In 1990’s Tremors, Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) was a funny character. He and his then-wife Heather (Reba McEntire) had a stockpile of weapons. In one of the film’s funniest scenes, they unloaded their entire arsenal into a Graboid. 28 years later, guns are a much more complicated subject. Regardless of the political aspects, you don’t want to make insensitive jokes when there’s a mass shooting epidemic going on.
Gross came up with a way to stay out of any political issues while staying true to the character of Burt Gummer in the latest movie, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.
“In none of these films will you see Burt point his guns at another human being,” Gross said in a phone interview with Bloody Disgusting. “In that respect, it’s always Burt against the monster. The weapons are used to kill monsters, not to kill other people. So we were never fighting [people] in the jungle the way Stallone was once upon a time, the Vietcong. We’ve never taken off fighting hordes of other human beings. They’re always hordes of monsters. In that respect, we try to keep that very clean, almost old-fashioned line where you can say well, yeah, there are a lot of guns, but violence is never people on people. The violence is always monsters on human beings or human beings trying to eradicate monsters.”
Burt also approaches weaponry on his own terms. He’s not about to join the NRA. They might have similar interests, but that wouldn’t be Burt.
“For example, you’ll never seen a NRA sticker on the bumper of his car or anything like that,” Gross said. “Not because we’re political but Burt is apolitical. Not because we’re trying to be politically correct. Burt is an organization of one. This came up even before Parkland and all that stuff. This came up in the very first Tremors. Well, should we put an NRA sticker on the bumper of his car? People might say that’s perfect, that’s who he is. I said, ‘No, I don’t think he’s a joiner. First of all, I don’t think he’d get along with anybody in any group, right, left or center, because he’s such a contrarian and such a loner. I just don’t see him joining a group because he’d find something wrong with every one of them. They wouldn’t live up to his principals. They wouldn’t have the common sense that he thinks, whatever. He just wouldn’t get along in a group. So I said, for that reason, I think he’s apolitical.”
Gross may share his personal beliefs on his social media, but when it comes to the Tremors movies, he’s thinking about Burt. While he is eager to do a Tremors 7, Gross’s hope is that the weaponry will become total fantasy, so Burt is no longer using guns that actually exist.
“I’ve said to Universal, in the next piece if there is a 7, what I really need is a big gun, one you can’t buy over the counter,” Gross said.
“The AR-15s and Mini-14s are so common. I don’t know that I necessarily want to put those in the hands of Burt. I’d rather have something phenomenally wacky in his hands because he is about big. If big is needed, he’ll get bigger. I think that’s part of the comic fun of him too, if he doesn’t have things like everybody else. He doesn’t have the run of the mill gun in his hands. He’s got something crazily outrageous. I would look for that if we did a seventh. I keep loving the idea of Burt in a Patton tank, a Sherman tank. That’s something you can’t buy over the counter.”
See Burt take up arms against some arctic Graboids in Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell, on DVD, Blu-ray and digital May 1.