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Squirm: Collector's Edition (1976) - Blu-ray Review

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Squirm: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review

2 stars

If one worm can’t kill you, maybe 100,000 could. Writer/director Jeff Lierberman’s Squirm takes a closer look at our fish bait and turns those harmless, wriggling little creatures into mean-spirited suckers with mutated mouth-parts capable of rending flesh from bone thanks to a healthy dose of electricity shot straight into the ground from downed power lines. No, it’s never explained how this happens and we don’t need it. The image of millions of worms suddenly coming up through pipes (or shower heads) and living room floorboards is frightening enough. The hilariously bad acting does the rest of the work in scaring the audience away.

That’s the landscape of Squirm, a harmless drive-in flick from 1976 that entertains at the same time it sucks the life from you, turning your brain into cotton to be plucked from dried bristles. This would be survivable if it was played for laughs. You won’t be able to tell, though. The acting is incredibly awful and the narrative, well, it just does nothing and, speaking as a fan of some really awful films, you are advised to stay away from this one. This is one film that should go down as how to NOT make a b-movie.

But first, some exposition…

"Late in the evening of September 29, 1975, a sudden electrical storm struck a rural sea coast area of Georgia. Power lines, felled by high winds, sent hundreds of thousands of volts surging into the muddy ground, cutting off all electricity to the small, secluded town of Fly Creek. During the period that followed the storm, the citizens of Fly Creek experienced what scientists believe to be one of the most bizarre freaks of nature ever recorded. This is the story…."

And with that opening line of garbage, Squirm starts crawling around the surface of Georgia, introducing us to its charmingly bad southern-accented cast. We start with a dim-witted worm farmer, Roger (R.A. Dow), who has a thing for Geri (Patricia Pearcy) and watches her as she dresses to meet her boyfriend from the city (who’d never dream of pissing in the woods). Knowing that Roger likes her, she asks to borrow his truck to meet up with her arriving beau. Being the nice yokel that he is, he acquiesces over a glass of water and warns her to be mindful of his “shipment” of worms.

Still with me? Because what you are missing are scenes of hilariously bad acting, humorous pseudo-Elizabethian-Mark-Twain-hybrid dialects and scenes of screaming worms. Yes, I said screaming. SCREAMING worms. Now, back to the bad acting…

A road block on the way to Fly Creek due to the impactful storm forces a bus to turn around but our hero, Mick (Don Scardino), decides to walk the rest of the way to his girlfriend’s house. He’s a “big city boy”, complete with a tennis racket that he “brains” all the passengers with on his way to the front of the bus, and can handle the trek. Of course, he has no idea where the hell he’s going or in what direction to go there either. The two are reunited in town and Mick meets Fly Creek’s sheriff (Peter MacLean), the sleaziest and only law enforcer.

More screaming worms. Except, in high-definition, you’ll spot some centipedes. Hey, at least they are real and not CGI. There’s the only praise I can hand over to this flick. I was hoping to laugh and, well, I just feel sorry for this cast and all those worms…

Even though I personally didn’t find much enjoyment out of Squirm, there is an audience for it. If you have a craving for some good old ’70s cheesy horror, then look no further, this is right up your ally!

Squirm: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
92 mins
Director
: Jeff Lieberman
Writer:
Jeff Lieberman
Cast:
Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
This was the night of the CRAWLING TERROR!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "If your daddy was alive he'd tan your fanny!"
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 30, 1976
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 28, 2014
Synopsis: Slightly tongue-in-cheek horror film about carnivorous worms brought to the surface by a fallen electrical wire that sends millions of volts of electricity into the ground near the vicinity of a sleepy fishing village in the US state of Georgia.

Squirm: Collector's Edition - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 28, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Lierberman’s film makes its high def debut courtesy of Scream Factory (who else?), who continues to do excellent work on forgotten horror titles that might otherwise languish in obscurity. The 1.85:1/1080p transfer is good for a movie that looks a little dingy and cheap, offering solid film-like grain, accurate color representation and little to no digital artifacting, though there are signs of the movie's age. The sound situation is also solid, the DTS-Master Audio making the most of the standard two-channel stereo presentation. The noises made by the worms—it can probably best be described as "screeching"—must be heard to be believed.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Writer/director Lieberman has recorded a full-length commentary for this Scream Factory release. He still likes his film but understands that it is, in fact, not a good movie. This commentary is more entertaining than the film itself.

Special Features:

Jeff Lieberman’s cult horror film Squirm comes to blu-ray from Shout! Factory’s horror label: Scream Factory. As for bonus features, we have a few ported over from a previous MGM release (trailers, TV spots) and two new items exclusive to this release. One features the filmmaker discussing the inspiration for this film, the other offers him and star Scardino looking back over ‘Squirm”s lasting legacy. Both are a trip and a whole lot of fun. Also, this set comes with a snazzy slipcover and reversible artwork for the case.

  • Digging In: The Making of Squirm (34 min)
  • Eureka! With Jeff Lieberman (7 min)
  • Trailer
  • TV/Radio Spots
  • Gallery

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