Tremors
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FAQ for
Tremors (1990) More at IMDbPro »

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Tremors can be found here.

Tired of merely subsisting in the small desert town of Perfection, Nevada, handymen Valentine 'Val' McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) set out for nearby Bixby but get sidetracked when they become aware of large sandworms attacking the residents of Perfection Valley.

Tremors is based on an original screenplay developed by American screenwriters S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, and Ron Underwood (who also directed the movie). It was followed by two direct-to-video sequels Tremors II: Aftershocks (1990) and Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001), a prequel Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004), Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015), and a short-lived TV series 'Tremors' (2003).

In the beginning of the movie, the population sign says that 14 people live in Perfection. Including Val and Earl, there's survivalist Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) and his wife Heather (Reba McEntire), Nancy Sterngood (Charlotte Stewart) and her pogostick-jumping daughter Mindy (Ariana Richards), shopkeeper Walter Chang, (Victor Wong), teenager Melvin Plug (Robert Jayne), town doctor Jim Wallace (Conrad Bachmann) and his wife Megan (Bibi Besch), sheep farmer Old Fred (Michael Dan Wagner), cattle rancher Miguel (Tony Genaro), Nester (Richard Marcus), and Edgar Deems (Sunshine Parker). However, if Melvin lives with his parent(s), then it should be either 15 or 16. Of the possibilities: (a) either Fred and Edgar or Jim and Megan live too far away to be actual residents of Perfection, (b) Jim and Megan are not yet residents of Perfection, since they are just building their house, (c) Melvin's parents abandoned their son for whatever reason and no longer live there, or (d) the sign is simply out of date.

Walter and Melvin suggest several names such as Graboid, Suckoid, and Snakeoid, and they also refer to the creatures at various times as Stumpy. Val later says the name Graboid when they are all stuck on the rocks. In Tremors II, however, Earl says they officially named them Graboids in Walter's memory. Promotional material for the Sci-Fi channel gave them the scientific name "Caederus mexicana."

This movie, and its producers, were deliberate in keeping the Graboids' origins unknown. They did not feel that a small group of people living in the middle of nowhere and a seismologist could come up with the right answer in the short amount of time the film takes place. They do, however, spoof other movies as they offer what might be considered "standard" explanations for the monsters existence: Nuclear radiation (like Godzilla, they are a result of an accident), Genetic Engineering (someone created it), Pre-History (they've been dormant for as long as humans have been alive), and Outer Space (they're not of this planet). Tremors II, however, firmly establishes that they are Precambrian life forms, meaning they have been here for about 450 million years. Tremors 4 shows that their eggs can lay dormant in the ground until disturbed. Earl may have been right in thinking that they might originally come from space. After all, in Precambrian times there were only one-celled organisms. The Graboids may have come to Earth from space in a meteorite impact and with little to eat, they went dormant for millions of years. Or, maybe they came to earth as micro organisms and eventually evolved to their present size.

In an earlier draft of the screenplay, his parents were uncaring towards him and often abandoned him to go gambling in Las Vegas. In a deleted scene, the characters briefly mention that his parents are out gambling in Las Vegas again. His parents were probably on such a trip during the movie.

The sign at the beginning of the movie states that Perfection, Nevada was established in 1902. Tremors 4, however, takes place in 1889 when the town was named Rejection. Rejection may have been just a small independent community that become incorporated in 1902 and the name changed to Perfection.

There are two reasons for this. First, it is a big valley and there are only four worms. They simply are not everywhere at once and may be off eating Miguel's cattle or Fred's sheep. Second, Val points out that the worms are moving towards the town from one side of the valley. Though sensitive to sound they wouldn't have heard something on the other end. They are likely moving to one part of the valley as they eat everything in another and just now getting to where the people live.

It's called a "case cleaner". It's a device that cleans empty, fired casings of ammunition. The bowl is filled with a medium like small particles of corn cobs that will rub against the casings, both inside and out and will clean off any oils or burnt gun powder residue by simple abrasion. The cleaner will vibrate heavily and make lots of noise, especially if the lid isn't fastened down like Heather did in the scene.

Trapped on the boulder by the two remaining graboids and with all their options running out, Burt comments that, if worse comes to worse, he's going to run while carrying a lit stick of dynamite so that when the graboid eats him, it will blow up. That gives Val/Earl the idea of tricking the graboid into swallowing Burt's bombs. They toss out some small rocks to attract the graboids, then toss a stick of dynamite. One of the graboids takes the bait and gets blown up, but the last one is wish to the ploy and spits out the dynamite. It lands on Burt's pile of bombs, forcing everyone to take cover. Earl, Val, and Rhonda make the mistake of running and, after the dynamite explodes, they find themselves cut off yards from the boulder by the last graboid. While Earl, Val, and Rhonda stand perfectily still, hose survivors on the boulder attempt to make noise to distract the graboid. It withdraws into the ground but appears to be waiting for them to make their move. Suddenly, Val takes off running, carrying with him the last stick of dynamite. Earl and Rhonda follow Val to the edge of a deep canyon. Rhonda lights the dynamite, then she and Earl jump to the sides while the graboid continues coming straight for Val. At the last minute, Val tosses the dynamite at the graboid then jumps to the side. The explosion disorients the graboid, and it comes flying through the side wall of the canyon, crashing to bits on the rocks below. In the final scene, Val and Earl are loading up the truck, planning to take their story to Bixby. Rhonda comes over to say goodbye, obviously hoping to get something on with Val, but he just hems and haws. As Rhonda walks away, Val puffs up his courage, follows her, and kisses her.

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