A graboid as seen in Tremors
Classification precambrian predatory invertebrate
First appearance Tremors
Last appearance Tremors (TV series)
Created by Ron Underwood
Brent Maddock
S. S. Wilson

The graboid is a fictional creature that acts as the primary antagonist of the Tremors film series. As Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young explain, the "destruction of 'graboids', as they are quickly dubbed, becomes the central tension of the film."[1] The creature made its debut in the 1990 film Tremors, and reappeared in its three sequels and the Tremors: The Series television series. The graboid is based on the Mongolian Death Worm, which is also said to be a giant worm-like creature that attacks animals, and possibly humans. Within the film world, it is store owner Walter Chang who names them. The only other person in the first film to use the phrase "graboid" is Val McKee (Kevin Bacon).

According to, "graboids are to the desert what sharks are to the ocean."[2]

Film appearances[]

There are three varieties of Graboid shown in the films.[3] The standard Graboid, seen in all four films, is a subterranean animal, resembling a gigantic worm or grub, with a serpentine body ,four massive, black, armored beaks on its head, and no eyes. It also has several spikes on its sides that it uses to push itself along underground. The juvenile form of the Graboid is about two feet long and looks somewhat similar to the adult form. The younger Graboid has a proper beak (without the three separate jaws that form the lower part of the beak) and lacks the trio of serpentine tentacle tongues. Also, since they are not strong enough to pull a victim underneath the dirt, they instead propel themselves out of the dirt with extreme speed to take down a moving target. These young Graboids are seen in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins. Graboids are also intelligent and learn very quickly. For instance, in the first film, when two graboids discover that the bulldozer is too heavy to lift, they simply dig a trap in its path.

The full adult form is about thirty feet long.[4] Graboids have a trio of long, powerful, snake-like tentacles, which are prehensile and have a reach of at least ten feet. Each of the three tentacles has a small, tooth-filled mouth and two horns. They often seem to have minds of their own. They die as soon as the graboid they belong to does.

In Tremors 2: Aftershocks, "shriekers" are introduced. Fully grown graboids die while giving birth to up to three (mistakenly stated as 6 in Tremors 3) live shriekers. Much smaller than graboids, about 6 feet long and 4 feet high, shriekers live above ground and resemble a small dinosaur, with stout, three-toed legs and a compact body. They have similar beaks on their heads, but lack the tentacles of a graboid instead having a single, long tongue, and like graboids lack eyes and noses, but they don't have ears. Shriekers find prey through a retractable, heat seeking crest on the top of their heads as well as their tongues which they use to find cold food through taste. They are hermaphroditic and will multiply as long as they find food.

The third stage, the "ass-blaster", is introduced in Tremors 3: Back to Perfection. Shriekers turn into ass-blasters, which resemble their original shrieker, shedding their skin as they grow and change. They are capable of gliding with the use of red/pink-colored sail-like structures at the sides of their bodies, consisting of a semi-translucent skin supported by rigid stems and a third dorsal sail that extends from the spine down the back and tail. In order to take flight, they shake and quiver their tails and backsides and seem to be mixing two liquids which produce an explosion of flames from their rear end. Ass-blasters fall into a "food coma" when eating too much and carry graboid eggs within their bodies, supposedly bringing the life cycle full-circle.

Other appearances[]

In the TV series, the townspeople live more or less in harmony with a thirty-foot albino graboid named "El Blanco". As the animal is sterile, it lives on instead of giving birth to shriekers. Since graboids have been declared an endangered species, it may not be killed by the townspeople, which in turn profit from their valley being declared a protected habitat.[5]

Steve Traiman writes, "MCA piqued consumer interest for the direct-to-video title Tremors 2: Aftershock with the Graboid Game, which challenged Web site visitors to hunt for the giant worms featured in the movie."[6]

Collectible replica[]

In 2006, revealed that "Sideshow Collectibles and ADI have announced their reproduction of the original Graboid design maquette...based on the creature from the film, which spawned three sequels and a television series" and "created by the effects company ADI, led by Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff. Jr. Each piece is reproduced in fiberglass and polystone, hand cast and painted. The piece is designed to display on any desktop or table, and also features wall-mount brackets for hanging display, like a hunter's trophy."[7]


  1. Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young, Chick flicks: Contemporary Women at the Movies (2008), 196.
  2. "Tremors: The Series". UGO Networks. 
  3. "Graboid 101". UGO Networks. 
  4. Rich Gray (2004-05). "Click Or Treat". p. 74. ISBN 9780786418626 
  5. Rich Gray, Click Or Treat: The Best of Halloween and Horror on the Internet (2004), 74.
  6. Steve Traimon, "Home Video's Latest Output: Computers," Billboard 108.23 (June 8, 1996): 91.
  7. News Editor, "TREMORS Graboid Maquette," (January 24, 2006).

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