If you know me or have been following the work that I’ve been doing here at Daily Dead for the last decade, then declaring that I am a huge Tremors fan here should not come as any kind of surprise. It’s a film series that has meant the world to me for more than three decades now, and not only did I have the distinct pleasure of covering the last three Tremors sequels, but I even chatted with Jonathan Melville, the writer behind Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors, because I was just so fascinated by everything that I read in his book. In fact, StudioADI’s effects on the original Tremors were partly responsible for my wanting to write about FX artists in the first place.
So, when it was recently brought to my attention that not only was there a planned Tremors reboot in the works, but that it was being helmed by Bill Watterson, the innovative filmmaker behind Dave Made a Maze (a movie that I absolutely adored), but then it was subsequently shelved by Universal Pictures’ 1440 Entertainment division, I must admit, I was beyond heartbroken. Knowing my adoration for the film series (I even enjoyed the short-lived TV series from the early ’00s), an industry friend reached out to me about the project and shared some materials that gave me some insights into what Watterson was planning for his reboot, including the details on the setting (not Perfection, but most likely nearby) and the characters at the center of the story.
Also, I was told that Watterson had been pushing for a return to relying on practical effects for the creatures in the Tremors reboot, which would have been cool to see since so many of the sequels in the original franchise ended up relying more on VFX monsters than practical ones. And if you’ve seen Dave Made a Maze, you undoubtedly should have an understanding of just how important going the practical route is for Watterson as a storyteller based on what he was able to create for his debut feature.
One thing I will say is that none of the materials I saw for the reboot directly referenced the Graboids themselves, so I don’t know for sure how closely these creatures would have resembled the original dirt-dwelling monstrosities that first terrorized a small town in Nevada back in 1990. But I did notice a lovely tribute to Fred Ward in some of the stuff that I read, which made my Tremors-loving heart very happy to see, especially in the wake of the actor’s death last year.
But even though I was able to check out some breakdowns and a draft deck for the proposed Tremors reboot, I didn’t want to stop there, just because that didn’t necessarily tell me that this really was a project that was ready to roll (plus, my searches on IMDbPro came up empty, too). So I did some digging on Watterson’s Vimeo page and noticed an intriguing video entitled Monster Worm Reference Clips which sure as heck seemed related to a potential Tremors project. After discovering that video, I decided to reach out directly to the source to find out exactly what had happened with this possible Tremors reboot.
While Watterson couldn’t fully elaborate on any exact details surrounding the project due to legal reasons, he did confirm that the project had been greenlit by Universal 1440 Entertainment but was no longer moving forward. Watterson also shared his thoughts on getting to be a part of a new Tremors project, explaining that it was something that he was extremely enthusiastic about doing, that he was proud of the work that he had put into the reboot, and that he knows that Tremors fans would have flipped over what he had planned for this new film.
So, there you go. We were going to have a new Tremors movie, and now we’re not. Boo.
Truth be told, all of this is a real bummer for me as a movie fan for a variety of reasons. One, I felt like the original Tremors franchise had wrapped up perfectly at the end of Tremors: Shrieker Island, so if there was ever a time to “start over,” that time is now. Two, we lost out on a Tremors reboot after we already lost out on a Tremors television series back in 2017/2018, so I’m getting a sense of déjà vu here with being denied more Tremors yet again. And finally, I’m someone who will always get excited about the possibility of more creature features, so losing out on seeing Graboids in action is just a bummer all around.
Considering Universal 1440 Entertainment specializes in producing movies that don’t cost a ton of money, I can’t imagine that the budget for the proposed Tremors reboot was a bank-breaker by any means. And in a perfect world, considering their track record for reboots and their existing relationship with Universal, a brand-new take on Tremors feels like something that would fit perfectly in Blumhouse’s wheelhouse. So, here’s hoping that maybe the movie gods can intervene and we can get a new Tremors out into the world, one way or another (hello, Jason Blum!).