Behind The Scenes Saturday: Tremors

Welcome back to Day 22 of Spooky Season!! For this week’s Behind The Scenes Saturday, I wanted to pay tribute to one of my favorite monster movies, Tremors! Tremors was a fantastic combination of action, comedy, and horror. The monsters were so wonderfully created and the characters brought the real entertainment. So stay on your roofs, pack lots of ammunition and enjoy these fun behind the scenes facts!

(Trivia provided by

(Pictures provided by and


  • S.S. Wilson, one of the film’s screenwriters, came up with the idea for this film when he was working for the U.S. Navy and spent time in the California desert. He was resting on a rock and he imagined to himself what it would be like if there was something underground that kept him from stepping off the rock.
  • Kevin Bacon (Valentine McKee) originally resented being in the film. He initially took the role of Val because he needed money for his new marriage and upcoming baby. Bacon feared this film would kill his career and refused the film’s existence for a while. He later changed his mind about the film and admitted that it was “the single most fun time I’ve ever had making a movie in my entire career.”
  • In the scene where Rhonda (Finn Carter) had to take her pants off to escape the Graboid, Finn Carter felt it was best not to rehearse the scene before filming it. That way, the response Rhonda had to show when having to get undressed in front of Kevin Bacon in less than 5 seconds brought more authenticity.
  • One of the design ideas included the Graboid having an outer shell to help it move around in the dirt and when it’s above ground, the shell would retract and show a slimier inner worm. However, the design was scrapped when the filmmakers realized it looked too much like a phallic shape with a foreskin.
  • The film was initially given an R rating due to the F-bombs and other explicit language in it. Producers compromised and changed almost all of the F-bombs. That’s why we got such gems like “motherhumper.”
  • Acting debut of famous country singer, Reba McEntire (Heather Gummer).
  • The scene where Val missed a staple on a post several times was completely improvised by Kevin Bacon. Fred Ward’s (Earl Bassett) reaction to Bacon was genuine.
  • Originally, the filmmakers wanted the beginning of the film to make audiences think it was a serial killer killing the Perfection residents. However, production wanted to promote it as a monster movie, so they had to add the scenes where Old Fred (Michael Dan Wagner) is killed and Rhonda is stalked by a Graboid.
  • Bill Paxton, Matthew Modine, and Bruce Campbell were all offered the role of Val. Ray Liotta was also considered.
  • Michael Gross (Burt Gummer) began filming for this film exactly one day after shooting the final episode of Family Ties.
  • Burt’s 1989 GMC Jimmy was really Michael Gross’s vehicle.
  • Ron Underwood, the film’s director, had absolutely no interest in casting Reba McEntire. He didn’t even want to give her an audition. After bashing singers turned actors, he came to regret his words when he was blown away by her audition, and he knew she was perfect for Heather.
  • Possible titles for the film included Beneath Perfection, Dead Silence, and Land Sharks before they landed on Tremors.
  • Burt’s elephant gun was rented from a private collector to be used in the film.
  • It took 2 months to build the town set.
  • During the first take of filming the scene where Val eagerly speeds off-road to meet Rhonda, the truck hit a dirt mound hard enough to damage the front end. It also caused it to stall out. It took several hours to get the car working again for a second take.
  • An alternate opening showed Old Fred and Edgar Deems (Sunshine Parker) interacting as old pals. They met up to trade livestock and Deem’s prized donkey ended up getting eaten by a Graboid, which would show why Edgar climbed the tower. The scene was cut for 2 reasons: the studio thought the scene was too boring, and the filmmakers didn’t want to reveal the Graboids that soon.
  • In the original script, Walter Chang (Victor Wong) was a Vietnamese man named Pham Van.
  • For the mutilated sheep, meat parts were purchased by a butcher and spread all over the sheep pen.
  • Although they’ve never been mentioned or seen, it’s been speculated that Melvin’s (Bobby Jacoby) parents were in Las Vegas when everything went down and they just left Melvin home.
  • The wave effects where the Graboids are rolling the dirt and the porch boards were created by towing a boat buoy behind a pickup truck.
  • There was a scene written and shot where it was revealed that an earthquake was responsible for releasing the Graboids.
  • The pole vaulting scene was written for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the landscape’s boulders. Unfortunately, they realized the boulders were too far apart to safely pole vault from one to another. Fake hollow rocks were built to fill the gaps and they worked wonderfully… except the one windy day that blew them across the desert.
  • During a test screening, audiences kept shouting “Kiss her! Kiss her!” At the end. The studio listened to the audience and paid to reshoot the ending and included Val and Rhonda’s kiss.
  • For a part of the final scene, Ron Underwood wore a wig and stood in as Rhonda because Finn Carter’s double wasn’t available at the time. The shot Underwood was in ended up not being used in the film.
  • The water tower was supposed to collapse during Rhonda’s rescue, but Universal wouldn’t provide the money to shoot the scene.
  • Reba McEntire was worried about damaging her ears during the basement shootout scene, so they all doubled down on their ear protection.
  • The final Graboid’s fall and death was created using miniatures and filmed in a parking lot.
  • Jon Voight was once considered for the role of Earl.
  • The car swallowing scene was supposed to be longer. Megan (Bibi Besch) was supposed to kick out the windshield and pull herself out of the car only to be dragged into the sand. However, the effect wouldn’t work properly and they ended up running out of time to shoot the remainder of the scene.
  • The original ending had Val and Earl heading to Bixby, realizing Rhonda still had their lighter, and heading back to Perfection to get it. Val doesn’t hook up with Rhonda but it is implied.
  • During filming, Kevin Bacon’s wife, Kyra Sedgwick, was in her third trimester with their first child Travis. A telephone was installed on set so Bacon could stay in touch with her in case she went into labor. She went into labor on Bacon’s last day of filming.

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