Squirm (1976)

squirm poster 1976 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Great piles of worms, fun and schlocky ’70s

Cheesy story, bad acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Squirm

Studio:  American International Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 30, 1976

MPAA Rating:  R

squirm earthworms eat man

Yep…I’m afraid you got worms. You’re going to have to take a pill for that

A strong storm hits the small Georgia town of Fly Creek and brings down high voltage power lines which does something to the earthworms into the ground.  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).  Strange deaths begin occurring, and Roger appears to be attacked by strangely aggressive worms.  The danger appears greater than it originally appeared and the worms are massing and growing stronger.

Directed by Jeff Lieberman, Squirm is an eco-horror horror movie.  It is noted as one of special effects creator Rick Baker’s earlier films and received negative reviews.  It was featured in the second to last episode of the original run of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K #1112).

squirm roger wrom face r a dow

Everyone hates me and I can’t even fish right

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.  With spaghetti like worms pouring out of everywhere, it is a goopy, goofy mess.  Squirm is pure schlock fun.

The story takes a while to set-up but evolves like a normal eco-horror film.  The outsider (aka Mick) is seen as an interloper and dangerous while only he understands the horror that is growing.  The worms just pile up and literally pour into the movie in piles at the climax.  It is completely ridiculous since the worms aren’t even supernatural, mutated, or anything (they are “bitey” I guess).  They just mass due to the electricity, and they can disappear in an instant despite being millions of them.

The cast is rather bland.  Don Scardino is an unusual leading man and Patricia Pearcy also isn’t the normal casting for a movie genre that generally picks jocks and blondes.  I kind of like Geri’s sister Alma played by Fran Higgins, but in general, no one in the film comes off as particularly likeable.

squirm earthworm face ra dow

“You’re worm-food!” never caught on as a slasher catchphrase

The movie used a combination of rubber worms and Maine sandworms, but the highlight of the movie is the villain.  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 even if he doesn’t make much sense.

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.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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