Thirty years after it wrapped production and ahead of tomorrow's release of a seventh (!) film in the unlikely franchise, NBC Universal has released a documentary film about the making of 1990s' Tremors on YouTube. After a TV series, six sequels, and at least one attempted reboot, it's hard to imagine that when it was released theatrically, the film wasn't a hit. Tremors earned just $16 million at the box office during its initial theatrical run, but like so many other genre movies of the era, went on to be a big hit on home video and made enough money at Blockbuster Video and similar stores to generate demand for a follow-up.
The follow-up got a brief theatrical run but mostly made money on VHS, kicking off a franchise that nobody saw coming. The early films were created on the cheap, with creature effects done mostly practically. Later movies have embraced digital technology, but most fans still have nostalgia for the early look and feel of the movies.
"Tremors tapped into our nostalgia for picking out a film based on its cover box alone," podcaster Chris Chipman, who used to work for Blockbuster and now hosts The Talkbuster Podcast, told ComicBook.com. "A carryover, seemingly caught in purgatory between the time of bigger budget horror and old school creature features. Tremors tapped into what we loved about the campy, fun horror flicks of a bygone era, while being a good movie in its own right."
You can check it out below.
A second film was released in 1996. It and all the subsequent Tremors films were released direct-to-consumer on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, or streaming. The first film starred Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, with Family Ties actor Michael Gross in a supporting role as a quirky survivalist nut. The second film starred Ward and Gross, with Bacon bowing out, and by Tremors 3: Back to Perfection in 2001, Ward departed, leaving Gross to headline the series himself. The documentary largely ignores the follow-up films, focusing heavily on Bacon and creators Ron Underwood, Brent Maddock, and S. S. Wilson.
"They just came out with a documentary," franchise star Michael Gross recently told ComicBook.com. "It was really nice. Kevin Bacon has a lot to say about it, the original creators and producer. It was really nice to see. And I hadn't even remembered I was a part of it. My sections were shot somewhere in Lone Pine, California, actually near where Tremors was originally shot. We were out there for a thirtieth anniversary weekend and they shot all of my stuff up alongside a fence post and a fence line, out in Lone Pine where we originally shot the film."0comments
"Out on a Friday night in the early '90s with your family or friends, you saw something on the new release wall that looked more akin to the dangerous, rebellious titles of the horror section," Chipman added. "It had stars your parents and you recognized. It was a fresh coat of paint on an old house that you felt comfortable revisiting."
Tremors: Shrieker Island is set to be released digitally and on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow. Look for more from our conversation with Michael Gross then.