- "I have been called many things. "Doomsday prepper". "Gun enthusiast." "Monster hunter." I reject all these labels. What I am, is a survivalist. "
- —Burt, in the introduction to The Survivalist, with Burt Gummer
Bertram (Burt) Gummer (born 1957) is a fictional character, played by actor Michael Gross, from the Tremors film series and the short lived SciFi Channel TV program of the same name. Appearing in Tremors, Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, and several episodes of the TV series, Burt Gummer is a firearms enthusiast, and a paranoid survivalist. He and his (as of Tremors 2) former wife, Heather Gummer (played by Reba McEntire), were the first persons in the film series to directly kill a Graboid thanks to the large supply of weapons kept in their basement. He has an "overkill" approach to trouble and takes himself deadly seriously, much to the annoyance or amusement of others. Even Earl Basset noted that Burt puts "a whole new shine" on the meaning of overkill; Burt retorted "when he need it and don't have it, you'll be singing a different tune." According to Tyler Reed, he is the "Martha Stuart of whatever it is" he does.
He has an exceptionally hard time making friends and trusting people, due to his self-preservation mind set, but is willing to help others should the need arise; though his ways of helping may seem unorthodox due to inexperience sometimes. At times he will try to give more "rational" explanations to bizarre goings-on in Perfection, only be met with stares of disbelief as his idea are just as or even more unbelievable. Although he is only the central character in Tremors 3 and the TV series, his eccentric personality has made him a favorite among Tremors fans and the de-facto star of the franchise, along with the vicious Graboids.
In Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell it was revealed that Burt was infected with a highly-aggressive parasite found inside of a Graboid when he was swallowed by a Graboid in Tremors 3. Due to its long incubation period, Burt did not present symptoms for nearly twenty years. Thanks to his son Travis and several scientists, including Valentine McKee's daughter, Burt was cured of his aliment.
Although very little is known about Burt's past, it is widely hinted that he was involved in the military, though the actual creators dispute about this. In the Tremors TV Series, Burt went to Teluca in an episode to uncover a government conspiracy for the townsfolk to prove it was a Graboid problem, rather than an alien conspiracy that the government won't let them visit the "mothership", according to Rosie (The diner co-owner next to Red). Burt proceeded to go on about how he was all too familiar with cover-ups, which would lead one to believe he was involved, again, in the military. It's possible he was in a secret branch, and witnessed something he didn't like.
What is known, however, is that during the cold war Burt settled in Perfection with his wife after checking several places that would fit their survivalist nature. He and Heather actually bought up the very land that Burt's great-grandfather had built his house on. This was all sometime before the Tremors movie series. It was later revealed in Tremors 4 that his ancestor Hiram Gummer, also played by Gross, settled in Rejection (Perfection's previous name), and married the local town-mistress. Stampede Entertainment's official website states that Hiram and his wife left in 1902 for San Francisco after a disagreement with Nevada bureaucrats over the date of the town's founding, and never returned. Hiram did leave Burt and his family with a large supply of silver bars which Burt has apparently been using to turn his home into a graboid proof fortress as well as acquiring weaponry which originally was for defense against the possibility of the Cold War heating up but now to fight against the Graboids. When Burt's house was destroyed in Tremors 3 it took out his weaponry stockpile as well as his stockpile of silver bars.
Burt has a strange affection with guns since middle-school, evidenced by him telling Desert Jack that he converted his BB gun to automatic by the eighth grade. One controversy is how he gets his weapons and ammo, despite all of his guns being legal (except a Sub Machine Gun he is seen to own), the bullets for the Grizzly Big Boar, and Barrett 82A1 .50 cal BMG are a topic that could be debated.
Born into the Gummer family, Burt's home life remains unknown. What his relationship with his parents was like was never spoken about.
Burt was a fan of guns, once going to a gun show in Florida in 1974. There, he met Jasmine Welker, who was burning her bra in the parking lot. The two of them got along and had sex that night. He left, never looking back; unknown to him, Burt had sired a child. The existence of this child would remain unknown to him for the next 40 years.
Burt eventually married Heather Gummer, and settled down in Perfection, Nevada due to the geographic isolation providing protection. Burt never had to hold a job, thanks the numerous bars of silver left behind by his ancestor Hiram. They built a house with a built-in gun range, with a huge collection of guns. He kept numerous spare magazines of ammo inn the drawers underneath the gun-racks. Burt liked living in Perfection as Chang's Market didn't have a price scanner that could build records of his purchases. He also became good friends with the handymen Valentine "Val" McKee and Earl Bassett. In 1990, he hired them to work on the linoleum at his house when they had time.
Burt is buying hollow-point bullets from Walter Chang, who ignores his complaints that they are hydro-shock hollow-points. Val and Earl come in, and Val tells them about how Earl explained how to think ahead; they also ask for Rhonda LeBeck about any strange vibrations in the ground. Burt immediately tenses up at the idea that the government will "imminent domain" him out of his home; Heather comforts him. Earl laughs at him, saying Burt will have a heart-attack before World War 3.
Val and Earl later return to Perfection, unknowingly bringing a Grabber on their tire axle. Examining the remains of the creature, Burt guesses that it could be a mutation of nature; however, he points out more than one of these had to be around to have killed Old Fred and his cattle. Burt starts relishing the danger, as the duo reveal that the creatures killed the road-workers and blocked the only road out of town. Once it's decided Val and Earl will try riding on horseback to Bixby, Burt and Heather head out to find Rhonda before she's killed by the creatures; they gift the duo with a better rifle and head off.
24 hours later, they return home, having failed to find Rhonda and annoyed that there is no sign of the creatures, not even droppings.They head to the basement and start re-filling their ammo. Burt calls Chang's Market on the radio, getting Val instead as Walter was killed by the creatures. Burt is informed that the monsters are coming from underground. One is drawn by the sound of their ammo refilling machine, and breaks into the room. Burt starts unloading ammo into the monster with Heather backing him up. Using an elephant gun, Burt blows a hole through it's head, claiming victory.
They head to the roof, building bombs as Val calls on the radio. The plan is for the Gummers to go for help, but the plan is made moot when the creatures start tearing the town apart from the below and eat the tires on their cars. To Burt's surprise, the CAT is driven up to his home and he boards with plenty of ammo. "Goddamn. Armored transport." However, he is left annoyed that his survival tactics didn't count on underground attacks.
The creatures later trap the CAT, forcing Burt to use bombs to scare them off. Upon trying to trick them into swallowing bombs, it only works once. The second causes the stockpile to explode once it spits the dynamite out. To Burt's surprise, Val manages to trick the last monster into head off a cliff. Burt later gives Val and Earl new tires for their truck.
Tremors 2: Aftershocks
Following the events of the Perfection Incursion of 1990, the creatures were named Graboids to honor Walter Chang, who chose the name. Burt and Heather got some fame for killing the one in their rec room, which was then mounted with other trophies. However, a year later, the Soviet Union dissolved and there was no imminent danger of a World War. Burt and Heather drifted apart, and she decided to leave him, taking the HK Mag.
Depressed, Burt watched war stories in his den. However, fate was kind to him; Earl called him to Mexico, where there were dozens of Graboids on the run. Burt instantly took the offer, and loaded up a truck full of tons of ammo and explosives, along with a powerful gun to add to his collection. Once at the oil refinery, he got a seismograph monitor and starting taking out Graboids. This even included a Graboid that ate the chain that Grady Hoover used as a lure. However, the readings soon stopped...
At night, Burt decided to return to HQ, but found himself surrounded by new monsters spawned from the Graboids. He emptied his handguns into the creatures and ran them over. At the end of the fight, he found one was stunned and tied it up in the truck. He returned to the refinery during the day, where he had Earl and Grady cage the creature for study. Burt learned that it saw heat and was deaf; it also spat out a new creature once it ate enough. However, the tables turned when they found out that one more of the monsters managed to sneak onto the truck and munched on the M.R.E.s Burt brought.
After hiding for a while, the team decided the best course of action was to lock the creatures in the garage. Unfortunately, there was sweet corn in there and they began to multiply like rabbits. Earl used a fire extinguisher to hide his body head and set a bomb, much to Burt's horror. He told them to run as far as possible as two and a half tons of explosives will leave a crater.
Once the explosion happened, the refinery was gone along with all the monsters. Burt decided to get his $50,000 per Graboid and head back to Perfection until another Graboid incursion occurred.
Tremors 3: Back to Perfection
In Argintina, a Graboid gave birth to what was now called Shriekers, which became a small army within a day. Using an anti-aircraft gun, Burt mowed them down and was rewarded with an ultrasonic watch.
Back in Perfection, the anti-graboid barrier had been installed at his house, preventing any underground attacks. Burt saw that Desert Jack's Graboid Tour had been set up during his time away. Unfortunately, new Graboids hatched and attacked. Nancy made the stupid move of calling the government, who proved what Burt had believed; they wanted to try capturing a Graboid for study, and were willing to kick everyone out of the valley for their safety. Forcing Jack Sawyer to work with him, Burt learned that Melvin Plugg was attempting to seal the valley for housing; this resulted in a graboid swallowing Burt whole. Using his walkie, Burt ordered Jack to drive through his driveway, killing the graboid. Jack used a chainsaw to free Burt from the graboid.
Unfortunately, the next day Shriekers were born and ate the government agents. A second graboid dubbed El Blanco, due to its sterility (e.i. it can't become Shriekers and thus is only a threat if it hears noise), constantly followed Burt, and trapped the team on boulders. The next day, Burt radioed Mindy to make a racket over the radio; she complied by playing rock music. This distracted El Blanco, allowing Burt to sent his truck off to distract him. When Burt, Miguel Sanchez, Jodi Chang, and Jack attempted to kill he Shriekers, Burt saw that the creatures mutated again, leaving husks behind. It turns out the creatures gained wings and could now glide by lighting farts. This resulted in Miguel's death. Jodi dubbed the creatures Ass Blasters.
Managing to get home, Burt was surprised an Ass Blaster was able to find them. Getting in his panic room, Burt revealed they can wait-out the creatures for years. However, it began melting the door. Realsing if it ate his food, an Ass Blaster blitzkrieg was awating them, Burt opened his escape hatch for the duo and placed some gasoline next to the door. Saying "trick or treat, you son of a bitch." Burt jumped into his escape route right as the gas exploded. His home blew up along with all his guns. However, much to his anger, Burt was radioed by Nancy, who told him Ass Blasters go into a coma after eating too much.
Forced to hide in the junkyard, the trio managed to build a potato gun and ignite three Ass Blasters. However, a fourth evaded the attack. At that moment, Burt realized El Blanco was attracted to his watch, tossing it on the Ass Blaster, and letting it get eaten.
The next day, much to his amusement, Burt toyed with Melvin by leaving him stranded away from his car on a rock. This forced him to wait out El Blanco, who Burt was toying with using a remote-controlled car.
Tremors: the Series
To get income, Burt started a survival school, and starred in videos of himself killed Graboids, Shreikers and Ass Blasters. He partnered with Tyler Reed, who took over Jack's business. W.D. Twitchell, liaison for the government often sent Burt to kill Graboids outside of Perfection to keep the species contained. Adding to the craziness was Mixmaster monsters created by a laboratory accident.
As El Blanco kept Melvin from developing the valley, Burt was forced to use concussion grenades to scare him off when rescuing tourists from attacks (as they were too stupid to read the warnings signs).
12 year gap
Burt continued to fight the Graboids, containing them to North America; he was forced to keep some alive due to them being an endangered species.
Tremors 5: Bloodlines
By this point, Burt had grown popular enough for his own TV: The Survivalist: starring Burt Gummer. He had also cut off all ties with the residents of Perfection, deciding that a solo life was best; as he was now in his late 50s Burt wanted peace. However, an Ass Blaster sighing in Africa lead Burt to meeting his long-lost son Travis Welker. The two become a duo hunting monsters around the world.
Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell
Burt now runs Chang's Market in the otherwise apparently abandoned and demolished Perfection. Though Burt claims to be managing the market, Travis claims that Jodi Chang, now working at a law firm, allows Burt to squat there. Burt is visited repeatedly by the IRS who levee tax leans and an eviction against Burt.
Burt is contacted by Valerie McKee, Val McKeee's daughter who alerts Burt to the presence of Graboids in the Arctic. Burt reluctantly agrees to go and takes Travis with him. In the Arctic, Burt, who has been displaying signs of illness, collapses. Burt is diagnosed as being infected with an extremely aggressive and hostile parasite from a Graboid. Burt realizes that he was infected by the Graboid that swallowed him during the Perfection Graboid Incursion of 2001. With the only cure being antibodies harvested from a live Graboid, Burt refuses due to the apparent impossibility and aids in the killing of two of the Graboids. With Burt's condition worsening, he is relegated to a hospital bed, but still manages to assist in harvesting the needed antibodies from a distance. Using the Graboid antibodies, Burt is cured of his illness and makes a recovery.
In the aftermath, a DARPA agent that Burt has been suspicious of grants Burt immunity to tax leans and the deed to his property. As Burt suspected all along, the man desires to use the captured Graboid as a weapon. However, Burt has one of the scientists fly an RC plane laden with a bomb into the Graboid's mouth, allowing Burt to kill it and deprive DARPA of their new weapon.
Throughout the movie, several references are made to the previous films of the series. Several characters note that Burt now wears a Cubs hat and questions if he changed teams, a reference to Burt wearing the same hat all the time through the movies. However, Burt insists that he has merely changed hats. When killing a Graboid, Burt exclaims "broke into the wrong goddamn hanger, didn't you, you bastard?!", a reference to his line after he and Heather killed a Graboid in their basement in the first movie. In another part, Burt discovers that they are completely cut-off and comments on how "that brings me back," a reference to the original film when the Graboids cut Perfection off completely from the rest of the world.
Reception among Tremors fans
Burt began as a very popular character after the first Tremors movie, garnering enough popularity to be one of the only two original cast-characters to make a return in the movie, and the only character to make an appearance in every Tremors movie, as well as the TV-Series. Although, Burt himself wasn't in Tremors 4, Hiram, his grandfather, was a toned-down version of Burt, so it could be assumed among fans that it's just Burt. The similarities are there, just the look and different name separate the two.
He was known as the de-facto star of the franchise after Tremors 2, officially.
Another little favorite is his paranoia of the government, and his seriousness always being used as humor. And his hats, which are in each of his appearances. All of them are "Atlanta Hawks" hats, which changes appearances each movie and in the show. That is until Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell where he switched out his Atlanta Hawks hat for a Chicago Cubs hat, which many of the characters point out. Burt's explanation was that he changed hats, not teams.
Abilities and Skills
Weaponize: He proven to know many weapons from guns to bombs. He even proven to make his own bombs.
Teaching Skills: He was able to teach his closest friends to make a bomb with out even showing through by speaking throughly. As he was successfully to do so as he was outside of his emergency bunker.
Monster Slayer and Giant Worm Mutation Expertise: He proven to be best of the best to kill monsters such as Graboids, Shriekers and Ass Blasters. He even faced new monster that was genetically created named 4-12 that his guns weren't able to fazed through the tough skin but he came up the idea to make a flamethrower to kill it. In Africa fighting new mutations of the evolutionary Graboids and Ass Blasters were more of challenge what he been dealing in his life from back home as he learn new things from these that he couldn't think it was possible.
Intelligence: He very intelligent, proven to be ready for anything as people fine him to be crazy though he already to be prepare such as he had back up for his back up generator. He gives great lectures to give safety tips to everyone but gets annoyed when they don't listen to him but he ended up to be right as always. Burt is always ready for plan as he might not think of idea but when someone tries to help him out to get idea he figures way how to make it happen for what ever situation he in.
- Jodi Chang takes Burt in stride and is even fond of him. She aided him in Tremors 3 in hunting Graboids and Assblasters and earned a measure of respect from him in the process. In Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell, Jodi is allowing Burt to squat in Chang's Market while she works at a law firm.
- Tyler Reed rolls with Burt's eccentricities and acts as his backup on Graboid hunts.
- Rosalita Sanchez simply finds his overkill and paranoia odd.
- W D Twitchell gives Burt missions that needs his expertise and puts up with his sarcasm for his job.
- Ex-hippy Nancy Sterngood butts heads with Burt on almost every issue; she pokes holes in his arguments and tries to make him see reason. But for Burt there's always been "a little too much Summer of Love in that woman." However, they are still good friends with both affirming it at one point on the TV series and Burt comforting her when she blamed herself for some deaths. At one point she tried to spice up his bunker in exchange for the damage done to it during a battle with Shriekers, but he was amused and annoyed instead of accepting. Had the series continued he would have had an online romance with her without knowing who he was E-mailing until later.
- Burt unknowingly has a son in Tremors 5: Bloodlines by the name of Travis B. Welker, whose middle name is 'Bertram', thanks to his mother. Despite initial shock,.Burt accepted his son's existence and began a new business of killing monsters around the world with him.
Burt has a penchant for spouting that memorable line of dialogue that crystallizes the moment:
- "Broke into the wrong god damn rec room, didn't you, ya bastard?!"
- —Burt after killing a Graboid that broke into his rec room[src]
- "I wouldn't give you a gun if it was World War III!"
- —Burt to Melvin Plugg
- "I feel I was denied critical, need-to-know information."
- —Burt Gummer[src]
- "(Angrily) I am completely OUT of ammo. (Calmly, as the realization sinks in) That's never happened to me before."
- —Burt Gummer[src]
- "What kind of supreme being could condone such irony?"
- —Burt after blowing up his house for what turns out to be no good reason
- "When the sun rises in Africa, you better be running."
- —Burt to Travis after suggesting his plan of running through a cow herd and quoting Dan Bravers
- "Bastard Van Wick! If I get out of here, I'm coming for you!"
- —Burt, yelling threats in a heat-exhausted daze
- "Why is it... need to know... information never reaches Burt Gummer!!?"
- —Burt, angry about the lack of Intel about the African Graboids
- "Broke into the wrong goddamn hanger, didn't you, ya bastard?!"
- —Burt after killing an Arctic Graboid, echoing what he said to the Graboid he killed in his basement
- "Hate to be a buzzkill!"
- —Burt about to kill a Graboid with an RC plane
- "Graboids don't make good pets, Mr. Cutts!"
- —Burt to a DARPA agent
- Has appeared on 60 minutes.
- One of his cars license plates reads UZI 4U. Another's is WRM N8R as seen on the tremors two poster, which, if read is, Uzi for you, and Worm-Nator.....The Uzi being a famous 9mm Israeli submachine-gun.
- The fact that his first name is Bertram is stated in the Tremors FAQ.
- The item that Burt covered up in Tremors 2 was a type of cannon shell that he was hoping to add to his collection.
- Prior to the Shriekers ambushing him in Tremors 2 Burt claims to have never run out of ammo.
- Burt has the highest number of confirmed Graboid kills by a single individual in the series.
- A running theme in Tremors 2 and 3 is that Burt will be completely prepared for the Graboids, only to be completely disarmed as a result of a previously unknown aspect of the Graboids biology:
- In Tremors 2, he arrives in Mexico with an army truck full of weapons and ammunition, only to subsequently exhaust it all fighting off the newly evolved Shriekers (save for his anti-tank gun).
- In Tremors 3, Burt's Graboid-proof home/bunker was completely defenseless against the new Ass Blasters. After he unnecessarily detonated it along with his amassed food stores and weapons (see below), he was stunned that after all his planning, he ended up as a refugee.
- Another running gag in the same two movies is that Burt's plans against the creatures would only end up aiding them:
- In Tremors 2, Burt lured a pack of Shriekers to a warehouse and trapped them inside, but moments later found out that it was filled with sweets for the Shriekers to eat and reproduce.
- In Tremors 3, after an Ass Blaster invaded his house, he detonated it, in order to destroy his food stores along with the creature and prevent the same from happening again; but shortly after Nancy informed him that eating too much would only make the Ass Blaster fall into a coma, and suggested that his food stores would be the best weapon against the creatures. This left him bemoaning the situation, asking "what kind of supreme being could condone such irony?".
- In Tremors 2, he was unable to understand Spanish, as he had to use a dictionary to translate the word "Dulces" (Sweets). By the time of Tremors 3, he had improved somewhat, as he was able to understand the Argentinian reporter's question and even partially responded in Spanish; although he actually used a mixture of English and a very deficient Spanish.
- Burt proves his knowledge of survival in Tremors 5, where he shows how to get a meal and how to survive while trapped in a cage in the African heat.
- Tremors (First appearance)
- Tremors 2: Aftershocks
- Tremors 3: Back to Perfection
- Tremors: The Series
- Tremors 5: Bloodlines