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Movie Name: Squirm
Studio: American International Pictures
Release Date(s): July 30, 1976
MPAA Rating: R
A strong storm hits the small Georgia town of Fly Creek and brings down high voltage power lines. When a New Yorker named Mick (Don Scardino) comes to visit his girlfriend Geri Sanders (Patricia Pearcy) and meet her sister Alma (Fran Higgins) and mother Naomi (Jean Sullivan), he is immediately hated by the local sheriff Jim Reston (Peter MacLean) and Geri’s crush Roger Grimes (R.A. Dow). When strange deaths begin occurring, and Roger appears to be attacked by strangely aggressive worms, the danger appears greater than it originally appeared. The worms are massing and they are dangerous.
Directed by Jeff Lieberman, Squirm was one of the FX master Rick Baker’s earlier films. It was featured in the second to last episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K #1112).
Squirm is a ’70s classic. It has everything you’d expect from a ’70s horror film. It features a revolt of nature in classic Jaws style (or perhaps more like Day of the Animals or The Swarm) where even innocent creatures can become deadly. The worms just pile up and literally pour into the movie in piles. It is completely ridiculous since the worms aren’t even supernatural, mutated, or anything. They are just massing due to the electricity and they can disappear in an instant.
Rick Baker’s effects on “Worm-Face” Roger Grimes is quite good. The worms burrow into his face and really get under his skin. It makes absolutely no sense and why he becomes almost a supernatural villain is quite unclear (he’s mostly apparently immune to the worms since everyone else runs in fear from them). At least Worm-Face is fun…everyone else is pretty unlikeable in the film.
The movie doesn’t seem to have much redeeming values but it is good for a few laughs. Even with some laughs, you could probably find a more amusing horror film. The movie is quite slow through the middle and even the “dramatic” ending is quite tame…I do always love the ironic close that all these movies seem to have.
Squirm isn’t a great movie, but it is a great example of When-Animals-Attack and Nature Rebels movies from the period. Killer bees, killer ants, and killer frogs all got their time in the ’70s and it only make sense that worms got their time too. If you want a fun, goofy story (with few scares and some nudity) check out Squirm.