Friday, October 26, 2007

"Squirm"(1976)d/Jeff Lieberman

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In the mid-70's eco-horror was all the rage,cautionary tales of nature rising up against ignorant humanity flickered away on drive-in,theater, and television screens everywhere,much to the dismay of ignorant humans here on terra firma.Pollution was a major concern,causing all sorts of normally friendly beasts to cinematically bare their fangs and strike out in the name of ecological preservation,and hippies everywhere were glad of it.Hell,even the normally docile American Indian shed a boob tube tear in hopes that we'd stop haphazardly flipping our Orange Julius cups out the car window on the highway.Amidst this wave of eco-conscious filmfare,came director Jeff Liebman's 1976 creepy-crawly entry,"Squirm",warning ignorant fishermen that sometimes,with help from downed power lines in electrical storms,the worm indeed turns.
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"Notfahnuttin,you come near us with that bobber,you're gonna end up sleepin' wit the fishes!"
Cityslicker Mick(Don Scardino of "He Knows You're Alone" fame)heads to Fly Creek,a sleepy fishing community in Georgia that's being bombarded by the granddaddy of electrical storms,to hook up with a southern belle(Kim Basinger was turned down for the role,bet she regrets not having this little number on her resume,eh?)played by Patricia Pearcy(she's more of a gritty-looking outhouse queen than a belle,mind you).Unbeknownst to the local goobers,during the storm some power lines are felled by lightning,sending electricity into the soaked ground and enraging the populace of nightcrawlers therein to the point that they scream and bite hicks on sight.Mick becomes aware of the terrifying phenomena when he finds one of the ornery critters in his eggcream.Blech.
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Local worm-farming goober scooped clean like a pumpkin by aggro earthworms.News at eleven.
Before too long these slimy little beasties are enveloping every Buford in sight,even burrowing into the face of Geri's scorned backwoods suitor(R.A. Dow)in a memorable effects sequence,pre-dating The Fog's "Wormface" by three years!Mick discovers the worms' harsh opposition to light,though not their uncanny resemblance to mountains of uncooked tomato and spinach spaghetti as they tumble over each other towards each next unsuspecting grade school dropout/victim.The race to survival is on.Does Mick get his trailer park arm candy to safety before the gelatinous,screaming piles of worms,led by Roger the worm-faced redneck,turn the duo into macabre mouthfuls of savory supper for the segmented shrieking sentinels of southern hospitality gone horribly wrong?Rent or buy the MGM dvd to find out the nerve-wracking climax yourself!
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"Whur yew goin',citah boy!"
Lieberman followed this late night classic up with the equally entertaining redneck opus, "Just Before Dawn" six years later.You can't really go wrong with hideous pissed off worms,rednecks,and Don Scardino,who carved a slight B-movie career playing the "nice guy" in movies like this.Ted V. Mikels struck a fatal blow for humankind against the nasty crawlies the next year with his infamous musical,"The Worm Eaters",arguably one of the worst movies ever made.Give it a look!
Two out of four B.W.'S

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