Tremors 2

TremorsCast 2: SS Wilson interview

Episode two of the TremorsCast is now online and in iTunes, featuring exclusive news of a brand new interview for the book (hint: she’s probably sold more albums than you or I have had hot dinners) and some audio from my 2011 interview with SS Wilson, one of the brains behind the original Tremors and all of the sequels and the TV show.

“On weekends the ranges [at the Naval Air Weapons Station in the Mojave Desert] were open to the employees,” said Wilson when I asked about how the inspiration for Tremors came to him. “One day I was sitting out these on these boulders and thought how interesting it would be if there was something that could move through the sand like a fish and I couldn’t get off the rock. This was in 1975 and I jotted the idea down and filed it away.”

It took a number of years for the project to come to fruition.

“We discovered on Short Circuit that as writers we were shut out of the filmmaking process. Our agent told us to go into our list of ideas to set us up as producers on one of them. One of those was Land Sharks, based on the idea I’d had in 1975, and she liked it.

“It asked what would happen if a small town was attacked, like in Invasion of the Saucer Men, and the only people to solve the problem are the two local handymen who they look to to solve all their problems? That’s how Val and Earl were created.”

As the podcast is hosted on Audioboo I’m limited to just 10 minutes, but that’s perfect for me just now.

The TremorsCast is an insight into the upcoming Seeking Perfection rather than a replacement for the finished book – hopefully fans will enjoy hearing the cast and crew recalling their time working on the films/TV show.

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TremorsCast 1: Introduction

While I should be spending every spare moment writing the first draft of Seeking Perfection, I’ve decided to take a bit of time off to record the first episode of the TremorsCast.

With around 50 interviews recorded for the book, I’ve decided to share some of the audio for a new podcast which I’ll release as often as time permits. For the first episode you’ll just hear me, but for episode two I’ll be featuring SS Wilson, the man who came up with the original idea for Tremors and who has been involved in every film and the TV series as co-writer, director, producer…you name it, he’s done it (almost).

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Book update #1: Addressing The Bacon Situation

I thought it was about time I wrote a short update on how things are going with Seeking Perfection, assuming anyone is interested in that sort of thing. I also wanted to address The Bacon Situation.

The first draft

As I’ve been tweeting and Facebooking recently, I’m currently writing the first draft of the book, taking hundreds of hours of interviews and trying to condense them into something that makes sense.

Not that the people I spoke to didn’t make sense, it’s just that sometimes there are conflicting memories of who exactly said or did what, or else there’s a reference to a story that was told in another chapter that might work better elsewhere…I know, I’m already getting boring. The point is that the book is now underway, something that seemed impossible just over a year ago when I decided to try and get this project off the ground.

Back then, I knew I wanted to read more about the Tremors films but couldn’t find much out there. Dedicated Tremors fans can trawl the internet and DVD extras for snippets of stories, but there isn’t much out there from the lady who had to oversee the transportation of the Graboids from LA to Lone Pine on the first film, the guy who played Señor Ortega in Tremors 2 or a writer of an unmade script from Tremors: The Series. If I was able to track any of them down, would any of them want to talk to a fan in the UK via Skype?

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LA Tremors screening with Michael Gross Q&A

Michael-Gross

LA-based Tremors fans should get themselves over to the website of the Aero Theatre to book tickets for a very special event that’s taking place on Saturday 22 March: a screening of Tremors from an original 35mm print with a special appearance from Michael “Burt Gummer” Gross himself!

The cinema announced the screening via Twitter and the event is likely to be very popular, particularly due to the presence of the only actor to appear in every incarnation of the Tremors franchise.

Michael has been very supportive during the writing of Seeking Perfection, discussing his work on the films and the series, while offering a unique insight into how he wanted to portray the character of Hiram Gummer in Tremors 4

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Monstrous Wildlife: Essential knowledge about Graboids

I realise that the majority of people who read this blog know that Tremors was a documentary, but there are still some poor souls who are convinced Val, Earl, Burt and the other Perfectionites were actors.

Never fear! If someone seems confused about Graboids and their ways, just point them in the direction of this rather nifty wildlife film created by Frank Robnik, a student in Germany. Robnik wanted to explain how Graboids survived deep underground and this animation does the job admirably.

Monstrous Wildlife from Frank Robnik on Vimeo.

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Welcome to the Seeking Perfection blog

Welcome to the Seeking Perfection blog

“We decided to leave town just one damn day to late!“- Val McKee, Tremors (1990)

Welcome to the new blog for Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors, the first book dedicated to the four-film Tremors franchise and its short-lived TV spin-off.

It’s been almost 25 years since the worms turned in the small town of Perfection, Nevada, and over a decade since the last sighting of either a Graboid or survivalist Burt Gummer. Remarkably, in all that time, nobody has gone behind-the-scenes of the Tremors films or 13 episode TV series to unearth the facts behind the fiction or to find out what’s been happening to the Perfectionites lately.

My name’s Jonathan Melville, a UK-based film journalist. I’ve been a fan of the Tremors films since the early 1990s, when I caught the first film on late night BBC One. Captivated by the deft mix of horror, sci-fi, comedy and Western, the intervening years have found me searching out the sequels on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray and watching the TV show on the Sci-Fi Channel, all the while hoping that somebody would one day write the definitive guide to the franchise.

In 2011, SFX Magazine published my 21st anniversary feature on the films, in which I interviewed both Tremors co-creator Steve “SS” Wilson and Burt Gummer himself, actor Michael Gross. Finding myself with pages of unused material, I decided to find out if any other members of the cast and crew of Tremors would be willing to be interviewed.

Since early 2013 I’ve spoken to many of those who have been involved in all aspects of the films and TV show, receiving unwavering support from the team at Stampede Entertainment, the company who produced the Tremors franchise for Universal. I’ve had input from Steve Wilson and his writing partner, Brent Maddock, Tremors director Ron Underwood, producer Nancy Roberts and dozens of the creative people who brought the films to our screens.

I’ve also interviewed most of the cast of the first film and many cast members of the sequels and TV series, all of whom have given up their time to discuss the fun they had running around the desert being chased by giant underground worms.

I’m currently writing Seeking Perfection, which will look at how the idea for Tremors came to Steve and Brent and its troubled journey to the big screen. It will take you on set in 1989, introduce you to the cast and crew who worked alongside the Graboids and discuss how the film was received by audiences in 1990. All the sequels and the TV series will get the same treatment, plus there’ll be a look at the unmade fifth film, Tremors V: Thunder from Down Under.

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