Tremors Franchise Ranking – All Seven Movies and the TV Series!

The newest Tremors franchise installment back in 2020, Shrieker Island revealed that April 14 would forever be Burt Gummer Day. For the special day this week, I thought I’d watch every bit of Tremors content that was available and give it all a definitive ranking.

This is a franchise that deserves more attention for its longevity alone. To cap it off, it gave us one of the greatest characters in the history of horror, the Graboid Hunter himself: Burt Gummer. Burt is the epitome of a true American in terms of both compassion and his personal battle against tyranny. A man who is always looking over his shoulder for the government to take away his rights, but also looking out for his neighbors and loved ones. No matter which installment of the franchise we are discussing, Burt is one of, if not the highlight of the experience. He single-handedly put the Tremors franchise on his back and carried it sequel after sequel… and in the wake of the latest installment, I still want more.

So in honor of Burt Gummer Day, here is my ranking of all things Tremors.

8. Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell

Kicking off the last spot in the ranking is the sixth movie of the Tremors franchise, loosely titled A Cold Day in Hell. After all of the previous movies taking place in the heat of the desolate Nevada desert, I was super excited to see the Graboids in a completely different environment for a change; an icy tundra. But what we got was 5 minutes of an opening scene on a frozen landscape, while the rest of the movie takes place in Canada during the warm, summer season. I felt so ripped off. They put the word “cold” in the title and all we get is the equivalent of windbreaker weather in the Midwest. Story wise, I felt like there was nothing to this installment that moved the franchise forward. It could be deleted from the series and never really be missed. All it did was introduce the daughter of Val and Rhonda, which really doesn’t do much but hopefully plants a seed for future films. Otherwise, it’s mostly forgottentable. The only saving grace for this movie was the effects. The CGI actually stood up pretty well and didn’t further take me out of it. But all in all, this was the poorest effort to date.

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection

7. Tremors 3: Back to Perfection

Here is where I probably begin to delineate from the norm when it comes to the Tremors franchises I have seen a lot of love for this installment. For me, this is where the franchise took its first dive. The only character I really had any interest in was, of course, Burt. Everyone else just kind of felt like they were there to boost the body count, fill a specific role, or act as a cameo from previous films. Burt was in his prime form, showing off his ingenuity and firepower. If there’s one man you want to be trapped in a trailer with while being attacked by man-eating creatures, having seemingly no weapons to defend yourselves, it’s Burt Gummer. Despite the low-budget CGI and straight-to-video feel, the biggest positive to come out of this movie was the next evolution of the Graboid; *sighs* the Ass Blaster. I loved seeing the next natural stage of the monster in the form of flight and that its lifecycle, but I really wish they chose a better name. Graboids and Shriekers nailed it. Ass Blaster, not so much. Other than that, I just wasn’t into this one as much as I was the others.

Tremors franchise series

6. Tremors: The Series

In an attempt to keep the Graboid ball rolling, the Tremors franchise creators signed a deal with the SyFy Channel in 2003 for a short-lived series. It was canceled after one season. The series centered around Perfection once again and the surrounding valley. Most series coming from the SyFy channel during the time were of low-quality with bad CGI and cult followings. This series was no exception. However, there were a few things I found really great about the series. In order to keep the lore fresh, they introduced the Mixmaster gene, which was created by scientists who set up in the valley to study the Graboids. The Mixmaster gene allowed genetic mutations and cross-species breeding. I loved this idea because thirteen episodes about just Graboids in Perfection would’ve gotten old real fast. Instead we got a whole plethora of monsters, including a prehistoric, man-eating shrimp. Burt once again carries the show here, with his new sidekick, Tyler, who is now running Graboid tours. They have to think fast every episode to find new and innovative ways to kill whatever threats are coming out of the desert that day. Lastly, it included some great characters, played by Dean Norris, Christopher Lloyd, Nick Turturro, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Rooker, and Branscombe Richmond. If the franchise is to continue, I think this series created a nice little roadmap to move forward and expand the universe.

5. Tremors 5: Bloodlines

After an 11 year hiatus from the prequel of the series, Tremors 4, the franchise was ready to pick itself up, dust itself off, and slay some new monsters. It starts off with a modernizing sequence of Burt Gummer footage, who now has his own social media presence with his popular survivalist videos. It certainly puts us in line with the times and helps leave the past behind. This installment is a huge jump forward in both production value and overall quality. Getting a serviceable actor in Jamie Kennedy to play the role of Gummer’s estranged son was a good move and they slowly build a rapport with their push and pull relationship. The Graboids/Shriekers/Ass-Blasters are all bigger and badder and look like they’ve been pumping steroids for the previous decade. There’s a change of scenery as we leave Perfection and head to the cradle of civilization in Africa. Overall, this one was a good jump start with a defibrillator to the Tremors heart.

4. Tremors 4: The Legend Begins

How do you kill a 30 foot, 10 ton “dirt dragon” without any kind of modern firepower in the 19th century? With creativity, will to fight, and a huge pair of balls, that’s how. The 4th movie of the franchise takes us back to 1889 in the mining town of Rejection (soon to be Perfection). We may not be able to celebrate Burt in this movie, but we get to meet his Great Grandfather, Hiram (also played by the talented Michael Gross). To me, one Gummer is as good as another. This was the gummer that started it all. It has a Spaghetti Western feel, with strong straight-to-video vibes. None of it deters you away from the story being told here. It’s a nice simple precursor story told very well and very concise. What really stuck out to me was the creativity that was used in fighting the Graboids. Being set in a time where there is no typical Gummer firepower, it’s a bit frightening as a viewer knowing exactly what they’re going up against. From pulling a Graboid into a giant traction engine to luring one full speed into a giant saw blade, splitting its head in half, it lived up to the spirit of previous films when it comes to the cleverness of man over the power of the beast.

Tremors franchise movies

3. Tremors 2: Aftershocks

While Burt and Val get most of the glory when it comes to the Tremors franchise, I have to give it up to Earl in this direct sequel. Portrayed by Fred Ward, he was a necessary piece to both of the movies he appeared in, acting as the grounded and wise one in precarious situations. In Val’s absence, Earl did a fine job carrying this sequel on his back. In this one, a young Graboid enthusiast named Grady and a Mexican oil company executive convince Earl to come down and take care of a new Graboid infestation terrorizing the workers of a Mexican oil field. Eventually meeting up with Burt, they begin their hunt. When it first came out, I was disappointed that they ditched the Graboids halfway into the movie and focused on their next step of evolution with the Shriekers. Looking back at the franchise as a whole, it becomes clear how important it was to have variety and introduce more threats to our heroes to up the ante. My biggest gripe with the Shriekers is how they are able to hunt during the day in the desert heat when they only see infrared signatures. Wouldn’t they essentially be blinded in the desert sun? But then again, we’re talking about giant dirt worms, so fuck it. Regardless, I put the nerd in me aside and allowed myself to enjoy the reunion of Earl and Burt entangled in another monster war.

‘Tremors: Shrieker Island’

2. Tremors: Shrieker Island

This was the biggest surprise of the Tremors franchise for me After A Cold Day in Hell, I kept my expectations extremely low. I assumed it was over and I was about to witness a fun franchise go down in flames. I couldn’t be happier to be so wrong. Bringing back Burt Gummer one last time, Shrieker Island brought the heat. Aside from dreadful (but expected) dialogue and a cringeworthy performance from Jon Heder, I still walked away with a huge smile. After Burt took a quasi-backseat to Travis in the previous movie, it was time to give Burt the reins once again, and put him up against the most ferocious pack of Graboids in the whole franchise. He is summoned to a remote island by a research team, run by his ex-lover, to eliminate the monstrous threats, running rampant through the isolated paradise. This time, they are genetically engineered to be larger than ever before for a sport-hunting company run by a master huntsman named Bill (Richard Brake). In addition to this over-the-top plot, the movie ends up being beautifully shot with exotic set pieces and giving us the pinnacle of CGI technology. They were able to blend in the practical effects when needed, but the CGI was so sharp and realistic, the Graboids and Shriekers feel like they’re jumping out of the screen. Complete with an epic and gore-tastic, dark cave battle, featuring chainsaws, machetes, and flamethrowers and a thrilling final showdown between Burt and the Graboid of all Graboids, this movie brings it. Most importantly, it is a proper send-off for one of the most beloved and underrated characters from any horror franchise. Seeing his Cubs hat being placed on a makeshift cross, along with his aviator sunglasses was an emotional moment for any avid follower of Tremors. Also, from this, it was officially declared that April 14 is Burt Gummer Day.

Tremors franchise ranking

1. Tremors

Are you really surprised? There isn’t much to say about a movie that came out over 30 years ago, that hasn’t been said already. It was a likable and fun film that had mass appeal, yet attained cult film favorite status. It was one of those movies that everyone would rent when they saw it on the shelves at their local video store. It was a movie that played over and over on all of the local and cable channels. Even when we came across the edited version, we would stop what we’re doing and watch Tremors. Graboids were the sharks of the desert. In such a short amount of time, it felt like every character in the movie had worth and played their own part in the small, desolate town of Perfection. The bromance between Val and Earl keeps the movie together. The Graboids are hideously terrifying and intricately created by an ace practical effects team. Even the smell of them sometimes feels like it’s permeating the boundary between the screen and us. Not only do we get incredible, giant latex worm monsters and flashes of visceral carnage, we get a battle of wits between two branches of evolution, each at the top of their respective food chain. It’s a movie that is still spawning sequels three decades later for a reason. Here’s hoping they never stop!

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