Not many horror franchises have the same kind of legacy as Tremors. To this day, the B-movie monster comedies about giant carnivorous worms have become a seven movie franchise. There was even a short-lived TV series that lasted one season. All of this because of a cult fanbase that kept the series going for thirty years.
Across thirty years and so many movies, a plethora of characters have been introduced. While the Graboids are always a spectacle, it’s the characters that have kept fans returning. So which human characters were the best prey for the Graboids?
10 Walter Chang
Nearly every character in the Tremors franchise is trying to make a quick buck. Nobody did it better than good old Walter Chang who runs the general store in Perfection. Walter also gets recognition for being the man who named the subterranean monsters in the first place.
Without him, they wouldn’t be called Graboids. Walter also met his fate by being eaten by the monsters he named. Walter left such a legacy behind that family members were introduced in a sequel and the prequel.
9 Black Hand Kelly
Since Hiram Gummer is far from a hero, Rejection needed a gunman to step up. This is where Black Hand Kelly comes into play; he’s like if a Clint Eastwood character and Robert Shaw’s Quinn from Jaws merged together.
With only a small amount of screentime, Black Hand Kelly steals the entire movie. A shame that the character is killed off by the fully grown Graboids not long after being hired.
8 Rhonda LeBeck
In an age when most main female characters in horror films were just oversexualized models, Rhonda was more akin to Ellen Ripley or Laurie Strode. Rhonda was smart, capable, full of personality, and had some great jokes.
There’s never a point where she feels like the typical love-interest. Rhonda is another survivor during this infestation of Graboids. However, her relationship with Val that slowly grows is also an endearing one.
7 Christine Lord
In the prequel, Christine Lord is trying to keep Perfection (or Rejection as it is called in the film) from falling apart. Played by Sara Botsford, Christine is one of the stronger women characters in the Tremors universe; she’s kind but firm and is not willing to take any flak from anybody.
Christine’s chemistry with Hiram Gummer makes for a stronger connection to the human characters. Christine along with the rest of the strong supporting cast lead to Tremors 4 is a better series entry than expected.
6 Grady Hoover
Since Kevin Bacon could not return to the role of Val, his character was written off and replaced with a newbie named Grady. Grady is a fan of Earl Bassett and Val after the events of the first film and helps convince Earl to accept the job of hunting Graboids.
At first, Grady seems like nothing more than a wide-eyed jokester but not only do his jokes land, he’s a good new partner for Earl and Burt. Christopher Gatin really nailed making Grady a unique character; he’s funny but provides enough seriousness in the grim situations.
5 Hiram Gummer
A complete one-eighty difference from Burt, Hiram is the ancestor of Burt Gummer. Just like Burt, he is played by Michael Gross but that is where all the similarities stop. Hiram is not a survivalist: he is a prim and proper businessman who can barely ride a horse.
Of course, seeing Michael Gross play such an opposite role is a joy. However, that’s not all Hiram has to offer as a character. There is also character growth to Hiram: he starts off quite unlikable and won’t lift a finger but becomes a hero for the town of Rejection.
4 Travis Welker
Introduced in Tremors 5: Bloodlines, Travis is similar to Grady: at first, the viewers think he’s nothing more than a wasted attempt at a sidekick. However, Jamie Kennedy’s performance is not only hilarious but provides a likable opposite to Burt Gummer’s craziness.
Travis is the perfect representation of the fifth movie: everybody expects the worst but ends up with one of the best. The character, who turns out to be Burt’s son, got such a great response that he returned for the sixth film.
3 Val McKee
The first Tremors movie begins and ends with Valentine “Val” McKee. Val, played by the one and only Kevin Bacon, is the younger handyman of Perfection, Nevada. He’s not bright, he’s not the bravest man, and he’s not some skilled marksman. Alongside Earl, he makes for a perfect hero character.
The last thing one would expect from Val is for him to become the town’s last hope. So seeing Val rise to the occasion alongside Earl is what makes him so likable. Like most characters, Val brings hilarity but knows when to take things seriously. Val also features one of the funniest versions of an f-bomb in movie history.
2 Earl Bassett
Choosing between Val and Earl is difficult. It’s like picking between Harry and Marv from Home Alone, they are a perfect duo. However, Earl manages to get an edge over Val due to appearing in one other film. In the first one, Earl is a great partner for Val and just as much of a reluctant hero.
Meanwhile in Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Earl is more of a washed-up celebrity. He’s back to hunt Graboids only to get a second chance at fame but ends up making a new friend and more. Due to his experiences in the first film, Earl is much wearier but rises again to be the hero. In many ways, he’s even better in the sequel.
1 Burt Gummer
Is anyone surprised here? It’s impossible not to put Michael Gross’ iconic character as the best. At first, Burt comes off as just an insane prepper but his arsenal proves to be helpful. After his iconic encounter with a Graboid in his basement, Burt became an instant icon for the series.
For thirty years, Michael Gross played Burt Gummer in every single Tremors movie until the character’s finale in Tremors: Shrieker Island. He was a side character who evolved and took over the franchise as the main hero. There’s no other character like Burt Gummer and it just wouldn’t be a Tremors movie without him.
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