From Academic Kids

The below article is about the film series Tremors; for other uses of the term see Tremor.

Missing image
The eclectic band of locals in Perfection, Nevada, from the original 1990 Tremors film.

The fictional universe of Tremors, consisting of dusty backwater towns inhabited by oddball locals and strange monsters of differing varieties, was created by writing duo S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, who had previously collaborated on the 1986 science fiction comedy Short Circuit. Originally entitled Land Sharks, but retitled Tremors when Wilson and Maddock remembered the Saturday Night Live skit called Land Shark starring Dan Aykroyd, Tremors came into being in 1990 as a film directed by Ron Underwood, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross, and country music star Reba McEntire.

The Tremors film, though grossing only $16,667,084 at the United States box office, can be considered a cult classic after its release on home video, and led to two direct-to-video sequels, a television series on the Sci-Fi Channel, and a direct-to-video prequel.




The Tremors continuity centers around the small town of Perfection, Nevada, originally known as Rejection, but renamed in 1889. It is portrayed as a small, dusty, humid town with usually less than 15 residents. Superficially, Perfection seems to be comprised of hired hands, a paranoid gun-toting neo-conservative, a bar owner, and a few nuclear families.

Perfection is also home to giant, prehistoric, burrowing monsters with three snake-like tongues that have been termed "Graboids" by the human characters. The Graboids undergo rapid evolutionary development during their short biological life cycle, showing varients including the "Shrieker" and the "Ass-Blaster." Perfection's only stable income (a small town store called Walter Chang's Market) is offset by increasing tourism caused by the wide national coverage of the first documented Graboid attack in 1990 (the very first attack occurred in 1889, but was subsequently covered up). By the continuity established in the television series, Perfection has become a somewhat popular tourist and big-game hunter destination.

At the center of each and every Graboid assualt is paranoid conspiracy theorist, Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), determined to eradicate all supernatural lifeforms from his home. Burt and the rest of the town wiped out three Graboids back in 1990, exterminated a few more in Mexico in 1996, then encountered even more in Perfection in 2001. The last time around, government officials complicated Gummer's agenda, stating that Graboids were an endangered species and could not be killed. Once the Graboids began to consume said government officials, Burt and company began to destroy the remaining Graboids, who were beginning to change into Shriekers and, for the first documented time, Ass-Blasters.

After the attack in 2001, there remained one Graboid nicknamed "El Blanco," an albino Graboid incapable of mutating into a Shrieker or Ass-Blaster. With the government firmly opposed to El Blanco's murder, Perfection has come to an uneasy peace with it.

The last noted Graboid attack occurred in summer 2003, this time in Toluca, New Mexico. Traces of a biological government project called Mix-Master have been observed in Perfection Valley, leading some to speculate that the town's difficulties are not yet over.


The Tremors fictional universe is set in the dusty backwater town of Perfection (originally Rejection), Nevada (except for in the second film, which had the bulk of its action take place in Mexico, though Perfection was shown, however briefly, to re-introduce the main characters and set off continuity). Perfection has a very small population that continues to fluctuate between, during, and after Graboid attacks, though it usually stays below 15 residents.

Perfection had almost virtually no source of income, despite a small town store, until after the first modern Graboid attacks occurred in 1990. After the attacks gained national media recognition, thousands have flocked to the small, seemingly quiet town every year.

Ever since the discovery of El Blanco, the US Department of the Interior has maintained a firm hold on Perfection and any and all supernatural activity that occurs within the town's limits.

In spring 2003, Perfection's residents discovered traces of the biological agent Mix Master, which has been commissioned by the government in the early 1950s for experimentation.

Characters and Cast

What follows is a list of most of the primary and secondary characters in the Tremors series' fictional universe (tertiary characters, those with few scenes and/or little impact on the story, are not included):

  • Earl Bassett (Fred Ward)
  • Fu Yien Chang (Sam Ly)
  • Jodi Chang (Susan Chuang in the film series, Lela Lee in the television series)
  • Lu Wan Chang (Lydia Look)
  • Pyon Chang (Lo Ming)
  • Walter Chang (Victor Wong)
  • Burt Gummer (Michael Gross)
  • Heather Gummer (Reba McEntire)
  • Hiram Gummer (Michael Gross)
  • Grady Hoover (Christopher Gartin)
  • Black Hand Kelly (Billy Drago)
  • Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter)
  • Christine Lord (Sara Botsford)
  • Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon)
  • Miguel (Tony Genaro)
  • Nestor (Richard Marcus)
  • Juan Pedilla (Brent Roam)
  • Melvin Plug (Robert Jayne)
  • Cletus Poffenberger (Christopher Lloyd)
  • Tyler Reed (Victor Browne)
  • Kate 'White' Reilly (Helen Shaver)
  • Rosalita Sanchez (Gladise Jiminez)
  • Desert Jack Sawyer (Shawn Christian)
  • Mindy Sterngood (Ariana Richards in the film series, Tinsley Grimea in the television series)
  • Nancy Sterngood (Charlotte Stewart)
  • Tecopa (August Schellenberg)
  • W.D. Twitchell (Dean Norris)
  • Harlowe Winnemucca (Branscombe Richmond)



There are currently four Tremors films:

  • Tremors (1990)
  • Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996) (V)
  • Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001) (V)
  • Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004) (V)

There is a rumor circulating that there is a finished screenplay for a fifth Tremors film, but whether or not this is true, and if it is, if Universal Studios will even greenlight another Tremors installment, is unknown.

Television Series

In 2003, the Sci-Fi Channel launched a spin-off television series from the fictional universe of Tremors, simply titled Tremors. The series, though Sci-Fi's highest-rated program at the time, failed to hit the exact demographic that Sci-Fi wanted for it, so they canceled it after only one season consisting of 13 episodes.

The series has never been released on DVD.

External links


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