Squirm (1976)

“Something is making the worms go crazy…”

Squirm Poster

Synopsis:
A city boy (Don Scardino) visiting his girlfriend (Patricia Pearcy) and her family (Jean Sullivan and Fran Higgins) in a backwoods Georgian town discovers that an electrical storm has triggered an onslaught of killer earthworms.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is far too generous in his assessment of this unintentionally campy low-budget horror flick, which he claims is “effective” and full of “fun characters” and “clever directorial touches”. In truth, despite writer-director Jeff Lieberman’s best efforts, Squirm — “as in Sqworm” — is poorly acted (everyone’s pacing is peculiarly off), sadly lacking in any genuine horror thrills (how scary can worms really be? gross, yes, but not scary), and resolutely unfunny (the scene in which Scardino discovers a worm in his egg cream is not, as Peary posits, witty). While a handful of other critics agree with Peary that Squirm is an inspired little film — Time Out‘s reviewer, for instance, argues that it’s “far better and more interesting than the obvious schlock appeal its plot would suggest” — I was relieved to discover I’m not alone in considering it to be an undeniably bad movie, worthy of spoofing (search YouTube and you’ll find the MST3K version available to watch in 10 minute segments). Throughout his Guide for the Film Fanatic, Peary seems to be trying to champion underdog, low-budget films like this one — particularly in the horror genre — but you’re better off skipping Squirm altogether.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A few mildly gross shots of wriggling worms en masse
    Squirm Worms

Must See?
No, unless you’re in the mood for a laughably bad “horror” flick — and in that case, I recommend the MST3K version instead.

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One Response to “Squirm (1976)”

  1. First viewing. This is one BIG, FAT CRAPOLA movie!

    I did watch the MST3K version, which is the only sensible way to go here because it is at least amusing that way. (“Mr. Beardsley!!!” 😉 ) A number of bad films riffed on by MST3K are still enjoyably bad all on their own: ‘Kitten With a Whip’, ‘Girls Town’, ‘Brute Man’, plenty others. No such luck with ‘Squirm’; through the Mike Nelson-hosted jokes, you can still tell it’s a hugely sucky flick. Normally it might have bothered me to be watching such an edited version of a film…but not in this case! The filmmakers somehow completely forgot that, when you’re making a B-movie as obvious as this one, it’s supposed to be watchable on some level. It’s thanks to MST3K *alone* that makes it so.

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