Cube and Splice director Vincenzo Natali has signed on to direct the pilot for Syfy's reboot of the comedic sci-fi/horror series Tremors. Kevin Bacon is returning to play an older and drunker version of his Tremors film character Valentine McKee, a small-town handyman who finds himself doing battle with giant underground monsters.
Released in 1990, the original Tremors film was a throwback to enjoyable old-school monster movies like Jaws and The Blob. The premise involving a small desert town in Nevada suddenly being beset by gigantic, toothy worm monsters from deep beneath the earth was straightforward and silly, but the writing had a certain wit and the engaging cast really brought the story to life. The film became a cult success and spawned multiple sequels of slowly-diminishing quality (all starring original film hold-over Michael Gross) as well as a short-lived 2003 TV series.
Now Syfy is hoping to reboot Tremors with a new series that brings back original film star Kevin Bacon (who also gets a producer credit), and (via Deadline) they've tapped director Natali to helm the pilot from a script by Andrew Miller (who is also acting as showrunner). Blumhouse and Universal Cable Prods are producing. Movie series stalwart Michael Gross is reportedly not returning for this new small-screen version.
Natali seems like a strong choice to helm the Tremors pilot, with his long and solid resume of horror-related properties of both the big-and-small screen variety. Natali first burst on the scene in 1997 with his cult science-fiction film Cube and then made waves in 2010 with the cloning-themed horror film Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley. Natali's long list of TV credits includes episodes of Hannibal, The Returned, Orphan Black, Wayward Pines, Luke Cage, Westworld, The Strain and American Gods.
Tremors star and producer Kevin Bacon said in a recent interview that he hopes the pilot leads to an 8-episode run. In the new Tremors incarnation, Bacon's Valentine McKee has become an old alcoholic with lingering hero delusions he must overcome in order to once again save Perfection, Nevada from the horrifying Graboids.
One of the charming things about the original Tremors Graboids was that they were created completely via practical effects, and the new series would do well to go down this road too, assuming the budget allows for it. The sequels have become dumb schlock but the first Tremors had a genuine style and a fun sense of humor that helped distinguish it from other standard monsters-menacing-small-town horror movies. With any luck, the new series will be able to capture some of the spirit of the original film.
The Tremors TV show doesn't have an official premiere date yet. We will let you know when that changes.