Ah, the nineties. A simpler time, where the biggest threat to mankind’s existence was an underground worm monster with a taste for human flesh. That, and fashion trends like baggy flannel and overalls. Released in 1990, Tremors is an American comedy film co-written and directed by Ron Underwood. Despite a lackluster performance in theaters, Tremors took on a life of its own in the nineties and impressively spawned three direct-to-video sequels, a prequel, and a television series titled Tremors: The Series.

In the town of Perfection, Nevada, two unassuming repairmen played by Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward do battle with bloodthirsty graboids — giant subterranean creatures who emerge from beneath the earth to terrorize the residents and gobble them up one by one. The eyeless monsters were designed to resemble sandworms but with giant tentacles and a massive armored beak that they use to dig tunnels through the earth. Originally dubbed Land Sharks, writers Underwood, S.S. Wilson, and Brent Maddock had to change the name of the film to avoid conflicting with the popular Saturday Night Live sketch with the same name. 

Tremors was shot at Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California, a popular movie set location where hundreds of films including Gladiator and Star Trek V were filmed. Today, the Lone Pine Film History Museum actually features an exhibition devoted to the film that includes one of the graboid head props as well as a model of Chang’s Market. Made on a budget of 11 million dollars, Tremors made a measly impact on theatergoers and only netted about $16 million at the box office. However, it went on to have an incredibly popular second life after it was released on VHS, and later cable. Today, the film has achieved cult classic status and still holds an excellent “certified fresh” rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

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