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The 100




Squirm
(1976)
Reviewed by Mike Brannon
Rating: 8 Beans

do not cry when I trod on a worm / I merely laugh and say / 'Oh, I got you today, dearie, / but your kind will pay me back one day.' So goes a poem by Dorothy Parker. It is, of course, a macabre reference to the cycle of life -- specifically, that worms will chow on us when we are in our coffins.

The worms of Fly Creek can't wait that long, however. That's the thrust of this stinkfest, known as 'Squirm:' worms eating people alive. Strangely, I was made aware of this movie in 79 (I was 6), when I was doing a monster movie activity book: the grisly page had a skull with intertwining worms coming out of the orifaces, to make a pencil maze. So long ago... (sigh)

The premise itself is preposterous (worms as monster villians? What next, Rabbits?! Oh yeah. Night of the Lepus *choke*), but the acting is really terrible. The hero of the story is a gawky nerd antique dealer named Mick (Don Scardino) who comes down South to visit his girlfriend Geri Sanders (Patricia Pearcy). And ah do declare! She turns in one of the most phony southern accents in movie history. A jilted dimwit, Roger (R.A. Dow) shuffles his stupid way through the movie featuring a Torgo-caliber pass at Pearcy.

So a bad storm whips an electric powerline into a baitshop, bathing a ton of nightcrawlers in voltage. You'd think that would kill them outright, but instead it makes them carnivorous killers (how can worms attack anyone if they have no eyes or sensory apparatus?) that terrorize the town. Roger gets partially consumed and becomes a worm-faced zombie(!) that continues to bumble and mumble around Fly Creek, not doing a whole lot for the plot. Mick and Geri finally hole up in the Sanderson house with Geri's mother and her patently annoying sister Alma (Fran Higgins) as the worms invade a la Night of the Living Dead. Following a clumsy altercation with Worm Boy Roger, the two lovers climb out onto a tree branch as the house is filled with worms, causing flashbacks to the Real Genius popcorn finale. What method of transport are these worms using?! They must have en-masse teleportation powers. I also doubt the fact a single bait shop held over 100 billion worms.

Our heroes are cornered, but not to worry. You see, they simply go to sleep, and the next morning: all the worms are gone! ALL of them. Huh?

Needless to say, if you are vermiphobic in any way, this movie will creep you out. However, the worm footage falls into three cheap categories: 1.) nature film footage of larvae and worms (including a recurring shot of a tiger moth larva exposing its mandibles) with a foleyed roar(!) 2.) scenes of earthworms scattered about clumsily, not moving, and obviously drying up and dying before your eyes. or 3.) ultra-cheap and cheesy fake worms that look like a truckload of rubber bands. They could have at least wet them to make them look somewhat real.

I was always told this was a horror movie "classic," but it is not, in any way. Its a dumb, cheap monster flick that is not scary in any respect. The acting is subpar, the script is nearly non-existant, the dialogue is laughable and the effects are not very special.

Perhaps the premise sabotaged the movie for me: I can appreciate Jaws because I believe a 25-foot Great White can kill me. But I can't conceive of a situation where even a truckload of worms could present me with any danger... unless they were Dune Sand Worms.


Other reviews for this movie:

Scott Murdock




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