Tremors 2: Aftershocks is a 1996 direct-to-video sequel to Tremors. It was directed by S.S. Wilson, and stars Fred Ward, Christopher Gartin, Michael Gross, and Helen Shaver, it was followed by a 2001 sequel Tremors 3: Back to Perfection. It is the second film of the Tremors Franchise.
Some years have passed since the events of the first film. Val has moved away and married Rhonda, while Earl has squandered his fortune on a failing ostrich ranch. He is approached by Carlos Ortega, who informs him that graboids are killing his workers at his oil field in Sonora, Mexico. Earl initially refuses his assistance, but Ortega's taxi driver, Grady Hoover, convinces Earl to change his mind and joins Earl in the hunt, with the oil company paying Grady full fees for his services, as well. Upon arrival in Sonora, Earl meets geologist Kate Reilly, and her assistant Julio, who are scientifically investigating the graboids. Earl and Grady begin to systematically kill the graboids by using exploding remote-control cars. Later, realizing the vast number of graboids, Earl enlists the help of Burt Gummer, who soon arrives with a truck loaded with firearms and explosives. Out hunting the next day, Earl and Grady encounter what appears to be a sick graboid after crashing their truck. They radio for the oil field's mechanic, Pedro, and wait with the sick graboid. That night, the graboid dies while out of sight. Upon investigation, they find it has also been hollowed out by something, as sacs are found within the carcass. The radios go out as Pedro's truck comes into view and stops across a plain. Grady and Earl walk to the truck and find only the man's arms remaining and the engine motor ripped apart. They hike to a radio tower, only to discover it destroyed. While breaking into a parked car, they encounter several graboid-looking creatures, later named shriekers, that have apparently come from their graboid. Meanwhile, Burt's truck is ambushed by a herd of shriekers while returning to base.
Julio is killed by shriekers moments before Earl and Grady arrive the following morning. The creatures destroy the engine of their car and they are forced to hide inside the office. Burt arrives sometime later, having spent all his ammunition during his encounter with the shriekers, capturing a live one by chance. A shrieker has survived Burt's ambushing and has hidden in Burt's truck finding his MRE , Upon experimentation, they discover, through eating the hermaphrodite creatures can replicate at an incredible rate; they also learn the creatures cannot hear like their predecessors, but rather see heat through special infrared receptors on their heads, thus explaining why they destroyed the car engines and radio station. They are attacked by the multiplying creatures and, fleeing the office, are chased through the compound by the shriekers. They run for Julio's car, but when Burt kills a shrieker with his last round, a massive LAR Big Boar, the round penetrates a wall, inadvertently going through Julio's engine, his car being unknowingly parked behind it.
Hiding from the shriekers, Burt is stranded in a bulldozer bucket and Grady, Kate, and Earl on top of an oil tower for several hours. The shriekers work together in an attempt to climb the oil tower before Burt traps them in the storage shed with the truck. Unfortunately, they discover rice flour is stored inside, as well, enabling the shriekers to continue multiplying inside. Earl douses himself in CO2 from a fire extinguisher to hide his body heat to reach Burt's explosives inside. It works at first, but he soon warms up and the shriekers detect him, forcing Earl to throw the detonator among Burt's supplies before escaping. The group runs a considerable distance before the explosives level the facility, destroying all the shriekers.
As they examine the remains, Earl and Kate (who happens to be a Playboy centerfold whom he had admired for years) decide to pursue each other romantically, while Grady realizes that Ortega owes them for 28 graboids—not accounting for the Shriekers too—and suggests they open their own theme park: "Grady and Earl's Monster World". While Earl insists that's not a good idea, Grady responds by saying "Maybe this is your third big chance" before the credits roll.
- Fred Ward as Earl Bassett
- Christopher Gartin as Grady Hoover
- Helen Shaver as Kate "White" Reilly
- Michael Gross as Burt Gummer
- Marcelo Tubert as Señor Carlos Ortega
- Marco Hernandez as Julio
- José Rosario as Chief Engineer Pedro
- Thomas Rosales Jr. as Oil Worker
Tremors II: Aftershocks began production in 1993 when MCA Universal (feature films division) liked the script. The film was originally planned to be filmed in Australia on a 17 million-dollar budget. Unfortunately, due to distributional and promotional cost for a theater release, the feature film division lost interest. The film was later given the green light, by the MCA/Universal home video division, for everything but the 17 million dollar budget and Australian location. Finally, after many actors and technical experts lowering their rates, and several major special effects sequences scrapped, the film was made on a 4 million dollar budget and filmed in a total of 27 days. The film was also released straight-to-video with no theater release.
In Tremors II, the creature design team, Amalgamated Dynamics, was faced with a challenge different from the first film. In Tremors, the graboids spend most of their time underground, and thus a prop was not needed for these scenes. However in Tremors II, the shriekers spend all their time above ground and there are always more shriekers than graboids, thus the need for more props. The shrieker props used in the film include two fully articulated, full-scale puppet shrieker, three hand-puppet versions of the shriekers, and three un-jointed non-articulated rubber shrieker dummies. The fully articulated, full-scale puppet shrieker required 16 puppeteers to operate, the rubber shrieker dummies, not requiring puppeteers, where used in scenes when a shrieker needed to be dropped, shot, or exploded. One of the full scale graboids used in the film was a refurbished model that was used in the first film.
To achieve the infrared view of the shriekers as seen in several scenes, the actors wore red suits and yellow stockings, then were shot in Hi-8 video tape and blown up to 35-mm film to add an additional grainy effect. The post-production video engineers then rendered the faces and bodies in different colors.
The scene where a baby shrieker is seen was created using a full size shrieker in a large cage, making the shrieker look small. As a consequence, no actors could be shown at the same time as the cage and shrieker. In addition to the shriekers designed by Amalgamated Dynamics, some scenes in the film utilized shriekers that were computer generated imagery (CGI) designed by Tippett Studio. These animated shriekers were used when ever the film depicts them as walking, running, or climbing, as these movements were beyond the capabilities of the fully articulated puppet shriekers.
The exclusive premiere screening for Tremors II: Aftershocks took place on April 9, 1996 at 8 PM in the Alfred Hitchcock Theater. The film was released on Videocassette on April 9, 1996 and on laserdisc on April 16, 1996.
As of May, 2013, Tremors II: Aftershocks currently holds a 63% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 8 reviews.
This movie is a rarity among direct-to-video sequels, one that's not only worthy of its theatrical predecessor but suggests that it too, belongs on the big screen... Despite the significantly lower budget, the monsters remain entirely convincing —TV Guide.
An excellent cast, good ideas and effects showcase, how good a horror-sequel can be.