Squirm (1976)
By: J.R. McNamara on December 2, 2011  | 
MGM (USA) | Region1, NTSC | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 mono | 93 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring: Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow, Peter MacClean
Screenplay: Jeff Lieberman
Country: USA
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When it comes to giant monster versus swarming monster films, I have to say my vote lies with the swarm monster. Sure, the idea of a beast that can swallow you in two bites is scary, but to me the idea of having hundreds of little bastards overrun me and burrow into every crack and crevice of my body sends a shiver down my spine normally reserved for the idea of eating vegetables, or getting into a 'who would win in a fight between the Thing and the Hulk' conversation with a nerd.

Written and directed by Jeff Leiberman, the guy who gave us Blue Sunshine, Just Before Dawn and Remote Control (a film I totally dig due to a teenhood spent working in a video store) and starring Don Scardino (He Knows You're Alone), Patricia Pearcy (The Cockfighter) and Peter MacClean (who has one of those faces that you have seen in heaps of TV shows, such as Wonder Woman and Charlie's Angels), Squirm is one of those films. Interestingly, Leiberman claims in the commentary that three of the lead roles could have been played by Kim Basinger, Martin Sheen and Sylvester Stallone. I wonder if this film would still be able to claim the mainstream obscurity it enjoys if any or all of them had been involved? 

Squirm tells of the events that once happened in the small town of Fly Creek when some power lines came down. Now that might sound like some boring story an old timer may tell you in a pub for a free schooner, but in this town, something odd happened. You see, in this town, when the powerlines hit the earth, they caused the local worms… yep, WORMS… to go ape-shit and start feasting on the locals. The cornerstone of the story is a tale of a big city antiques buyer named Mick (Don Scardino) who is visiting his potential girlfriend, Geri (Patricia Pearcy) so the pair of them can look at a locals collection of old stuff that Mick could then take home and sell for more money. Soon they get caught up in the attack of the earthworms, that along with consuming human flesh like dirt-munching piranhas can also climb into a man's brain and turn him into a delusional pseudo-Superman, like they do with one of Geri's other potential suitors, son of a worm-farmer, Roger (R. A. Dow). Will the pair survive? Will you be able to stay awake to the end?

Only time will tell… (which is about 1 hour and 33 minutes) 

This feels more like a flat-chested version of some of Meyer's rural dramas rather than a proper horror movie, and because of the lack of boobs, which titillate and are perhaps the real reason why some of us enjoy Russ' work, it plods along at a deliberate pace which feels like a bad after-school special at times.

Once the worms come onscreen though, you are given a treat, because the worms used are something called a glycera dibranchiate, and these are some ugly fuckers, and with the addition of synthesised pig screams, you might think twice about that next mouthful of spaghetti!!
It's a decent picture, presented in 1.85:1. It does on occasion have a little pixilation, but those moments are few and far between and barely worth mentioning.
The audio is presented in mono, but it is a clear presentation, so it's not too bad.
Extra Features
This disc has a little package of extras, whose highlight is the director's commentary by Jeff Leiberman where he covers every possible aspect of this film! He describes all the influences he had in making this film, from Nancy Drew Mysteries to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

The only other extras on this disc are the theatrical trailer and a TV spot.
The Verdict
Squirm is a fun 'swarm' animal movie that is both silly and entertaining; actually, a single word to describe this film would be 'quaint'. It's not brilliant by any means, but it is a mildly fun distraction.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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