Look, I’m a big fan of Tremors. Have been since I saw the first movie as a kid back in 1990, and fell in love with the citizens of Perfection, Nevada. So when the news came down that Kevin Bacon and Blumhouse were putting together a pilot for a new Tremors TV show, I was pretty ecstatic. Blumhouse has made a name for itself in the horror industry by producing a number of low-budget, high-earning films that other studios might have passed on, and seemed like the perfect partner to get a TV series off the ground.
Then we heard the news that Vincenzo Natali – another horror veteran who had recently done a lot of work on TV – would be helming the pilot for Syfy, and all seemed right in the world. Well, almost all. See, we also recently saw the release of the sixth film in the franchise, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell. The ongoing adventures of Burt Gummer have continued the story that first began back in 1990’s Tremors, across different continents and with different versions of the Graboids, further expanding the mythology of the series. And in some ways, the films fully moved past the adventures of Val McKee and Earl Basset in favor of the militaristic Gummer.
So when the trailer for Kevin Bacon’s Tremors pilot was released after the announcement that Syfy would not be picking up the series, we were a little saddened to see how the TV series planned to exist alongside the film franchise… which was by pretending those films (and related TV series) never existed. You can check out the mostly Graboid-less trailer below:
The trailer starts with some fan service for Kevin Bacon, revealing him to be the “hot guy who killed all the Graboids” from the original Tremors film. Unfortunately, what the trailer also does is reveal that this series couldn’t possibly exist alongside the 20 years of film franchise history due to the fact that everyone in the TV pilot reveals that the Graboids disappeared after the first film. So while it’s still pretty amazing to see Bacon return to the role of Val McKee and the trailer included some tense scenes we would have loved to see, it’s the overall lack of cohesion in the already established universe that sinks this one for me.
Regardless, let’s take a look at some of the good points of the trailer:
Kevin Bacon as Val McKee
As a testament to Kevin Bacon here, this role feels very organic. I truly believe that we are seeing Val McKee again, and that is certainly commendable. Unfortunately, it’s a Val McKee out of step with the established continuity, as due to the most recent film we know that McKee is still with his wife Rhonda (from the first film), and the two even have a grown daughter who is quite the Graboid expert.
“Not a sound…”
One scene from the trailer really stood out, as a girl is trapped in a partially buried car and forced to shuffle slowly across the desert. Not only does this scene call back to the crushing fate of the Doctor and his wife in the first Tremors, it also served to ramp up the tension in the trailer, albeit for a short time.
There are a few moments in the trailer that reveal the series still existed firmly within the horror-comedy genre, with Val McKee dropping a few lines like his “head in the sand” observation, and the attempted firing of a missile by comedian P.J. Byrne, who was actually playing the character Melvin Plugg AKA the snot-nosed whiner from the first film (and the third film, and the TV series).
Because what better artist could represent the wild wild west of the ’90s better than Jon Bon Jovi, whose “Blaze of Glory” is used to kick off the trailer.
As for the worst part of the trailer?
Where in the hell are the Graboids?
While we see the decidedly low-budget Screamers-like dust trail a few times, but we only get one quick shot of an apparent Graboid, and it doesn’t really look like anything we’ve seen before. The TV series apparently decided to double down on the sandworm idea instead of a giant underground monster, but there could also be a lot of unfinished CGI considering the series never made it past the pilot stage. Still, a show about Graboids without any Graboids?
Maybe we better just leave this to the professionals, like Burt Gummer and his crew.
Images: Syfy, Universal