The Film: Squirm (1976)

Buy it from CHUD here!!!!

The Principles: Jeff Lieberman (Director), Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow

The Premise: Electricity turns fish bait into a group of organized, screaming skin devouring monsters hell bent on devouring anyone with an IQ larger than their shoe size, and bonding with those less fortunate.

Is It Good: No!  Absolutely not!  What the hell was I thinking?  In terms of a train wreck binge drinking get together where there is absolutely nothing more interesting than flesh eating stationary spaghetti, it can definitely entertain, but only with a fast forward button.

When we first started discussing topics for the month of horror, one of the first topics mentioned was the typical when animals attack sub genre.  This genre is extremely diverse ranging from killer bees and spiders to sharks and bears.  I wanted to cover something other than the typical shark movie (I recently did the just average Bait 3-D) so I remembered fond memories of this scaring me as a child.

Worms.  Worms that eat people.  Worms were everywhere growing up and while most kids my age were reading How to Eat Fried Worms, I was much more interest in how electrically fried worms ate people.  My parents weren’t.  It wasn’t until we had a VHS player and I was almost 10 years old did I get to see this.  The build up of 5 years of wanting to see something this scary had paid off at the time.  It seemed as though there was a decent amount of scariness dealing with worms that could eat your flesh, leave your skeleton and then scream with hunger.

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When I decided to watch this at almost 40 years old, and be able to write about it to a lot of horror fans, I made a grave mistake.  I have nothing good to say.  Don’t watch this for nostalgia sake.  Don’t watch this to play a drinking game to, because I guarantee you there are better bad movies to do it with.  In fact, don’t make the mistake I made. Don’t watch this.

Is It Worth A Look: Not in this lifetime, at least not after the 80s (yep, I am going there) made horror step up it’s game.  Even if you didn’t like a single 80s horror film, most of them were marginally better than this.

The acting is bad.  Only the two leads and the mother had any type of theatrical career, and Don Scardino has spent most of his time on the other side of the camera.   Patricia Pearcy gets a pass as she reminded me of a red headed Kate Mara, and therefore was eye candy.   The hillbilly worm farmer named Roger was either so bad at being a hillbilly that he ran his lines together or was so good of an actor that he appeared mentally handicapped.  Either way, I was fooled into thinking his character was supposed to actually say comprehensible lines.  Practically everybody else (except the mother) appeared to have no more background in acting than they may have acted in a high school play.

The plot is also ridiculous.  Not only do the worms scream, but they get organized by the end of the film.  They also reproduce and move faster than twilight tweens, and scream while they do so.  They use mass numbers to flood a jail (where the Sheriff was getting down and dirty), the bottom level of the main house and even an entire restaurant.  There were so many worms that they stopped using worms and actually used spaghetti.  I can just imagine a special effects guy telling a PA that he he needs to grab a shovel and push the spaghetti this way.  That way it looks like it squirms.

I’m going to ruin the ending now, so if you are worried about spoilers in a 36 year old disgrace of a film, turn away.  In fact, if you are worried about spoilers in this film, go watch the movie, it was made for people like you.  The mentally challenged hillbilly gets attacked by a special breed of face infesting worms about 40 minutes into the film, but these special worms don’t kill him.  It is unexplained as to what physical change they made in him, but he inexplicably falls into a pool of spaghetti worms and drowns only to be the sole victim to return from the spaghetti.  When he returns he looks like a cross between a zombie and the his former worm king, and attempts to eat the leg of our lead male actor.  This is not explained, nor is the mass disappearance of all the spaghetti (where did that many worms go to hide, let alone where did they come from) as well as the disappearance of the zombie/worm guy.

Random Anecdotes:

The VHS version was rated PG, but the 2003 DVD release was rated R.

It was the next to last film on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Cinematic Soulmates: Creepshow, Wrong Turn, The Blob