Macabre…ish Horror Review: Squirm
Squirm, 1976/ 93 min
Fly Creek has an electrical storm over night, knocking out power to the town and it bringing the worms to the surface when a live wire hits the ground. But these worms are changed by the electricity, they are super aggressive and they bite.
The damage and flood waters are causing people to change their behavior, like walking through woods and standing water, that they would not normally walk through.
Mick (Don Scardino) is a new comer to town and it’s off to a rocky start when he fines a worm in his drink but the locals think he planted it. He’s also in town to see Geri (Patricia Pearcy)who lives right next door to Willie, a worm farmer. Who lost a load of worms when Geri borrowed his truck, one hundred thousand worms are missing.
A local, Mr. Beardsley, is missing too and on his property a human skeleton is found, partly buried in mud. When Mick and Geri return with the sheriff, the skeleton is gone and he tells Mick to get out of town.
Later, they find a skeleton in the back of Willie’s (Carl Dagenhart) worm truck when they’re trying to figure out what is going on. They make a plan to go fishing and keep Roger (R. A. Dow), Willie’s son and farm hand, on the lake as long as possible. Mick get’s a nasty bite from one of the worms and goes back to shore and immediately goes back to Willie’s place to check it out.
With Mick gone, Roger puts the moves on Geri. And when she pushes him off, the worms attack him and immediately burrow into his face. They are fast and long and can’t be pulled out. He falls into the lake and runs into the woods.
Meanwhile, Mick finds out who’s skeleton is in Willie’s truck. And later, Willie is also found dead on the farm, his abdominal cavity is full of worms consuming the body and exposing the ribs. Once again, they search for Sheriff Reston to inform him, he’s uninterested and he’s more focussed on scaring Mick out of town.
Later at dinner, a huge tree falls on Geri’s family’s house, while they were in the dining room and a check of the hole shows a massive amount of worms. But they quickly vanish. Mick thinks he knows what’s going on and has an idea.
But while that is happening, Geri’s sister, Alma (Fran Higgins), takes a break from cleaning up the damage to shower but there’s still no water. But worms come out of the shower head and it doesn’t just fill the tub but the entire room.
And while, Mick is getting plywood, he’s attacked by Roger who’s face is now grotesquely deformed. He’s angry that Mick ‘stole’ Geri and throws him in a giant hole that fills with worms.
The worms are now out of control. Even entering the jail through the vents and filling up the jail with Sheriff Reston (Peter MacLean) and his date (Barbara Quinn) in one of the cells. They’re pouring into every building in town.
And Roger is lurking around Geri’s house like a monster. He enters the house through the backdoor, her out of touch mother leaves open, and he grabs Geri.
Mick makes his way back to the house by full dark and rivers of worms are pouring through it. Geri’s mother, Naomi, still sits in her chair, totally covered in worms. He searches the rest of the house for Geri and Alma, only to find the grotesque Roger holding Geri captive in the attic as the house’s entire first floor fills with worms.
After Roger falls into the river of worms during the fight, he still survives to go after Mick and bites him as he and Geri escape the house.
Geri and Mick are woken up, still high in a tree, by a man telling them the power is back on. And just like that, all the worms are gone.
This film was directed by Jeff Lieberman. It’s a nostalgic slow burn. It’s not bloody and only moderately gory but those moments are excellent! The physical effects that there are, are great! And the shear volume, the onslaught and sometimes rising tide and river of worms was impressive to say the least.