit but lots of new stuff to keep us going. It helps flesh out Burt who will be our connection to all the other films, he has become even crazier since his wife left him. This movie is not bad, maybe my third favorite of the series.

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection(2001): This movie brings us back to the old stomping grounds of Perfection, Nevada which has seen some changes. There are tours now to try and see Graboids led by a slick con man named Desert Jack Sawyer. The daughter of the man who ran the local store has taken over the business, Nancy and her now grown daughter Mindy are still there, though Mindy is a rebel now, and someone is buying up the land in and around Perfection but we don't know who or why.

But they have to deal with Shriekers and a even newer form, Ass Blasters, they can fire flames in a chemical reaction and use wing like things to fly and glide. They are down to one Graboid and the tour guide mostly sets off pre planted devices that make the tourists think the Graboids are around. The one left is called El Blanco and is now Federal Protected so they destroy the shriekers and the new Ass Blasters and at the end we learn the person trying to buy up the land is none other then a grown up Martain, the douche bag teenager from the first one. Still a douche and taught a lesson in more then one way. 

This movie moves things in a slightly different direction for awhile, the TV show spins off of this movie and it is weird, some nice call backs and we get to see what the town has been up to since the first one. We even learn that Earl and Grady(his helper from the second movie) opened up the Graboid theme park they talked about.

Tremors: The Tv Show(2003): So we are in Perfection again and many of the favorites returns, Burt, Nancy, even Jodi the owner of the shop. They are allowed to stay in Perfection as long as they agree not to hurt any Graboids, Shriekers, or Ass Blasters all of which are protected now, so the place is watched over by the government which upsets Burt but he deals as best he can.

To add to the issue, there turns out to be a secret lab in a nearby series of caves that has been using a new chemical called Mixmaster which can combine two things, mostly animals and create new crazy animals which sometimes attack the town or people. It was on the SYFY channel and only lasted one season, though it did have Christopher Lloyd for awhile. 

It slowly builds on the whole government secrets and protecting El Blanco, look it up on or for episodes and what happens, it doesn't affect much as the next two movies pretty much ignore it.  It was goofy but fun, if you enjoy the Tremors story and idea or just a fan of Burt and the town give it a watch but if your a casual fan or just liked the first one, skip this, it will just confuse you and make no sense.

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins(2004): This is kind of where things really went off the rails, while the TV show didn't help matters, here they decided to go back in time and make a prequel to Tremors. We visit Rejection Valley and how the first settlers there fight the Dirt Dragons aka Graboids. While Burt is not in it, the person who plays him Michael Gross plays an ancestor of Burt named Hiram Gummer. 

We are in 1889 and the people living in Rejection Valley, current site of what would become Perfection Valley, and the town and people rely on the Silver mine when a hot spring causes a Graboid egg or eggs to hatch and kill the miners. Turns out Hiram owns the mine and comes to look into the deaths but he is nothing like his descendant being cold, lofty, well dressed man of business who has not use for fire arms or fighting.

We do get Billy Drago as a gunfighter brought in to kill Graboids by Hiram. His name is Black Hand Kelly and Hiram says that he can have all the silver he can carry if he gets the mine reopened. One of the graboids is killed but there are four more, Kelly is killed and Hiram decides to leave the town to its fate but they force him to give them the silver mine as they will tell any buyers the threat but Hiram had learned a few things about guns from Kelly.

When he returns to Carson City he reads up on a telegram sent to him about how the Graboids are attacking and he heads back with weapons and the town makes its last stand which I won't ruin but after it is all said and done the town decides to keep this a secret so that people will still settle there and Hiram stays and builds his home right where Burt will one day build his. I didn't care for this one, it didn't really add anything except to say that Burt's love of guns comes from one member of his family who didn't like guns and that no matter what the first movie said, someone had faced the graboids before but somehow kept it all secret forever.

Tremors 5: Bloodlines(2015): Been awhile but we return to the Tremors universe with the Cradle of Civilization where a man fell into a hole and is attacked by something and we see cave drawings of Graboids. Then we cut to  Burt Gummer doing a video for survivor training talking about how he has survived many things including Graboids and all of their spawn. He talks about the life cycles of them, how Graboids spawn three shriekers, the shriekers spawn Ass Blasters who lay eggs that become Graboids.

Jaime Kennedy stars as a man who videotapes and films people doing extreme things and some documentary type stuff and replaces Burt's old film guy.  They talk about how Burt was in Florida in the 1970's and went to the big gun show there, then a man approaches them about hunting Graboids that appear in the Middle East, and after some talk of money and other perks, they agree to go and kill them. Sadly two things change in that Burt in not allowed to bring in his weapons and the guy who brought them wants to captures a Graboid

So they hunt newer, deadlier versions of the three known creatures, all more dinosaur like, vicious, claws and teeth on some of them. While they try to fight the new ones with very few weapons we learn a few new things about them and a secret about Jaimie K's person that sort of ties it all together.  There are some fun parts in here and the new creatures are pretty bad ass looking, while the surprise is something you can see coming the part where Burt is in a cage is goofy and fun.

Overall I mostly enjoy this series, while it gets weak around parts 3 and 4 but the new one is really good and a throw back to the first one with some twists and new takes on the old beasts.  If your a huge fan, watch all of them, but if you just like the ideas then the first and last are more your cup of tea, they explain pretty much all you need to know.



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