Tremors

Seeking Perfection: December 2014 update

It’s Christmas Eve as I write this blog post, a day that I had hoped would find Tremors fans around the globe eagerly awaiting their copy of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors in their stocking tomorrow morning.

Sadly, my plans for a December 2014 publication date were foiled by a few factors that I’ll try to summarise here.

Although I’d heard rumblings of a fifth Tremors film earlier in the year, nothing was confirmed until October, meaning I rapidly had to rewrite the book’s ending to incorporate what we knew about the sequel. On top of that, I underestimated the amount of editing required: I’ve had a few editors read through the book, each of them asking questions about parts of the text or noting spelling mistakes.

All of this is part and parcel of writing a book, but I’m pleased to say that it’s now almost complete, bar a few final tweaks and the addition of photographs, which I’m now working on.

Rather than give another estimated publication date, I’m just going to say that the book won’t be released in the first few months of 2015 but that I hope to announce something in late January. While I wanted the book to be out for the “official” anniversary date of 19 January (the date in 1990 that Tremors was released in US cinemas), I’d rather not rush it. Fans have waited this long for a complete history of the franchise, hopefully another few months won’t be too much of a problem.

In the meantime, I’ve heard about a number of exciting ways the 25th anniversary will be celebrated in print, video and audio in 2015, and I’ll be publishing blog posts throughout next year to help spread the word.

I’ll also publish more podcasts featuring updates on the book and the Tremors universe, while snippets of my interviews featured in the book will be included.

Finally, here’s an early Christmas present, some never-before-published behind the scenes photos from the set of Tremors in 1989. The first was taken by actress Charlotte Stewart (Nancy) and shows her and Kevin Bacon between takes.

Copyright Charlotte Stewart

The second photo comes from production designer Ivo Cristante, and shows an early stage in the building of Burt and Heather Gummer’s home.

Copyright Ivo Cristante

Copyright Ivo Cristante

Have a fantastic Christmas and a Tremors-filled 2015!

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Kevin Bacon to return in Tremors reboot?

Anyone following the progress of this book will know that 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the world’s greatest underground worm movie, Tremors. Now it seems Kevin Bacon wants to celebrate the fact.

Despite my best attempts to contact Kevin for the book, he’s not yet got back to me for an interview, which made the following interview such a surprise when I watched it this morning.

According to numerous reports over the years, Kevin considers Tremors to be a low point in his career, stemming from various personal issues in his own life at the time. Yesterday, in an interview with HuffPost Live, Kevin admitted he’d recently watched the film and was “pleasantly surprised” by it. He also admitted that he has “a real dream to reboot it, and to see the character 25 years down the line…to see what that guy may have become.”

Kevin also admitted to sleepwalking during the shoot in Lone Pine, California, “saving” his pregnant wife from giant worms.

How would you feel about a new Tremors film revisiting the character of Val McKee 25 years on? Should it also reunite him with original co-star, Fred Ward? We already know from Tremors 2: Aftershocks that Val married Rhonda LaBeck after the events of the first film – where is he now?

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TremorsCast 5: Ariana Richards

Episode five of the TremorsCast is now online and in iTunes:  this time you’ll hear some audio from my interview with actress Ariana Richards, Mindy in Tremors and Tremors 3: Back to Perfection and also one of the stars of Jurassic Park.

The book’s manuscript continues to come together, though there’s still a way to go before it’s ready for its December publication date. There are still some interviews to carry out for the TV series and there’s been a lot of fact checking going on lately. It’s looking like the first film will make up the bulk of the book, around a quarter of it, and the rest will be devoted to the sequels and TV series.

Last month found Tremors being discussed by the UK’s Hammered Horror podcast and they kindly invited me on to discuss the Tremors franchise and the upcoming book. I’m not sure if I made much sense, but if you want to hear a fun take on the Tremors movies, have a listen to their podcast.

Elsewhere, Burt Gummer himself, Michael Gross, recently took to Twitter and Facebook to share photos from his various films and TV series and to offer news on upcoming projects. Fans of the Tremors TV show can also find Rosalita, aka actress Gladise Jimenez, on Facebook and Twitter.

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TremorsCast 4: Tony Genaro interview

Episode four of the TremorsCast is now online and in iTunes, featuring some of my interview with Tremors and Tremors 3 actor, Tony Genaro, who sadly passed away at the start of May.

The Hollywood reporter announced the news on 13 May, with the headline Tremors actor Tony Genaro dies at 72, which shows what an impact the film had on his career. I read the news via a tweet from actor Kevin Bacon, which read “Sorry to hear about this. Great guy. Great actor. RIP”

Tony also starred in films such as The Milagro Beanfield War, La Bamba, Heart and Souls, The Craft and World Trade Center.

I spoke to Tony in October 2013, catching him somewhat by surprise in his Hollywood home. I’d called on the off chance he might be there and he was happy to give me an hour of his time to discuss Tremors and Tremors 3. The audio gives flavour of the interview and his personality, though I should apologise for the sound levels. I wasn’t planning to make podcasts at the time, so it’s not the best, but I have boosted the levels where possible.

You can find the book’s cover and trailer on the Fangoria website.

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Seeking Perfection cover and trailer online

Never judge a book by its cover. That’s a saying I’m now in two minds about as I write this post, as I’ve seen the gorgeous new cover of Seeking Perfection – I think it’ll be worth buying the book for that alone!

I now have the hard task of living up to the standards set by my good friend, Edinburgh-based illustrator, Ben Morris, who took my brief for a Tremors-inspired cover and created a thing of beauty.

I then handed the cover over to two very talented Edinburgh-based creatives, animator Kayla Stuhr and musician Emília Rovira Alegre, who made a stunning trailer to announce the impending arrival of Seeking Perfection.

Both the cover and trailer premiered last week on one the world’s biggest horror websites, Fangoria, and now I can publish them here. First up is the front cover of the book:

SeekingPerfectioncover

And then the trailer:

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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TremorsCast 3: Brent Maddock interview

Episode three of the TremorsCast is now online and in iTunes, featuring some of my interview with Tremors co-creator and writer, Brent Maddock. Brent also co-wrote the Tremors sequels/episodes of the series and directed Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.

There’s news of my interview with actress Gladise Jimenez, who played Rosalita Sanchez in Tremors: The Series. Gladise took time out to speak to me from her home in Los Angeles and recalled working on set in Mexico, stunts that went wrong and her thoughts on the end of the series.

I was also able to speak to actor Robert Jayne, who starred as Melvin in Tremors, Tremors 3 and Tremors the Series. A veteran of American TV shows and films, Robert had a lot to say about his work on the first film and I’ll hopefully be able to bring you some of the audio in a future episode.

The episode is only 10 minutes long and you can sign up below to the e-newsletter for notification of when the next episode is online.

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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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