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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming took place in Inyo County, CA, around Lone Pine, Olancha, and the “Alabama Hills,” where Hollywood studios have shot Westerns since the silent era. Production designer Ivo Cristante took two months to build the town of “Perfection, Nevada” in the desert near Olancha. When Cristante was done, the town had a market, a paved street, telephone poles, a garbage dump, a horse corral, and several residences and mobile homes. A couple of building frames were constructed in Los Angeles, CA, before being moved to the location. Cristante also built a large rock sculpture for the film’s conclusion. Art Brewer Special Effects, Inc. built elevator shafts for the “worm holes” and a tunnel under the market boardwalk. The film’s two interior sets—“Burt" and "Heather Gummer’s” basement and "Walter Chang’s Market"—were built at the Valencia Studios in Valencia, CA, northeast of Los Angeles, where the final scenes were shot. Principal photography began in Lone Pine in Apr 1989.
       The 19 Apr 1989 DV revealed that Tremors was a non-union picture that executive producer Gale Anne Hurd’s Pacific Western Productions was making as a “pickup,” or acquisition, for Paramount Pictures. However, according to the 3 Aug 1989 HR, Universal Pictures released the movie.
       The 21 Aug 1989 DV revealed that the project was briefly retitled Dead Silence.
       The 17 Nov 1989 LA Weekly reported that the $11 million film’s original opening scene, which used real earthquake footage, was cut after test audiences “reacted negatively.”
       The 24 Jan 1990 Var announced that Tremors opened at 1,475 ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, filming took place in Inyo County, CA, around Lone Pine, Olancha, and the “Alabama Hills,” where Hollywood studios have shot Westerns since the silent era. Production designer Ivo Cristante took two months to build the town of “Perfection, Nevada” in the desert near Olancha. When Cristante was done, the town had a market, a paved street, telephone poles, a garbage dump, a horse corral, and several residences and mobile homes. A couple of building frames were constructed in Los Angeles, CA, before being moved to the location. Cristante also built a large rock sculpture for the film’s conclusion. Art Brewer Special Effects, Inc. built elevator shafts for the “worm holes” and a tunnel under the market boardwalk. The film’s two interior sets—“Burt" and "Heather Gummer’s” basement and "Walter Chang’s Market"—were built at the Valencia Studios in Valencia, CA, northeast of Los Angeles, where the final scenes were shot. Principal photography began in Lone Pine in Apr 1989.
       The 19 Apr 1989 DV revealed that Tremors was a non-union picture that executive producer Gale Anne Hurd’s Pacific Western Productions was making as a “pickup,” or acquisition, for Paramount Pictures. However, according to the 3 Aug 1989 HR, Universal Pictures released the movie.
       The 21 Aug 1989 DV revealed that the project was briefly retitled Dead Silence.
       The 17 Nov 1989 LA Weekly reported that the $11 million film’s original opening scene, which used real earthquake footage, was cut after test audiences “reacted negatively.”
       The 24 Jan 1990 Var announced that Tremors opened at 1,475 screens across the country. Reviews were generally favorable, comparing Tremors to a fun 1950s monster movie. It netted only $14.4 million in its first six weeks in theaters, according to the Apr 1990 Box, but found success on home video. The film spawned four made-for-video sequels— Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996), Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001), Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004), and Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015)—as well as a television series on the Sci-Fi Channel called Tremors: The Series. Only actor Michael Gross, who played Burt Gummer in the original, appeared in the series, the 23 Mar 2003 LAT reported.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgements: “Special Thanks to: Nancy Roberts; The 3 L’s; Kyra Sedgwick and Travis Bacon; James Brubaker; U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; County of Inyo." and, "The producers would like to thank the people of Lone Pine, California for their assistance and cooperation in the making of this film.”
      The character referred to in the film as “Earl Bassett” is listed as “Earl Bass” in end credits.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Apr 1990
Section R, p. 30.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1989
p. 1, 21.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1989
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Jan 1990
p. 3, 29.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1990
p. 4, 50.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1990.
---
LA Weekly
17 Nov 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Jan 1990
Calendar, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
23-29 Mar 2003
Calendar, p. 3.
New York Times
19 Jan 1990
p. 10.
Variety
16 Aug 1989
p. 27.
Variety
17 Jan 1990
p. 27.
Variety
24 Jan 1990
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A No Frills/Wilson-Maddock Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
3d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Line prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl 1st asst cam
Addl 2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Video assist
Still photog
Translite photog
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Addl dolly grip
Rigging grip
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Addl best boy elec
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam dir, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Addl cam op, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Best boy elec, 2d unit
Best boy elec, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Elec, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Best boy grip, 2d unit
Dolly grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Grip, 2d unit
Cam and lenses supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
On set dresser
On set dresser
Asst set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const coord
Const mgr
Const asst
Const asst
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Scenic painter
Foam const
Const foreman
Const foreman
Standby carpenter
Standby carpenter
Eff const
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Const coord, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Cost asst
Cost asst
Cost asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus supv
Mus co-prod by
Orch
Mus rec by
Mus rec by
Mus ed by
Supv mus ed
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Spec sd eff
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd eff rec
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR rec
Foley rec at
Foley mixer
Foley rec
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Eff const
Creature eff des and created by
Creature eff des and created by
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Creature eff art crew
Key mechanical des
Mechanics crew
Mechanics crew
Mechanics crew
Mechanics crew
Mechanics crew
Mechanics crew
Visual and miniature eff by
Visual eff dir, 4-Ward Productions, Inc.
Supv prod, 4-Ward Productions, Inc.
Dir of photog, 4-Ward Productions staff
Cam op, 4-Ward Productions staff
Cams by, 4-Ward Productions staff
Gaffer, 4-Ward Productions staff
Miniature const supv, 4-Ward Productions staff
Miniature const crew, 4-Ward Productions staff
Miniature const crew, 4-Ward Productions staff
Visual eff asst, 4-Ward Productions staff
Visual eff asst, 4-Ward Productions staff
Visual eff asst, 4-Ward Productions staff
Visual eff asst, 4-Ward Productions staff
Addl visual eff by, 4-Ward Productions staff
Matte artist, Illusion Arts
Cam, Illusion Arts
Eff supv, Fantasy II Film Effects
Asst, Fantasy II Film Effects
Prod supv, Fantasy II Film Effects
Cam op, Fantasy II Film Effects
Model, Fantasy II Film Effects
Prod asst, Fantasy II Film Effects
Prod asst, Fantasy II Film Effects
Opticals, Fantasy II Film Effects
Opticals, Fantasy II Film Effects
Spec visual eff coord
Spec mechanical eff by
Set op
Set op
Rigging op
Rigging op
Rigging op
Spec eff (Lone Pine), 2d unit
Spec eff coord, 2d unit
Spec eff coord, 2d unit
Spec eff (Los Angeles), 2d unit
Spec eff (Los Angeles), 2d unit
Spec eff coord, 2d unit
Spec eff foreman, 2d unit
Spec effectsman, 2d unit
Spec effectsman, 2d unit
Spec eff driver, 2d unit
Title des
MAKEUP
Make-up and hair by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Gun specialist
Sage wrangler
Dirt wrangler
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Pre-prod coord
Loc mgr
Loc scout--Lone Pine
Unit pub
Seismology consultant
Auditor
Auditor
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Post-prod accounting by
Post-prod accounting by, Robert C Baral Accountanc
Craft service/Medic
Studio teacher
Asst to the prods
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Film runner
Film runner
Projectionist
Post-prod office asst
Asst to Kevin Bacon
Asst to Kevin Bacon
Casting assoc
Traffic controller--Lone Pine
Security by
Catering by
Catering by
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation dispatcher
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Scr supv, 2d unit
Transportation coord, 2d unit
Transportation coord, 2d unit
Driver capt, 2d unit
Driver capt, 2d unit
Driver, 2d unit
Driver, 2d unit
Craft service, 2d unit
Craft service, 2d unit
Craft service, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Stage facilities provided by
Insurance provided by, Albert G. Ruben Co.
Insurance provided by
Loc equip by
Completion bond supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Deluxe timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"You Are The One,” written and performed by Fahrenheit
“It’s A Cowboy Lovin’ Night,” written by Ronnie Rogers, performed by Tanya Tucker, courtesy of MCA Records
“Drop Kick Me Jesus,” written by Paul Craft, performed by Bobby Bare, courtesy of RCA Records
+
SONGS
"You Are The One,” written and performed by Fahrenheit
“It’s A Cowboy Lovin’ Night,” written by Ronnie Rogers, performed by Tanya Tucker, courtesy of MCA Records
“Drop Kick Me Jesus,” written by Paul Craft, performed by Bobby Bare, courtesy of RCA Records
“Heart Of A Working Man,” written by Tom Russell, performed by Tom Russell Band, courtesy of Some People Productions
“Why Not Tonight,” written by Nancy Montgomery, David Stringfellow and John Vezner, performed by Reba McEntire, courtesy of MCA Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Dead Silence
Release Date:
19 January 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 19 January 1990
Production Date:
began April 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 February 1990
Copyright Number:
PA451912
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording® Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Duration(in mins):
96
Length(in feet):
8,648
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30114
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Handymen Valentine McKee and Earl Bassett build a fence in the desert. On the way to another job, they encounter Rhonda LeBeck, a college graduate student monitoring seismographic activity. She asks if anyone has been drilling or blasting in the area, because she is getting “strange” readings. Valentine and Earl promise to look into it. They drive to the town of Perfection, Nevada, population fourteen, and stop at Walter Chang's Market for beers. Survivalists Burt and Heather Gummer pick up supplies for their nearby house-bunker. In the desert, as Rhonda LeBeck packs gear into her truck, the seismograph needle jiggles and something moves beneath the ground, but she drives away. Elsewhere, Valentine and Earl bury garbage with a bulldozer, then drive to another job cleaning a cesspool with a septic pump. As the contents splatter all over them, Valentine suggests to Earl that they need to find a better line of work. They pile their belongings into their truck and tell a neighbor named Nancy that they are moving to Bixbee, and despite Nancy’s offer of a job with free lunch and beer thrown in, the fellows turn her down. Leaving Perfection, they brag that nothing stands between them and Bixbee. However, they stop when they see Edgar Deems sitting high on an electric tower. Valentine climbs up and finds him dead. Jim, the local doctor, tells them Edgar died of dehydration. Valentine and Earl cannot figure out why he died of thirst on the tower, unless something waited for him below. Meanwhile, “Old Fred,” a farmer, notices his sheep are restless. Something grabs him from below. Nearby, Rhonda picks up vibrations on her seismograph. As Valentine and Earl ... +


Handymen Valentine McKee and Earl Bassett build a fence in the desert. On the way to another job, they encounter Rhonda LeBeck, a college graduate student monitoring seismographic activity. She asks if anyone has been drilling or blasting in the area, because she is getting “strange” readings. Valentine and Earl promise to look into it. They drive to the town of Perfection, Nevada, population fourteen, and stop at Walter Chang's Market for beers. Survivalists Burt and Heather Gummer pick up supplies for their nearby house-bunker. In the desert, as Rhonda LeBeck packs gear into her truck, the seismograph needle jiggles and something moves beneath the ground, but she drives away. Elsewhere, Valentine and Earl bury garbage with a bulldozer, then drive to another job cleaning a cesspool with a septic pump. As the contents splatter all over them, Valentine suggests to Earl that they need to find a better line of work. They pile their belongings into their truck and tell a neighbor named Nancy that they are moving to Bixbee, and despite Nancy’s offer of a job with free lunch and beer thrown in, the fellows turn her down. Leaving Perfection, they brag that nothing stands between them and Bixbee. However, they stop when they see Edgar Deems sitting high on an electric tower. Valentine climbs up and finds him dead. Jim, the local doctor, tells them Edgar died of dehydration. Valentine and Earl cannot figure out why he died of thirst on the tower, unless something waited for him below. Meanwhile, “Old Fred,” a farmer, notices his sheep are restless. Something grabs him from below. Nearby, Rhonda picks up vibrations on her seismograph. As Valentine and Earl drive past Fred’s farm, they see the fence knocked down, the sheep slaughtered, and they find Fred dead, buried up to his neck. They warn road workers Howard and Carmine that a killer is on the loose, but the two workers carry on. However, as Carmine jack hammers the edge of the pavement, he hits something that bleeds. His jackhammer pulls away, and the pneumatic line wraps around his leg and carries him away. Howard tries to rescue his co-worker, but falling boulders crush him. Valentine and Earl return to Walter Chang’s Market to make a telephone call and find the line dead. They warn Chang and his customers--Miguel, Melvin Plug, and Nestor--about Old Fred, and Nestor asks them to drive to Bixbee to get police. However, rocks block the road at the worksite, and they find Howard’s hardhat filled with chunks of brain matter. Leaping back into their truck, Valentine has a hard time pulling forward because something has grabbed the axel. He finally breaks free, and they return to Perfection. When they arrive, everyone is shocked to see a bloody tentacle wrapped around the axel, ripped from whatever it was attached to. Burt Gummer uses a shovel to get it off, thinking it is some kind of snake. He reckons that if Old Fred and his sheep were all killed, there must be more creatures out there. Meanwhile, as Dr. Jim and his wife, Megan, look for their generator, they discover that it has been pulled underground. Dr. Jim yanks on the cord, and something pulls him underground. Megan runs to their station wagon, and snakelike creatures give chase and bang on the car windows. The ground collapses beneath her and swallows the vehicle. At a group meeting at the market, Burt Gummer discusses setting perimeters and standing guard. Walter informs everyone that his citizens band (CB) radio cannot reach outside Perfection Valley because of the surrounding mountains. Miguel suggests saddling Walter’s horses and riding the thirty-five miles to Bixbee, and everyone decides that Valentine and Earl are the best riders. Valentine gets a pistol, and Heather Gummer gives Earl her high-powered rifle. Valentine and Earl find Dr. Jim’s trailer empty and the station wagon gone, but hear its radio underground. As they proceed toward Bixbee, their horses shy and throw them off. The ground opens up and a giant wormlike creature emerges and grabs one of the horses. Valentine and Earl run to a concrete barrier. The creature, traveling underground, cracks through, but is killed by the impact. Rhonda LeBeck appears moments later and asks if they have seen anything “weird.” Valentine and Earl enlist her to help to open the shattered concrete wall and pull out the large dead creature. Noting that it has no eyes, Rhonda surmises that it is subterranean. Its tentacles appear to shoot out of its mouth. She declares it “the biggest zoological discovery of the century.” Looking at her various seismographic readings, Rhonda guesses there are at least three other wormlike creatures in the area. They walk to one of her seismographs, but when the needle jerks back and forth, they run to a rock formation for protection and arrive just as tentacles reach out to grab them. Though safe, they are trapped, and Rhonda's truck is far away. When Valentine taps the ground with a board, a huge worm emerges and grabs it. Rhonda guesses the creature feels their vibrations through the rocks. The next morning, Valentine tosses a shovel and the creature grabs it. Finding poles, they pole-vault from rock to rock until they cross the desert floor to Rhonda’s truck. Returning to Perfection, they find that Walter Chang cannot contact Burt and Heather on his CB. Marking all known sightings on a map, Valentine realizes the worms are making their way to Perfection. Rhonda suggests they all move west toward the mountains because of the granite terrain. Suddenly, a worm attacks Melvin Plug outside, but he escapes into a shed. Nancy and Mindy run into their house for protection, and Valentine jumps into the back of a pickup truck. As two creatures attack from the different direction, Rhonda gets caught in barbed wire and Valentine rescues her by attacking the worm with a pick. Inside the market, a worm emerges through the floor, grabs Walter Chang, and drags him under. As another creature comes through the floorboards, everyone climbs the shelves to the roof, except Rhonda, who is thrown through a window when a tentacle knocks over the shelves. She climbs to safety on the town water tower. The others call out to Melvin, Nancy, and Mindy to climb onto their roofs. Elsewhere, Burt and Heather radio the market from their compound. Valentine retrieves Walter’s CB and explains what is happening. As Valentine sees a worm burrowing at top speed toward Burt’s bunker, he warns him and Heather to get on the roof. The bunker’s cinderblock walls collapse and the couple open fire, blasting the creature until they kill it. Valentine reminds them on the radio that there are still two more. From their perch atop the market, Valentine and Earl see a creature shaking the foundations of Nancy’s house. Since Nancy and Mindy have been sitting quietly on the roof, they are not sending vibrations, so Valentine guesses that the creature is trying to “figure out” the house. When a creature knocks over Nestor’s trailer, he flies off the roof and is sucked underground Valentine radios Burt and Heather to alert them the creatures are tearing down the town from below, so they will need leave. When a worm destroys the last working truck, Earl wonders if they can escape on the town bulldozer. As the roof of the market buckles, Valentine and Earl lower Miguel to a lawn tractor, which he turns on and sets into motion. Driverless, it lures the two creatures away from the buildings. Valentine leaps off the roof and runs to the bulldozer, but when the lawn tractor turns over, the creatures stop, turn around, and chase Valentine. He stops dead in his tracks, hoping the creatures will not find him. The other humans make noise, and Rhonda distracts the worms by knocking over a water pipe on the tower. Valentine hooks the bulldozer to an old trailer and rides around the town, as the others jump on. The Gummers join with their best guns and a bag of homemade bombs. They ride toward rocky terrain, but suddenly the road collapses and pitches them off the bulldozer. The shock of one of Burt’s exploding bombs sends the worms running, but they hurry back. The humans run for the rocks, tossing more bombs to scare off the worms, but once they reach safety, they are again trapped. As they toss stones to attract one of the worms, Earl lights and tosses one of Burt’s bombs. The worm grabs it and is blown up in the explosion. They try the same tactic on the other creature, but it spits the explosive back at them and blows up Burt’s satchel of bombs, scattering Valentine, Earl, and Rhonda. Armed with the only remaining bomb, Valentine starts running, with Earl and Rhonda right behind, and the giant worm hot on their trail. Valentine lights and tosses the bomb, but it lands behind the creature. However, the explosion drives the worm forward and sends it over a cliff. The creature smashes to pieces on the rocks below. Later, Valentine and Earl prepare to leave town, but since Rhonda has decided to remain in Perfection to cover the story for science magazines, Valentine decides to stay with her. They kiss to seal their relationship.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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