376) Squirm (1976) Dir: Jeff Lieberman Date Released: July 30, 1976 Date Seen: September 22, 2011 Rating: 2.25/5
This piece was also killed. This may seem like a trend. But, well, shut up.
Initially, you almost want Squirm to work in spite of itself. The creepy lullaby that the film begins with is surprisingly effective and the location that writer/director Jeff Lieberman’s killer worm flick is set in is equally spooky. The rest of the film—eh, not so much. Squirm has an all right set-up but Lieberman’s got none of the ideas or the skills needed to follow through on them. His film just looks cheap and stupid in the end, particularly when you’re watching a mass of rubber grub worms shrink back whenever fire is around. In other words, Squirm deserves the lambasting that Mike Nelson and his robots gave it on Mystery Science Theater 3000. But I kinda wish it hadn’t.
The set-up’s ridiculous but simple enough: a young Southern belle (Patricia Pearcy) and her non-threatening pen pal (Don Scardino) try to save the buckteeth town of Fly Creek from being overrun by man-eating worms. Yes, worms, the source of the town’s industry (for bait, see) have been electrified by fallen power lines and turned into, uh, evil monsters. Now they’re slowly clogging drains and burrowing under people’s skin and eating the flesh clean off their bones.
Sounds like stupid fun, right? Well, it would have been if Lieberman actually knew what he was doing. Never mind the fact that he’s working on a aglet-less shoestring-budget: Lieberman’s actors, dialogue and directing are for shit. The film takes a fatally stoopid turn when it finally tries to become a full-on southern gothic monster movie. Watching the deranged boy next door (R.A. Dow) get infested with worms and then try to kill the Southern belle’s beau is pure chintz. Oh well, at least the box art looks cool.