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Tremors

What's Shakin' Bacon?

10 Things You Might Not Know About Tremors

Catch the Tremors movies this month on IFC.

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Universal Pictures/Everett Collection

When Tremors was released, back in January of 1990, it was a flop. No one ran out to see this goofy horror flick with the guy from Footloose and the dad from Family Ties. Kevin Bacon himself considered it the nadir of his career, telling The Telegraph, “I broke down and fell to the sidewalk, screaming to my pregnant wife, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing a movie about underground worms!’” Then a funny thing happened. The box office bomb gained new life on VHS and cable, eventually becoming a cult classic. Now with four sequels, a SyFy channel series, and talk of a new show in the works, even Kevin Bacon can’t deny the film’s place in pop culture history. Before you catch the Tremors movies on IFC this month, whet your appetite with a few worm-y facts you may not know.

10. Slither has a Tremors Easter egg

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

James Gunn, the director behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, is a horror fanatic. He grew up obsessing over anything with a little guts and gore, from Night of the Living Dead to Shivers. But when it came time to make a big budget horror flick of his own, he wanted to emulate the tongue-in-cheek fun of one of his favorites, Tremors. Not only did his 2006 horror hit Slither feature some worm-based horror, but he even named the school where Elizabeth Banks’ character taught the “Earl Bassett Community School” after Fred Ward’s long-running franchise hero.


9. You can thank test audiences for that final smooch

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Tremors original ending featured Val and Earl riding off into the sunset, before deciding they could never leave their spot of dirt in the desert and turning around. When test audiences got a load of the ending, they were not pleased. What happened to Rhonda, the pants-doffing, monster-fleeing love interest at the heart of the movie? They wanted some smooching, so that’s what the filmmakers gave them, quickly reshooting the ending to feature a big ol’ kiss that consummated the sexual tension that had been built up throughout the movie.


8. To get a PG-13 rating, the F-bomb didn’t fly

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

While thrilling, Tremors isn’t as racy as your average horror flick. But that almost wasn’t the case. The MPAA originally gave the movie an R rating due to some salty language. To get the more family friendly PG-13 mark, and presumably a larger audience, all but one F-bomb was dropped from the film. But what an F-bomb it is.


7. The original opening was creepier

The sight of Mr. Footloose relieving himself into a giant canyon perfectly kicks off the movie. But originally the film started with the town drunk’s mule becoming a tasty Graboid lunch. The darker opening was shot but ultimately scrapped by the filmmakers.


6. Michael Gross’ transition from sitcom dad to worm killing warrior took one day

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Michael Gross, known to ’80s kids as the kindly dad from Family Ties, was ready for a new challenge as his long-running sitcom was coming to an end. When Family Ties wrapped its final season in April of 1989, he shaved his beard, caught a plane, and found himself killing worms in the middle of the desert the next day. He’s since gone on to star in every iteration of the franchise and regularly Tweets fun photos and stories from the Tremors set.


5. Shooting the movie gave Kevin Bacon sleepwalking nightmares

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Kevin Bacon has admitted to suffering from anxiety. Battling killer worms in the middle of desert would no doubt exacerbate the issue. That may be why Bacon suffered from sleepwalking nightmares while shooting the horror classic. He says he would sometimes pick up his then pregnant wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, “and sleep-walk and carry her out onto the street..She’d be like ‘Honey, honey, honey, you’re asleep!’ and I’d say ‘No! I’ve gotta get you out of here!'” It makes you wonder how fun his nightmares must have been when he was shooting She’s Having a Baby.


4. Finn Carter refused to rehearse the pantsing scene

Tremors pantsing 1

As much as Tremors is remembered today for its killer worms and humor, there’s no doubt the most impressionable moment for boys of a certain age was when seismology student Rhonda LeBeck’s pants got caught in some barbed wire, and needed to be shed in a hurry lest she become a Gradboid snack. Actress Finn Carter refused to rehearse the scene, saying she wanted her response to be authentic on the day of shooting. Because there’s nothing worse than an inauthentic pantsing.


3. The original title changed because of an SNL sketch

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Tremors is a catchy title, but the movie almost had a far more on-the-nose moniker. For most of pre-production, the film was known as “Land Sharks,” only changing the name when the screenwriter realized it bore a similarity to a certain famous SNL sketch.


2. The car scene was supposed to be more epic

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Originally the film was supposed to feature a scene where a car is swallowed into the earth, pulling its terrified passengers to their deaths. Unfortunately, the special dirt employed to swallow the car kept hardening, leaving the car sitting there above the surface. Director Ron Underwood had to cut much of the scene, and simply imply the car’s destruction by showing headlights slowly tilting up towards the sky. The scene may not have been as graphic, but it certainly was no less terrifying thanks to some quick thinking.


1. The Graboid design was originally far more phallic

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

It took some doing to land on a design for the Graboid that everyone could agree on. Designers Tom Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis originally planned for the monster to have a turtle-like neck, until everyone agreed it resembled a giant foreskin. Apparently producer Gale Ann Hurd said that when the designs were faxed over, “all the women in [her] office would pass ’em around and giggle.” Although, for our money, a giant penis that craves human flesh sounds like one heck of a horror movie.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

via GIPHY

IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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