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Film / Tremors 6: A Cold Day in Hell

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Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell is the sixth installment in the Tremors film series, released as a Direct to Video film on May 1, 2018. It's set in Canada (but filmed in South Africa).

It once again sees the return of renowned monster hunter Burt Gummer, and his son, Travis Welker, introduced in the previous installment. It also introduces Valerie McKee, daughter of Valentine McKee and Rhonda LeBeck, one of a team of scientists who call in the duo to battle a Graboid infestation in their Arctic research station.


It contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Mac flies a battered Cessna, but she still qualifies.
  • All for Nothing: Subverted. It looks like the characters were too late to save Burt, so Travis angrily bangs the HK-91 against a table. A weak Burt then tells him that's no way to treat such a weapon.
  • Artistic License – Law: Even if Cutts has federal connections far beyond just being a DARPA project leader, pulling strings with the U.S. national government wouldn't do squat to bar the state of Nevada from demanding that Burt pay his taxes.
  • A-Team Montage: A couple of understated examples of this, as the humans prepare various attacks.
  • Bad Boss: While not a villain per se, Cutts (the DARPA Leader) doesn't help his men when they get attacked by the graboids. Partially justified as he probably doesn't know all that much about the creatures, but when one of his goons gets grabbed, Burt, who hates government types, attempted to rescue the goon while Cutts just hangs back and watches. It failed, but the effort counts.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: It looks like Burt is going to shoot a visiting government agent, but he's just engaging in target practice.
  • Boring, but Practical: While the rest of the cast uses a golf club, a machete, and a gunstock war club, in an attempt to destroy the tentacles of the last graboid, so that they can get the antibodies needed to save Burt, and fail in the attempt, Burt simply uses his HK91 to shoot the tentacles, calling the others amateurs.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Travis and his love interest Dr. Sims say goodbye (for now) with one of these, after Burt criticizes Travis's first attempt.
  • Burp of Finality: Early on, after one the graboids eats a woman, it lets out a big burp after going back underground, spitting up her equipment and part of one of her arms.
  • Call-Back:
    • Along with Valerie, it turns out that Travis has had contact with Burt's ex Heather, who gave him a gun. Said gun is the HK-91, which Burt actually mentioned way back in Tremors 2: Aftershocks as something Heather took when she left him. It proves important to the plot and ends up back in Burt's possession in the end.
    • Burt's current health problems are the result of when a Graboid swallowed him.
    • Dr. Simms' legs getting grabbed by a Graboid's tongue is similar to a scene from the first film. Unlike Rhonda though, Dr. Simms refuses to remove her pants since she's Going Commando.
  • Canada, Eh?: The Canadian characters all tend to end their sentences with "eh," but most especially the bush pilot.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Burt has one while sleeping on the market's roof. As Travis is just heading up to talk to him, Burt fakes being in the middle of his exercise routine.
  • Closed Circle: The station is in a box canyon, with access only by air.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: To get the antibodies needed to save Burt's life, the rest of the cast decides to do things the "Old Fashion Way" and use a golf club, a machete, and a gunstock war club, in an attempt to disable the tentacles on the last graboid. It doesn't work. Burt then takes his HK91 to shoot the tentacles, calling the rest amateurs.
  • Cool Old Lady: The pilot again, eh.
  • Dirty Coward: Freezze initially seems like a sympathetic coward, but then he scrambles to save himself and leave the others behind. He is completely unapologetic about it when one of the staffers tries to reason with him.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: During a briefing, people laugh at the name "Ass-Blasters." Burt yells at them, saying these creatures are vicious killers despite their name.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Burt thinks DARPA and their associates are scum, but he still tries to save one poor mook from being eaten by a Graboid.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The pilot of the plane Burt and Travis are taking up to the Arctic completely fails to notice the Ass Blaster that's flying around after it's attracted to her plane's engine heat until after it collides with the plane.
  • Foreshadowing: Valerie immediately mentions that she's a fan of Burt's work. We later learn why.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Freezze unsurprisingly loses it when faced with an Ass-Blaster. Burt goes to rescue him and tells him to pull it together. No slapping or glass of water throwing, but he does shake him a bit and tell him manning up is the only way he's gonna survive this. He has to do it again after another side character gets killed.
  • Generation Xerox: When Burt gets sidelined, Travis dresses up in his gear, and almost looks like a younger Burt Gummer.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Defied. When one of Dr. Simms' legs is grabbed by a Graboid's tongue, Travis tells her to unzip her pants, but she point blank refuses because she's been Going Commando underneath her jeans.
  • Ghost Town: Perfection's population is evidently down to just Burt and Travis.
  • The Glomp: Valerie happily gives Burt a big hug upon meeting him.
  • Going Commando: The reason Rita is reluctant to take off her pants when one of the Combat Tentacles snares her leg.
  • Government Conspiracy: As soon as Burt learns that DARPA is on the scene, he suspects this. Turns out he was mistaken. Although they don't hesitate to suggest weaponizing a captured Graboid. Fortunately, Burt saw it coming.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Valerie is somewhat in awe of Burt due to the stories her dad told her.
  • Honor Before Reason: They need a live Graboid to cure Burt's condition, but he'd rather kill all of the creatures rather than risk more lives being endangered or DARPA getting ahold of one.
  • Hot Scientist: Rita. Travis can tell just from talking to her on the phone.
  • Irony: Watching your old man, who has been a badass monster hunter for over 20 years, fall victim to some little bug that he can't even fight with enough weapons to last World War 3.
  • I Want Them Alive!: Travis and the group work to catch the final Graboid alive so that they can get the venom needed to cure Burt. Capturing the beast ends up being much easier than getting the venom.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: The first three victims all refer to each other by their nationalities.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Yeah, no one's too shy about talking about Valerie's parentage, even though the movie treats it as a partway surprise.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • First scene in, Travis asks while facing the audience, "Did you miss me?"
    • Upon learning of Valerie's parentage, Burt remarks he lost track of Val and Rhonda over the years—a reference to how neither appeared in any of the sequels or the TV series.
  • Like Father, Like Son: When told his job is to continue the legacy, Travis attempts to invoke this by putting on Burt's hat and sunglasses and talking like him.
  • The Load: Dr. Freezze is a cowardly, whiny lump of uselessness. He finally gets killed trying to flee in a truck, when there's nowhere to flee to.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Majorly averted; the Graboids snag three female victims in the course of the film.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: And it doesn't end well for a researcher who accidentally stepped on an egg.
  • Mythology Gag: When Rita is nearly pulled under by a Graboid, Travis tells her to take off her pants to escape, similar to something Rhonda did in the first movie.
    • Burt lures a Graboid to its death by core-sample driller, which is a high-tech variant of a trick Tecopa pulled off with a lumber saw nearly 130 years earlier.
  • Noodle Incident: Travis meeting Heather.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: Multiple characters mispronounce Dr. Ferezze's name as "Freeze" or similar, causing him to angrily correct them.
  • Properly Paranoid: After learning they're there, Burt immediately suspects DARPA wants to weaponize Graboids. Zig-zagged in that DARPA pointedly had no idea the Graboids were there and their current project had nothing to do with them, though they still wouldn't pass up any chances to actually do it.
  • Put on a Bus: Jodie (Walter's niece from the TV series) is mentioned as having "decided to stay at that law firm in Reno." Burt's taken over managing the market.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: A nasty blizzard in Bulgaria prevented the crew from filming in their planned location. After settling on Africa again, they inserted lines about climate change and a heat wave to cover for why the setting doesn't look like an arctic-type region.
  • Replacement Flat Character: The government agent in Burt's first scene is basically W.D. Twitchell at the start of the series: a petty bureaucrat that Burt goes out of his way to antagonize and vice-versa.
  • The Reveal: Valerie telling Burt who her parents are.
  • Save the Villain: While not a villain per se, unless you count government agents as villains, when Cutts is trapped on a container during the graboid attack, Travis goes and saves him - for a fee of course, in that Travis and Burt will never have to pay taxes again, ever. Cutts agrees to this. He even keeps his word, and gives Travis and Burt the necessary paperwork exempting them from having to pay State and Federal taxes.
  • Scenery Porn: Good use is made of the South African terrain.
  • Sequel Reset: Downplayed. Burt and Travis are back to a frothy relationship, though only in their first couple scenes.
  • Series Continuity Error: Burt mentions having fought Graboids on two continents, which seems to be ignoring the Batman Cold Open of Tremors 3: Back to Perfection that had him wiping out a pack of Shriekers in Argentina.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Burt has nightmares about his Graboid experiences and wakes up screaming. It foreshadows his condition.
  • Speak of the Devil: Dr. D. mentions to the group in the lab that they need a live graboid in order to cure Burt. One immediately pops up and swallows her whole.
  • Spit Out a Shoe: One of the graboids burps up part of an arm and equipment from a woman it had just eaten.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • We learn in-between movies that Burt and Travis had a falling out professionally due to their conflicting styles and quirks, which has affected their personal relationship a bit.
      • Plus, though the two of them did have their Africa expedition to bond over, as anyone who had an estranged parent could say, it's not easy to bond with an absentee parental figure, and certainly not when both parties are as old and set in their way as Burt and Travis.
    • Likewise, being a Monster Hunter is no excuse for being behind on your taxes, and Uncle Sam is trying to collect them.
    • Just because you get an antidote doesn't automatically mean that you're going to make it. Due to whatever unknown damage his body has been through, there was a good chance that Burt wouldn't have pulled through. In fact, he might still have to deal with the damage, as anyone who has survived a deadly sickness or health issue can testify to.
    • Just because monster hunting can produce a good short-term profit, that doesn't mean it's a sustainable long-term business. Even just the costs of replacing ammo and supplies eats into your profit margin a lot. Add in that Burt has been established as not very business savvy (because he's a Crazy Survivalist), to say nothing of how many times he's had his home, vehicle, and/or property destroyed mid-movie, and it's no wonder Burt's in such dire financial straits as the film begins.
    • As heartbreaking as it is to see Perfection completely empty other than Burt and Travis, it makes sense. Perfection was a ghost town to begin with; it had no desirable features to attract new settlers to it, and in fact the residents actively resisted efforts to make it more commercially appealing. But that meant the population (those who weren't eaten by graboids or Mixmaster mutants, anyway) had no prospects, and ultimately forced to move away to work, study, or just have a life. Plus, living with killer monsters in your backyard is extremely stressful (not to mention financially disastrous if you're trying to run a livestock farm), which would be further incentive to leave.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • Burt when hearing Graboids are in an Arctic region.
    • Burt and Travis when confronted with an Ass-Blaster during their plane trip.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Dr. Freezze attempts to escape the compound in a car despite Burt's instructions to stay put, and quickly becomes Graboid lunch.
    • Dr. Simms was also apparently more concerned with remaining decent than being Eaten Alive, but unlike her colleague she has a functioning Character Shield so she gets away with it.
  • Trapped-with-Monster Plot: The group is stuck at the facility with no cars or high-power weaponry. They're also situated in a geographically isolated valley with mountains on all sides, which gets a Lampshade Hanging from Burt. He further notes that it's only a matter of time before a Graboid starts smashing through the floorboards to get them.
  • We Need a Distraction: As usual with Tremors film, more than once the Gradoids need to be lured away from their current target.
  • Wham Line: "I'm Val and Rhonda's daughter."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: During the Perfection scenes, none of the TV characters appear or are even referred to; same for El Blanco. It's more notable than in the fifth movie due to the market being featured in a couple scenes instead of just being out in the desert.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: During an attack, a mook working for Cutts is snagged by a Graboid and struggles to grab onto something before he's pulled under. Though Burt tries to save the guy, Cutts kicks him away to save himself.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Burt is sidelined for part of the film due to being poisoned by Graboid Venom way back in Tremors 3: Back to Perfection.