Every movie in the franchise, ranked
There are very few franchises as schlocky and endearing as the Tremors franchise. Starting in 1989 and continuing through 2020 (so far), the Monster worm franchise has captivated audiences with its unique cast of characters, crude humor, and throwback Western locations. This unique blend has made it one of Hollywood’s weirdest and most endearing franchises, garnering a loyal following of Graboid enthusiasts and blowing away one after another. Although its seventh episode, Tremors: Isle of Howlers, seems to be the last, its unique position in the history of cinema will be duly noted by its true aficionados. Here is a ranking of the franchise:
seven Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell (2018)
Considered by fans to be the weakest of the bunch, the story takes place at an underwater research facility in Canada. While the change of scenery brings a fresh perspective to the mix, the story and characters felt throughout, providing little entertainment and appearing mostly bland on screen. The constant presence of Michael Gross is what gives the film a semblance of redeeming qualities, and his ever-so-perfect portrayal of Burt shines through every moment of the screen.
6 Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015)
After a hiatus of more than 11 years between films, the Tremors The franchise returned in 2015 with a fifth installment, more focused on creating new monsters and characters. After the exploits of a surviving nature-centric web series, a parody of works like Man vs. Wild, a group of adventurers seek to explore the South African jungle, only to be caught up in a battle between rival tribes and a couple of Graboids and their many variants, introducing a new member along the way. While entertaining and a change of scenery, it lacked the fun quality of other films, offering little comic relief and less personality. It was a step in the right direction, however, one that freed the franchise from the wilderness and into new places it could use for its creatures.
5 Tremors: Island of the Howlers (2020)
The last payment of the Tremors franchise happens to be the best of the last three films made. A group of mercenaries find themselves stranded on a Graboid-filled island called Dark Island; they call Burt, who is currently living off the grid after his many bloody exploits with the monsters, for some help. The monsters in this movie are smarter and genetically modified, allowing them to wreak more havoc on our characters and surrounding areas. The film plays with an interesting combination of Predator and Aliens, weaving elements of both franchises into the story (a queen and a hunt from weakest to strongest). The franchise is the most schlocky and creative, kicking off adventures with more than memorable sacrifice and homage.
4 Tremors 3: Return to Perfection (2001)
The third film follows the well-established Burt Gummer, a peculiar character with a passion for guns and explosives who played the supporting role to the rest of the cast. Burt would go on to become the main protagonist of the franchise from this point on, establishing himself as one of the most iconic cult characters recently brought to screen. After hearing that Perfection is in disarray due to land buying and mismanagement, Burt visits his old town in hopes of helping. It turns out that Graboids and Shriekers decided to pay a little visit at the same time as well. However, as they are slowly hunted down, a new monster is introduced, aptly dubbed by Burn as Ass-Blasters, pterodactyl-like creatures that lurk in the sky and also attack in groups. While the action was all you could expect from the franchise, the story lacked energy and interest, lacking the necessary suspense that was prevalent mostly in the previous two films.
3 Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004)
After three films in almost the same location, the fourth installment travels back in time to the Wild West, where the formula is repeated with a more primitive approach. Following the story of Burt Gummer’s great-grandfather, Hiram Gummer, as he begins to uncover the mystery of what exactly the Graboids are, it brings a new layer of tropes to the franchise, stares to saloons and railroads. The cast of characters is particularly endearing, playing off each other well and forming the strong bonds that hold the city together even 100 years after the events that took place there. It also has the best soundtrack in the entire franchise, a callback to the triumphant, commanding music of old Hollywood westerns.
2 Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996)
The sequel to the 1990 original introduces a new set of monsters while maintaining the same formula. Earl is hired by a private company to deal with Graboid’s problems in his oil fields. After a string of successful encounters, he and his partner are faced with a new type of monster called a howler. Despite their small size, their rapid reproduction and thirst for food make them a formidable enemy, compromising their camp and forcing our characters to hide in safety. The film featured the franchises trademark slapstick humor while maintaining a level of suspense that subsequent films began to lose. The characters do a great job of playing against each other, keeping the jokes going even in the face of tough odds. It has everything prevalent in the original with a few steps behind, managing to maintain a level of composure and focus on the plot that the others have tipped off.
1 Tremors (1990)
Nothing is going to beat the original. After some mysterious happenings in the small town of Perfection, local boys Earl and Val insist on taking charge of their discovery. It’s only when the threat to be revealed is giant worms bursting from the ground that their attention turns to extermination. Played at a slow pace for the first 45 minutes of the film, the plot quickly turns into a story of survival and maneuver, where our characters are forced to play a complicated game of height and explosives. The creativity behind the effects and the sheer charm of our two lead characters are what helped the film grow to the legendary status it has today. The Graboid monster was a fresh and interesting creature, joining the ranks of many other famous movie monsters. RedLetterMedia’s Jay Bauman said it best when he described it as a flash movie in a bottle, where every element came together to form a fun and entertaining story that otherwise wouldn’t have worked had it been made. under different conditions. The whole vibe is campy and stylistically pleasing, and it will stay that way as long as we care about pulpy stories about monsters from the deep.