"El Blanco" (translated from Spanish: "The White One") is a Graboid that makes several appearances as a mainstay in the Tremors franchise. El Blanco is sterile, meaning that he is unable to produce Shriekers.
El Blanco is the only sterile Graboid seen in the series, and he is noted by his trademark Albinism, apparently resulting from being sterile. El Blanco is considered a protected species by the United States Government due to his sterility and usually cohabitates with the Perfection residents, though he sometimes attacks outsiders.
He is believed to be sterile; he was unable to produce Shriekers. The lifespan of El Blanco (and other sterile Graboids) is unknown, but the time between Tremors 3 (2001) and the TV series (2003) indicates at least two years, and possibly longer.
While El Blanco was initially believed to have a soft spot for Graboid hunter Burt Gummer, it was later discovered that this was only because of Burt's new watch (which utilized high pitched frequencies) attracted him. El Blanco has been sighted numerous times outside Burt's compound in Perfection without bothering to attack, and Gummer has also been known to play with the Graboid via a remote control truck with watches strapped to it.
El Blanco shares many traits with the normal colored Graboids, such as the unearthly patience, three snake-like tentacles, ability to hunt by sensing sound, and the aversion to running into a rock wall. However, one aspect he has that other Graboids don't (probably because of the unnatural length of his life span) is his ability to become "full" after grazing on a herd of wild burro or other creatures. This is evidenced by Burt saying "He found a herd of wild burro this morning. He should be mellow for a few days."
El Blanco is sometimes heard making Shrieker-like noises and this is explained by the production team that El Blanco has lived much longer than any previously known Graboid due to his inability to metamorphose into Shriekers. Even so, as he ages, he will logically begin making some of the Graboid sounds that lead up to metamorphose, even though El Blanco doesn’t actually metamorphose.
Has the normal abilities of any other Graboid, though is presumed to be quite smarter due to being the oldest known Graboid.
Intelligence: It is quite possible for him to be a fair bit smarter than the average Graboid, most likely caused by him living longer. As it was shown to be intelligent enough to save a few people from Perfection, through possible knowledge to attack his victims that were hurting him, such as Kinney. He is also guessed to be very perceptive and intuitive, based on the fact that he is unable to see prey, but his hearing might have helped him to figure out that the evil woman, named Delores, was trying to kill El Blanco, and was the villain for himself and others.
Strength: Its powerful snake-like tongues can hold human weight, with no sign of trouble, and his powerful jaws can kill Ass Blasters but weren't powerful enough for 4-12's tough skin, made out of rhino and other mutation in the DNA. He can even, just like all other average Graboids, can pull down vehicles under the dirt.
Speed and Agility: He is very fast, proven to be nearly as fast as a speeding truck, and he is able to make quick, precise turns at high speed.
Sense of Hearing: His hearing was proven to be powerful enough to figure who the villains were that were trying to harm him (i.e Kinney and Delores). He even managed to track Burt's ultrasonic watch in Tremors 3: Back To Perfection, and is able to hear and deduct noises that may harm him or the Perfectionites, such as the mutation bugs that were invading in Perfection.
Tremors: The Series
El Blanco is also notably one of the few Graboids that has ever actually survived a meeting with Burt Gummer. This is because El Blanco is an endangered species. Due to this, Perfection Valley is a protected habitat, and developer Melvin Plugg cannot build any land there. He once tried to solve this by stealing a machine that increases the hunger response so that Burt would kill El Blanco in self-defense. Burt accidentally destroyed the machine while trying to distract El Blanco, who attacked Chang's Market. The town later used El Blanco to their advantage during Ghost Dance by Jodi and Rosalita having him chase them and block the road so the National Guard couldn't get to town. As he had his tentacles across the road and was an endangered species, the National Guard couldn't go over him and were stuck until he left. As Burt said, this was unfortunate for them as El Blanco is extremely persistent and his actions gave the townspeople time to contain a major threat.
El Blanco actually saved Burt's life by eating an Ass Blaster that was carrying his watch. In the movie, El Blanco never managed to eat any humans, though he did corner real estate agent Melvin Plugg on a boulder at the end of the film. In the TV series, any villains that appeared ended up being either consumed by El Blanco or arrested. It also proved that, even when restrained, his tentacles were long enough to capture prey at certain distances. At one point Tyler Reed, Rosalita, and Larry fought off a group of gangsters-turned-poachers that were after El Blanco. During the fight, Larry managed to drive one backward and El Blanco killed her, sending out his tentacles even while restrained and eating her. In this instance, he probably saved the three's life and the other criminal ran away, was picked up and apparently killed. In the episode Graboid Rights, El Blanco was poisoned in order to 'prove' that the Perfectionites were harming him by being there. He was eventually uncovered and the antidote administered, making El Blanco the only Graboid to be poisoned and cured.
El Blanco seems to be Perfection's mascot as he attracts many tourists, in addition, the population doesn't seem to mind the creature lurking their ground often as they treat it as a daily routine. According to Jodi, El Blanco tunnels through Perfection about "once or twice a day." Along with this, the people of the town protect El Blanco from all threats from mobsters to scientists poisoning him to prove a point.
According to Tyler Reed in Graboid Rights, the townspeople protect El Blanco, often risking their lives to save him and sometimes it seems like he returns the favor, risking himself to protect them as well. This can be seen at times, even if it's unwitting on El Blanco's part, such as when he eats an Ass Blaster and saves Burt and when he eats Kinney and Delores when they were in conflict with and threatening the people of Perfection.
Post-Tremors: The Series
In Tremors 5: Bloodlines El Blanco's fate is unknown as he is unmentioned.
In Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell, Perfection appears to be deserted and demolished aside from Chang's Market. No mention is made of El Blanco or the other residents aside from Jodi who now works at a law firm. He is likely either dead or very old given that the movie takes place 14 years after he was born, and it is unclear how long sterile Graboids live at all.
The First El Blanco
While producing Tremors 2: Aftershocks Stampede and Universal also developed the first TV series that never made it to film, a Lost series of sorts. The premise was after their success in fighting the Graboids, Val and Earl would be sought out by the readers of tabloid newspapers, believers in UFO’s, etc. to battle other little-known creatures. The idea was, Val and Earl, discover there is one surviving Graboid, a unique albino (all white) creature. The willy worm was to appear off and on throughout the series (similar to El Blanco), tormenting the guys who are never quite able to catch it. Eventually, they develop a grudging respect for the beast, echoing the respect the residents of Perfection have for El Blanco. This version of El Blanco seems to be based on the Mongolian Death Worm, the believed inspiration for the Graboids.
- El Blanco translates to "The White One" in Spanish.
- He is a nod to Moby Dick by Herman Melville, an old, albino whale, whose behavior was unusual for his species. This is confirmed by Burt's comment when he first sees El Blanco, "Call me Ishmael", which is the first line in Melville's novel. However, in inverted parallelism to Moby Dick, which was an aggressive specimen of a naturally pacific species, El Blanco is a pacific specimen of a naturally aggressive species. Also, in the novel is Captain Ahab who pursues Moby Dick, while in this case is El Blanco which pursues Burt.
- His relationship with Burt is also inverted parallelism to Captain Hook from the Peter Pan stories, and the crocodile that continuously pursues him, while El Blanco pursues Burt following the sound of his watch, the crocodile pursues Captain Hook, who is warned of its presence due to the sound of the clock the crocodile previously ate.
- Due to the increased intelligence of Graboids, it is shown that save for circumstances beyond its control, El Blanco never actively tries to harm Burt or the residents of Perfection. Before Miguel's death he theorizes that El Blanco has been following Burt because in his words it has a thing for him. In other words a sense of affection for Burt. While it later turns out that the reason why it followed Burt in the beginning was because it was following the ultrasonic signal of his watch. Which was later used to sic El Blanco on one of the Ass-Blasters. However seeing as how with the exception of Melvin manipulating it, El Blanco only eats villains, it seems that El Blanco might have extended said affection to the entire town.