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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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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