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

The Tremors Timeline Explained

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

If you thought Tremors was just about giant worms, think again. Over the course of seven movies, one television show, and 30 years of creature-feature goodness, the series that introduced the world to Burt Gummer, graboids, and Ass Blasters has featured multiple government conspiracies, gunslinging cowboys, mutant bats, and entire families of monster hunters. In many ways, it really is a modern American epic. After all, what says "U.S.A." more than loading up a truck full of guns, heading out into the desert, and unloading on a bunch of man-eating monsters?

Still, that's a lot of Tremors to keep track of, and you probably have some questions you want cleared up before you dive into Burt's latest adventure, Tremors: Shrieker Island. What happened to Valentine McKee, Kevin Bacon's character from the first movie? Who, or what, is El Blanco? What, exactly, are those asses blasting?

Here, you'll find the answers to all of that, and more. Whether you're new to the franchise or just need a quick refresher, here's everything that's happened in the Tremors universe so far.

The secret origins of the graboids

Nobody knows where the graboids came from or how long they've been around. Given that graboid eggs can sit underground unhatched for centuries, they're very difficult to track. Still, evidence indicates that the monsters have been living underground for a very, very long time. A special report from the Department of the Interior surmises that the creatures evolved in ancient times from an animal similar to the cuttlefish, while graboid fossils date back to the Devonian period (an earlier analysis, which pegged the fossils to the Precambrian era, have since been written off as a mistake).

In addition, graboids appear in ancient cave paintings and Native American legends, while that same Department of the Interior report argues that many mythical creatures, including the Brazilian Minhocão and the Olgoi-khorkhoi (also known as the Mongolian Death Worm), can be traced back to the graboids and their ancestors. The Department's report even posits that Hades, the three-headed dog of Greek mythology, was based on graboids, which have three strong and deadly tentacles.

The first officially recorded graboid appearance, however, is only a little over a century old. In 1889, 17 miners in a small Nevada town known as Rejection died after the heat from a local hot spring forced a trove of graboid eggs to hatch early, unleashing the predators on the community. The owner of the silver mine, Hiram Gummer, hired a gunslinger named Black Hand Kelly to take care of the problem, only to find his efforts stymied when the graboids killed Kelly instead. Eventually, Gummer decided to clean up the mess himself, and once the dust cleared Rejection's residents covered up the attacks in order to keep new settlers from fleeing their community.

The incursions begin

In 1989, the graboids resurfaced again in Rejection, which had been renamed Perfection, and began harassing the town's 14 citizens. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning. A team of Perfection residents, which included handymen Valentine McKee and Earl Bassett, Hiram's paranoid, gun-obsessed great-grandson Burt Gummer and his wife Heather, and general store owner Walter Chang, banded together to fight them off. However, there were consequences. Chang died during the graboids' attack, while Burt and Heather grew apart and divorced shortly afterwards.

Still, the incursion was big enough news that McKee and Bassett became small-time celebrities. McKee married Mesa State University student Rhonda LeBeck and amassed a modest fortune. On the other hand, Bassett squandered his money and ultimately resettled in Perfection. Thankfully, Bassett got another chance to prove himself. In 1995, after graboids attacked an oil field in Chiapas, Mexico, executive Carlos Ortega hired Bassett to root out the infestation, promising him $50,000 per graboid killed. With Burt Gummer's help, Earl stopped the graboid threat once again, although not before learning that graboids birth a new form of monster, called a "shrieker," after consuming enough food.

Graboids and Shriekers and Ass Blasters, oh my!

By 2001, Perfection, Nevada looked very different. Over the past few years, graboid attacks had attracted the attention of thrill-seeking tourists, government officials, and a local real estate developer who had his eye on Burt Gummer's land. Meanwhile, the town protected itself with a series of anti-graboid defenses. As for Gummer himself, well, he'd established himself as the world's go-to monster hunter, venturing to remote locales like El Chaco, Argentina to take out graboids and shriekers wherever they appeared.

As government scientists tried to vacate Perfection, claiming that graboids were an endangered species, the monsters attacked Desert Jack's Graboid Tour, killing one of the employees. Once again, it was up to Gummer to save his hometown. Unfortunately, there were some new obstacles. An albino graboid known as El Blanco stalked Gummer as he went about his duties. The shriekers began evolving into their final form, which the townsfolk dubbed "Ass Blasters" due to their ability to propel themselves through the air by farting lightning. Gummer was swallowed whole by one of the graboids, forcing one of his friends to cut him free with a chainsaw.

Still, it ended well. El Blanco and Gummer struck up an uneasy friendship and, with help from Perfection's other residents, defeated the Ass Blasters. Perfection was declared a federally protected graboid reserve, Gummer opened a survival school, and a mysterious compound called Mixmaster began mutating the local wildlife into monsters. Thankfully, Gummer, El Blanco, and their friends were all ready to help.

Keeping it in the family

Twelve years later, things had changed again. Gummer, now host of his own reality show, The Survivalist: starring Burt Gummer, had cut off all ties with Perfection and traveled the world. However, when an Ass Blaster sighting lured Gummer to Africa, he was in for a number of surprises. A new species of graboid, one with detachable tentacles, was wreaking havoc. Ass Blasters were found laying graboid eggs. Poachers were selling graboid eggs on the black market, and Gummer's new cameraman, Travis Walker, was actually his son, the product of a one-night stand 40 years earlier.

After killing the "Queen Bitch" graboid, Travis joined his father as co-host, but their show didn't last. Just a few years later, Gummer returned to Perfection, which had become a ghost town, and squatted in Chang's Market. But when Val McKee's daughter Valerie, came to town, Gummer was called into action once again. Gummer and Travis traveled to the Arctic, where the changing climate caused a whole new batch of graboid eggs to hatch, and where Gummer made a startling discovery: When he was swallowed by the graboid years earlier, a parasite invaded his body. The only cure? Antibodies extracted from a live graboid.

Violence and death followed, but Gummer eventually found the cure and stopped the graboid threat once more. Still, Gummer's journey isn't quite over. On a remote island, a wealthy playboy is taking rich hunters on expeditions to hunt graboids, and Travis' mother, Jas, needs help stopping them. And so, Gummer comes out of retirement one more time.

Good thing, too. With Gummer on the case, those graboids don't stand a chance.