Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Many Tremors Movies Are There - And Do You Need To Watch Them All?

Prior to the 1990 release of "Tremors," studio expectations for the film likely ranked somewhere between middling and completely non-existent. And on paper, even those likely seemed a bit too optimistic, because there simply wasn't a market for campy, B-movie creature features at the dawn of that particular decade. Not surprisingly, when "Tremors" was released in the early days of January, the film's box office take pretty much fell in line with expectations.

Critics, on the other hand, were surprisingly kind to the flick, with many falling for its '50s-inspired creature feature charms, as well as the go-for-broke performances from stars Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. Once "Tremors" hit the home video market, viewers finally began to see what the fuss was about, helping make the giddily gory tale of subterranean beasts terrorizing a small desert town a bona fide cult sensation. The film's reputation has only grown in the years since. So, too, has the list of "Tremors" sequels, with the franchise having now released a total of seven feature films.

That news may come as a bit of a shock to some who never strayed far from the sub-iconic original "Tremors," but producers have indeed expanded the Graboid-infested realm by a full six films. If you're wondering if you should go all-in on a no-holds-barred binge of the "Tremors" franchise, well, that's a tricky question to answer. 

It's probably a good idea to skip a Tremors movie or two

That's not to say the "Tremors" franchise is an all-around bust. Nothing could be further from the truth with each and every sequel warmly embracing the B-movie madness of the original in its own unique way. And just to be crystal clear on the matter, if you count yourself a die-hard fan of the first "Tremors," you'll probably find a lot to love in the six films that followed it. But if you have more of a casual love affair with "Tremors," indulging in the full, seven-film odyssey could prove daunting as all "Tremors" films are not created equal. In fact, a couple of them are subjectively terrible, and only of interest to hardcore fans well-steeped in Graboid lore. 

That includes the third film in the franchise. And despite getting a little love from a handful of critics, audiences largely agree a too-predictable story and astonishingly sub-standard special effects help "Tremors 3: Back to Perfection" earn the title of easily-skippable franchise low. That was, however, the film where Michael Gross' weapons-obsessed Burt Gummer became the face of the franchise, with the actor leading a total of five "Tremors" flicks himself. Though Burt often proved an inspired choice to lead the action thereafter, "Tremors 5: Bloodlines" was not one of the franchise's finer moments either. And based on its Rotten Tomatoes audience score, those who have seen the tale of the aptly-named "ass-blaster" Graboids running amok on the African continent likely wish they hadn't. You can save yourself the grief by simply skipping it too. 

Tremors 2: Aftershocks is the one Tremors sequel you absolutely cannot miss

Fear not if you're worried about running into narrative franchise holes by skipping an entry in the "Tremors" saga, because the greater Graboid-verse isn't exactly woven together with the same obsessively detailed, plot-unifying dynamics as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, anything a casual "Tremors" fan might miss out on by passing over a film or two won't do much to dampen how much they love or loathe any other chapter in the franchise. 

Given the glut of less-than-favorable opinions surrounding the seven film "Tremors" saga as a whole, it's safe enough to imagine casual fans might be wise not to devote that much time and energy to a full franchise binge. If you are in that group, you will find no judgment here as the franchise on the whole is very much a niche sort of affair. But, if there's one sequel in the mix that should not be missed by either casual fans or diehards, it's 1996's "Tremors 2: Aftershocks."

Yes, the unabashedly silly, straight-to-video effort currently boasts a decidedly rotten critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. And the audience score is actually a little bit worse. However, time has arguably proven kinder to "Tremors 2" than most of the increasingly camp-forward sequels that followed it. Fred Ward's leading-man turn in the first "Tremors" sequel also remains a legit franchise highlight. If you call yourself a fan of the original, you know there are considerably worse ways to spend 100 minutes of your life than watching the gruff, but endlessly charming Earl Bassett tangle with another hungry gang of big, bad Graboids.