Feature Movie (19 Jan 90) Tremors
Video (9 Apr 96) Tremors II: Aftershocks
The only regular character remaining from the previous movies is Burt Gummer (Michael Gross - 100 Million Years BC ), the gun nut. He has taken over the Graboid-busting business. The most recent incident – only the third encounter with the entire species - takes place in Argentina. Yes, for some reason the Graboids have migrated south. And if they have made it to Argentina, there are probably massive colonies of them in the remotest regions of amazon basin.
It has been eleven years since the Graboids were wiped out in Perfection valley, Nevada. A young entrepreneur is running fake Graboid safaris. Predictably, a real Graboid turns up.
Burt is a paranoid survivalist who believes in low taxes and small government. At least he is willing to live with the consequences of that. The alternative to taxation is conscription. He personally designs, builds, pays for and installs a series of Graboid detectors in the homes of his neighbours so they can be safe from attack. That said, the detectors have gone a decade without maintenance so they do not work. However, it is the thought (and the expense) that counts. And speaking of expense, Burt is more than happy to requisition (without compensation) any supplies he needs from the local convenience store.
The reappearance of the Graboids means the US Government sends a team of investigators out. The Graboids are declared to be an endangered species, so they are now protected by US law. In fact, if the humans are endangered in the valley then the government might just use the Eminent Domain law and stage a compulsory purchase of the land. The locals are terrified of this thought, although at the moment they have failing businesses in a ghost town in a remote valley so the idea of actually getting some financial compensation in exchange for their unprofitable and unsellable real-estate should actually seem like a good thing to them.
Burt, the tour guide and the convenience store lady end up on foot, trying to get out of monster-infested territory. This seems a lot like the main part of the first movie, but it works as well as can be hoped for.
The locals encounter a massive albino Graboid that Burt nicknames El Blanco. Later a shrieker evolves into the next stage of the creature's life-cycle. It has wings, and propels itself with gas expelled from its anus, so they call it an Ass Blaster. Yes, this is a lot of set-up for the TV show.
Back in the days of the Wild west, Burt Gummer's ancestor (who looks just like him) bought a silver mine. Naturally, the mine was in a remote valley in Nevada. And when he tries to re-open the mine, graboids start to eat people. The answer is to hire gunslinger Billy Drago ( Vamp ).
This does not entirely fit as a prequel. Wasn't Burt a survivalist as a response to his time in the Big City? How come he never knew about his ancestor's encounters with the graboids? And of course, this precludes the Mixmaster origin story from the TV show.
Perfection, Nevada, is a Federal Wildlife sanctuary to protect the Graboids - an endangered species. The only regular character remaining from the movies is Burt Gummer, the gun nut. A handful of other locals are still in town, including farm-hand Branscombe Richmond (Renegade).
The locals investigate an old mine shaft. There may be a secret lab hidden there.
Christopher Lloyd, best known as the mad scientist in the Back To The Future Series, guest-stars.
An Ass-blaster arrives. Harrison Page (Sledge Hammer) tries to capture it.
Bert holds his first class - he has his own Survival school!
A geneticist examines the affect of mixmaster on the environment. Richard Biggs ( Babylon 5 ) is the sidekick, and Christopher Lloyd ( Back To The Future ) is the guest star.
Michael Rooker ( Mallrats ) hires Nicholas Turturo to go to Las Vegas. A Graboid Tour arrives - and we learn that the town's Latino babe has a dodgy Las Vegas background!
The team must save El Blanco from gangsters.
This introduces Cletus (Christopher Lloyd - Back To The Future ) and provides exposition on his backstory (a secret lab produced mixmaster for a Megacorp). There is a new monster on the loose.
Branscombe Richmond guest-stars again.
There are hippies and monkey wrenchers in the valley to protest about El Blanco's condition. He is dying, apparently.
Burt Gummer (Michael Gross - 100 Million Years BC ) and the newbie are conscripted by the US Govt to save an Arizona town from Shriekers.
A bio-tech billionaire has released four graboids onto a remote tropical island. His assumption is that it will be safe to hunt them for sport. Somehow, he has never heard of Shriekers or ass-blasters. Worse, these graboids are genetically enhanced so they can grow much larger ... and even swim!
Travis (Jamie Kennedy - Scream ) is in a Mexican Jail for smuggling mushrooms. His mother, Dr Whelker ( Caroline Langrishe ), has a replacement. Her sidekick is Jimmy (Jon Heder - Napoleon Dynamite), who provides the necessary comic relief.
Burt Gummer (Michael Gross - 100 Million Years BC ) is happily retired in New Guinea, south of the Brandt line, away from tax inspectors. He may have been middle-aged in the first movie, thirty years previously, but he still has what it takes to fight monsters. That said, he is noticably aging.
The original movie was a parody of 1950s monster movies. This one is a take on Predator , and is actually better than some of the films in that series. Certainly, the SPFX are impressive compared to the primitive CGI effects of the earlier sequels.