The penultimate experiment of the Sci-Fi Years. A Case of Spring Fever, Mikey the Mike Sprite, Tom plauged by Southern Belle-ness, Crow wearing HIGH heels. “JEDDDDD!!!”, “Jame Gumb rents this shack!”, “ISN’T SHE LOVELY?” Oozing atmosphere, Squirm (1976) needles you and it isn’t pretty. A fan of it, I once travelled to a screening in Pennsylvania and met Jeff Lieberman and he signed my Blus of Squirm, Blue Sunshine (1978), and Just Before Dawn (1981). While there, he hadn’t lost his irritation on Squirm landing on MST. He volunteered his dislike to anyone in earshot. I failed to add I was a fan. Didn’t seem to be the place. For once, I knew the pic before the jokes. Is Squirm too good for satire or should Jeff really just relax?
My favorite Season 10 experiment and one of my overall absolute favorite episodes.
I enjoyed Diabolik, but I’m slightly sorry that this wasn’t the last episode, because they went particularly strong here with the riffs. Then again, that would mean losing the host segments about Mikey the Mike Sprite, Servo’s Southern Belle-ness, and the delicious worm experiments. So… I dunno.
Anywho, this episode is so damn good. In the trio of leading characters, we get impossibly well-riffed characters. This movie gave them so much inspiration, and they knocked each and every softball lob into orbit.
And then you have Sheriff Brian Setzer and all the “Mister Beardsley?” stuff and people just casually carrying around a HUMAN FLIPPING SKULL.
And THEN you have everything dealing with the tree falling down (“Not the house cyst!” “There, there’s my salad fork…”).
We haven’t even gotten into the final short of the classic era, A Case of Spring Fever, which is so gleefully demented and riffed to perfection, thanks to the inspiration of its absolutely guano premise.
“So, Coily waited all eternity for this moment, and he backs down almost instantly?”
Haven’t watched this since it was on sci-f. But I recorded it on VHS in SLP mode, transfered it later to homemade DVD, archived it, then just pulled it out with all my other homemade/purchased MST dvds, which I made into ISOs on my pc. Saw this thread and checked for Squirm and sure enough, I have it! So it’s playing now for first time in over 20 years. Thanks @BruceLeePullen!
You’re welcome! Happy I helped! It is a darn funny episode and optiMSTie hits a bullseye with his read. Among Season 10’s breakout shows. Having a tie to Squirm (1976) ahead of encountering 1012, it is weird being intimately aware of material then leaping into the riffing. It’s harder to get close to it, but not impossible.
Knowledgeable of Squirm (1976) pre-experiment, a couple insights emerged while viewing 1012. Squirm is 93 minutes long. Was a short really necessary? As a family show, the messy bits, gross parts, and R-Rated touches had to go. The final reel of Squirm contains minutes of worms pooling and massing in the living room. That section is heavily shortened in the episode. Considerably. This and the random excised shocks across Squirm’s runtime likely left a hole A Case of Spring Fever (1940) fit into. Secondly the editing of Squirm for the television format bugged me conscious of Squirm as I was. The movie is truncated enough it bothered me. Again the necessity of the format and the program. Ordinarily this isn’t a consideration since I’m exposed to whatever it is via Mystery Science and then learn the movie. This was reversed on Squirm which is unsual. Only Squirm and Reptilicus (1961) have I gone into the riffing familiar with the film.
An okay episode. Not a favorite of mine, but not impossible to get through either. The worm-snacks segment is by far the best. We don’t see Mike as Mad in his own right very much. So it’s got that novelty factor.
Of course, the short is the perfect mate for the movie, given that springs and worms have a certain visual thing in common.
If we have a thread for whoever should’ve been the real hero of a bad movie, I unreservedly place Alma, the fashion-loving sister, in my Top 5. She’s got a great look, she can think on her platformed feet, and she comes closer to having a real personality than anyone else in the cast. I rarely watch Horror and I rarely get attached to the characters when I try to watch it. But I was genuinely relieved at the end when she outwitted the worms.
. . .this movie is not good, and makes utterly perplexing choices that really don’t benefit the movie at all, but make for a fevered, somewhat hilarious mess (I keep conflating this movie and Touch of Satan–maybe that’s happening at the same time in the next county over?) that captures the unique ugliness of the broke-ass South of the 1970s in a way that few would ever attempt.