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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Squirm (1976)




Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the world’s only killer earthworm movie, at least that I know of, the Jeff Lieberman directed “classic” Squirm. I could try and be cool like all the hipsters and act as if I enjoy this movie ironically, but damn it I love it! Let me attempt to tell you why you should as well.

Mick has made plans to come to the small town of Fly Creek to check out some antiques for his business. Though it is clear that he is really in town to check out the beautiful Geri, which is good for him since she is also interested. His visit coincides with a big storm that has knocked out electricity to Fly Creek and the surrounding areas. This is important since the downed power lines are dumping a huge electrical charge into the earth and that is driving the local population of worms to become homicidal! Killer worms that sneak up and kill you because of electricity… seems legit!

Of all the nature run amuck movies this is maybe the silliest and most memorable of them. Now let me warn you that if you sit down expecting something serious you are going to be disappointed. But then again who pops in a movie about killer worms and expects a serious horror flick? Don’t get me wrong this isn’t played for laughs and the cast is taking the proceedings seriously which just adds to the fun. But when you are dealing with such an absurd setup as killer worms slowly sneaking up on people to kill them without the victims noticing it is going to lead to laughs.

The movie is filled with a ton of funny situations as people suddenly look down and are shocked to see the floor covered with “deadly” threats. Others sit quietly and wait for their doom to arrive. Then again, we also find out that the worms are smart and plan attacks, like loosening the roots of a tree so that it will drop onto the dining room of a nearby house as the family is sitting down for supper! None of this is explained, nor do we find out why the characters are so willing to sit and watch the worms slowly close in on them. But honestly it doesn’t matter because while Squirm is absurdly goofy it is also very enjoyable.

Worms to the face!
I suppose if you really hate worms then this one might get under your skin a bit. I say that because they use a lot of real worms. I think they had a few hundred pounds of them on set. There is even a story that they bought so many that there was a shortage of worms for fishing season in the area that they shot the movie. Other than a face getting partially eaten and a couple bodies seen after the fact we don’t get much else in the way of special effects and gore. That said for a cheesy seventies drive-in movie I’m totally okay with that. The movie promises killer worms and by God delivers them!

Squirm isn’t the greatest movie ever made. But director Jeff Lieberman takes what he had and gives the audience an enjoyable way to kill ninety or so minutes. Not everything has to be art and sometimes movies can just entertain. I’ve always been entertained by Squirm and recommend it whenever I can.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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