Seeking Perfection release date and free chapter!

It’s been just over four years since I carried out the first interview (with Tremors co-creator/writer S.S. Wilson) for what would become Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors and now, 54 interviews later, the book is almost ready to enter the world.

After much writing, editing, more writing, a bit more editing, spellchecking, correcting and a bit more editing, Seeking Perfection is 304 pages of stories from behind the scenes of the Tremors franchise, featuring first-hand recollections from the boardrooms, sets and editing suites of each film and the TV series.

I’ve spoken to various members of the cast and crew from the original film – including Michael Gross, (Burt Gummer), Reba McEntire (Heather Gummer), Ariana Richards (Mindy Sterngood), Charlotte Stewart (Nancy Sterngood), Tony Genaro (Miguel) and Robert Jayne (Melvin), plus director Ron Underwood, writers S.S. Wilson & Brent Maddock, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and monster creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jnr – plus dozens of the people associated with the sequels and TV show.

I’m also excited to announce that the final interview I secured was with Mr Kevin Bacon, who took time to discuss his memories of getting the script, travelling to the set in Lone Pine, working in the desert, why he didn’t return for Tremors 2: Aftershocks and his thoughts on the film after 25 years.

There are also photos from the Tremors set that have never been published before, sketches from the poster designs and excerpts from the storyboards, and much more. Oh, and a foreword from ol’ Burt Gummer himself, Michael Gross.

The book will be published on 23 July 2015 (price TBC) in paperback and ebook, initially from Amazon in all territories around the globe where that site exists. It will then roll out to other online stores and will be available to order from all good bookstores – it won’t be available for pre-order, but will instead magically appear on Amazon on the day of release.

Here’s a look at the final front cover:

SeekingPerfectionlorescoverJuly2015

Free chapter

Ahead of the release, I’m pleased to offer a download of the book’s first chapter to everyone who has subscribed to this blog and to anyone who subscribes to the blog via the box below between now and the publication date.

I’ll send you a copy of the chapter within 24 hours of this email, then another email on the day of release with links to where you can buy the book. After that you’ll only receive emails when new blog posts are published.

In the meantime, please feel free to let your friends, colleagues and family know that the book will be released on 23 July 2015 and if you’re interested in perhaps receiving a free copy of the book in the next week or so in exchange for a review on release of the book on Amazon or Goodreads, please email me at tremorsguide@gmail.com and let me know! I can’t guarantee a copy for everyone,

Finally, thank you for being part of this journey. From my perspective, as fan of the franchise for almost 25 years, Seeking Perfection is the book I wanted to read and the book I set out to write. I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Until 23 July, keep watching the ground!

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Help choose the Tremors 5 DVD cover

As we hurtle towards October and the release of the fourth Tremors sequel, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the title of the film and is offering fans a chance to decide on the cover.

While Tremors 5: Bloodlines has been rumoured to be the film’s title, it’s now been confirmed with the announcement on the film’s Facebook page that the studio behind October’s DVD/Blu-ray release wants feedback on which cover to select for October’s launch.

There’s still time to decide! Leave a comment and let us know which version we should use as the inspiration for the Tremors 5: Bloodlines artwork. Voting ends 4/14! #TremorsMovie

Posted by Tremors on Friday, 10 April 2015

I find it odd that the original Tremors font hasn’t been used, but perhaps this is still an early mock-up? Vote for yours in the embedded Facebook post above…

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Review: Attending the Tremors 25th anniversary screening

Review: Attending the Tremors 25th anniversary screening

It was a long way to go for a film screening – around 5,000 miles from the UK to Los Angeles – but the opportunity to see Tremors on the big screen and finally meet numerous cast and crew members in person on Thursday 26 March was hard to turn down.

The ArcLight on Sunset Boulevard was the location for Creature Features and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine’s 25th anniversary celebration, partly designed to celebrate the launch of the latter’s latest issue featuring a Tremors retrospective by the event’s host, David Weiner.

The organisers managed to pull together an amazing line-up of guests for the night, announcing that this was the biggest panel of attendees they’d ever gathered for an event. In fact there were so many cast and crew there that the Q&A had to be split into two, with one before a screening of the film and one after.

First-Tremors-panel

The first panel included Tremors director Ron Underwood, co-writers SS Wilson and Brent Maddock, producer Nancy Roberts, and actors Finn Carter (Rhonda LeBeck), Michael Gross (Burt Gummer), Conrad Bachmann (Dr Jim), Robert Jayne (Melvin Plug), Richard Marcus (Nestor) and Charlotte Stewart (Nancy).

Close-up-Tremors-panel

Conrad Bachmann on playing Dr Jim

David Weiner accurately described the event as resembling a high school reunion, before inviting Wilson to explain how the idea for Tremors came about, allowing him to tell the story of how he was atop a boulder in the desert when he wondered what might happen if he couldn’t get down due to their being something under the sand.

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Graboid origins revealed in archive videos

Graboid origins revealed in archive videos

Tom Woodruff, Jr and Alec Gillis are two names that may still be unfamiliar to some Tremors fans, but hopefully after the release of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors everyone will be aware of their work as creators of some of the most memorable creatures in film history, the Graboids.

Woodruff and Gillis founded special effects company Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc (ADI) in the late 1980s, creating the Graboid design for Tremors alongside co-creators SS Wilson and Brent Maddock, before going on to work on films such as Jumanji, Alien 3 and Starship Troopers.

Now the ADI team have raided their archives to bring fans a look at the creation of the Graboids back in 1989. From creating the Graboid tongues through to building the bodies, this is a fascinating series of videos that all Tremors fans need to watch during this 25th anniversary year.

I spoke to Woodruff and Gillis about their work on the Tremors franchise for Seeking Perfection and the guys will also be present at this month’s Tremors reunion screening in Hollywood.

Part 1

Part 2

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25th anniversary Tremors reunion screening

25th anniversary Tremors reunion screening

It’s shaping up to be a big year for Tremors fans with the announcement that a special 25th anniversary reunion screening of the first film will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday 26th March.

Creature Features and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine are hosting the event at the Arclight Hollywood cinema, reuniting members of the film’s cast and crew including co-creators SS Wilson and Brent Maddock, director Ron Underwood and actors Michael Gross and Finn Carter.

Scheduled to attend are:

  • Director Ron Underwood
  • Actor Michael Gross (Burt Gummer)
  • Actress Finn Carter (Rhonda LeBeck)
  • Producer Nancy Roberts
  • Screenwriters Brent Maddock & SS Wilson
  • Production Designer Ivo Cristante
  • Make-Up Effects artists Alec Gillis & Tom Woodruff
  • Visual Effects designers Robert & Dennis Skotak
  • and more to be added in the weeks ahead!
  • The Q&A panel will be moderated by David Weiner, Senior Writer with Famous Monsters and author of the upcoming Tremors cover story
  • (All guests are subject to schedule change.)

Advance tickets are $19.50 for general admission and $65 for VIP. VIP admission includes exclusive limited edition screen print, one issue of Famous Monsters #279 with alternate Tremors cover art, preferred seating, and entry into the pre-screening reception with food and beverages included.

It’s unlikely there’ll ever see be a screening of the film with such a strong guest list in attendance again, so if you can make it LA in March I’d recommend heading over to the Creature Features site to buy a ticket today and signing up to my Tremors newsletter for more news like this.

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Tremors in Spain’s Scifiworld magazine

Tremors in Spain’s Scifiworld magazine

With Tremors 25th anniversary now in full swing we can expect to see a number of magazines publishing features on the film and its sequels, with the latest being Spain’s Scifiworld magazine.

Journalist Octavio Lopez Sanjuan has been in touch to say that he interviewed Tremors co-creator/co-writer, SS Wilson, and Burt Gummer himself, Michael Gross, for the article, and the magazine is available in Spanish stores now.

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The Projection Booth discusses Tremors

The Projection Booth discusses Tremors

I’ve been a fan of The Projection Booth podcast for a few years now, a show that picks a random film each week and dissects it through discussion between its hosts, Mike White and Rob St. Mary, various co-hosts and usually somebody who’s either worked on said film or know a bit about its production.

I was honoured last year when I was invited on to discuss the Tremors franchise with Mike and Rob, at a time when I was fully expecting Seeking Perfection to be in the shops. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the sudden announcement of Tremors 5 has thrown that plan into disarray, but the guys at the Projection Booth wanted to celebrate Tremors’ 25th anniversary and were still happy to let me chat all things Graboid for over an hour.

They also interviewed Tremors co-creator/writer, SS Wilson, and director, Ron Underwood, unearthing some facts about the two men that even I didn’t know and causing Ron to mention an actor considered for the role of Earl that he failed to mention during our various conversations…

Please head over to the Projection Booth website to download the episode, and if you listen to it on iTunes perhaps leave the guys a rating as a small thank you for their hard work and enthusiasm.

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Tremors at 25: Looking ahead to Tremors 5

Tremors at 25: Looking ahead to Tremors 5

In the past week I’ve looked back 25 years to the first Tremors film, finding out why the fans still love it, hearing what director Ron Underwood thinks about the film and also getting some insight from other members of the crew on key sequences.

For this post I wanted to take a closer look at the upcoming fifth instalment in the Tremors franchise and hear what fans want from the movie.

We already know a few things about Tremors 5. Firstly, the original creative team behind each of the previous films and the TV series – writers/creators SS Wilson and Brent Maddock and producer  Nancy Roberts at Stampede Entertainmenthave admitted in a statement that the new script is based on their 2004 script for the film.

Although Stampede offered Universal Home Entertainment the opportunity to revive and refresh the franchise, they were forced to withdraw from Tremors 5 when it became clear they’d have no creative control. This also suggests that none of the extended “family” of behind the scenes crew will be returning to do their magic with a tiny budget, as they did on Tremors 2 to 4.

Instead, the script has been written by Tremors 3’s John Whelpley (who wrote 3’s script from Wilson, Maddock and Roberts’ story outline), while the director is Don Michael Paul, known for his work on low budget action films including Sniper: Legacy.

We also know that Michael Gross will be back as Burt Gummer, this time heading to South Africa to take on (according to the press release) “bigger and badder” Graboids and Ass Blasters. Jamie Kennedy will join the team as tech wizard, Travis, while a cast of South African actors will complete the cast.

So what would fans like to see in October’s sequel? I asked that question over on Facebook, and it seems that the absence of Wilson and Maddock is a cause for concern for many:

Glenn Maddock: “A script as funny as Brent & Steve’s and a budget to deliver a great movie.”

Tom Palleschi: “I just hope to see Universal and Don Michael Paul capture the same spirit and sense of fun that was so evident in all of the other films. Wilson, Maddock, Underwood, and all the other great folks at Stampede Entertainment put together something really special with the previous instalments, and I hope to see that tradition upheld.

As far as specifics go, I am incredibly excited to see Burt back in action and cannot wait to revisit that character for the first time in 12 years. I hope to see a new supporting cast as charming and fun to watch as those in the previous instalments, and I hope to see creatures (both new and old) designed and bright to life with the same level of creativity and detail that they have become so iconic for.

Mostly, I just want to experience the thrills I got every time I watched (and rewatched for the millionth time!) one of these films or the series as a kid.”

Tyler Ham: “I also hope it returns to a more “serious” tone like the first film. The first film, though silly at times, was very self aware – as the series continued, they began to sort of feed like parodies of themselves… Burt went from “Survivalist” to paranoid Doomsday prep-er type, for example.”

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Tremors at 25: 5 favourite scenes with commentary

One of the annoying things about the Tremors DVDs and Blu-ray released over the years is that the only one to include a commentary from anyone involved in their production is the Region 1 edition of Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, featuring director, S.S. Wilson.

In Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors, I offer a running commentary on all of the film’s key sequences, one based on interviews with many of those involved in their creation.

For this anniversary week I decided to look at five scenes from the film that I have a particular fondness for and list them along with some commentary from the filmmakers.

There’ll be a lot more detail in the book, but for now here’s a taste of what you can expect in a few months time…

5. Kevin Bacon’s hammer ordeal

Kevin-Bacon-hammer

A few minutes into the film we find Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) attempting to build a fence, with Val left to hammer the wire into place. Thing is, Bacon misses his target more than he hits it, leaving Fred Ward to stare at his apparent mistake before heading off screen.

But was it a mistake? “It was a mistake,” confirms director Ron Underwood. “It was Kevin really trying to pound that thing in. We realised at the time it was funny, and so Fred did his reaction and everything in that.”

4. Riding into the sunset

Western-sunset

I’m a sucker for classic Western, with cowboys riding the range while saving innocents from the bad guys. In Tremors, the baddies are the Graboids, while the cowboys in question are Val and Earl.

As the pair leave Perfection to travel to Bixby following the discovery of a Graboid tentacle, the film is slowed down as they ride into the sunset. “I’m really into speed changes in general,” said Underwood. “It was just a little speed control we had on the camera…that whole horseback ride was fun to do.”

Listen to more from Ron Underwood:

3. The pole vault sequence

One of the film’s most entertaining scenes takes place on some boulders, as Val, Earl and Rhonda are forced to pole vault to safety. It’s accompanied by a fun piece of music from composer Ernest Troost. “It’s one of my favourite scenes,” said Troost.

“I originally scored that scene for orchestra and when we put it into the movie everybody said, ‘It doesn’t have that sense of fun and exhilaration’. So I went in a completely different direction, back to the sort of funky, rootsy blues music.” More

Tremors at 25: TremorsCast 6 – Ron Underwood

For the second post celebrating Tremors’ silver anniversary week I’ve published a new episode of the TremorsCast featuring some audio from my interview with the film’s director, Ron Underwood: the episode is now in audioboom and will be in iTunes soon.

ron-sYesterday I published a post featuring memories from fans on the subject of their earliest Tremors memories, while today’s podcast includes memories from someone who was involved in Tremors from the start.

Ron Underwood had been a friend and colleague of writers SS Wilson and Brent Maddock for a number of years before they collaborated on the development of the script that would become Tremors. Our original interview took in all aspects of pre-production, casting, filming, editing and reception of Tremors and it’s all in the book, but here I’ve included some of our discussion about the film’s casting process.

I also spoke to Ron about the film’s release in 1990 and Universal’s decision to sell it more as a traditional horror film rather than the comedy horror that it was. 

Here’s the episode, let me know what you think in the comments section.

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