1012. Squirm (1976)

I saw this, on more than one occasion, unriffed in the old HBO days. There is a LOT cut from the original. But when I saw it in MST3K fashion, I was elated. But also miffed that they cut the end!

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Everyone celebrated the Bicentennial in their own way. :person_shrugging:

Who am I to judge?

Shoulda’ been some actual antiques onscreen though. :wink: Given how pivotal they were to the plot.

It also occurs to me now that the pen pal “romance” in this flick is still up to 75% less a carnage-bedecked trainwreck than any of the ones I attempted around that same age. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yeah. The movie is edited down noticeably and almost excessively. If you know the film. Like you, I’ve seen Squirm (1976) before and I had a working knowledge of it. It actually uncut is a fairly great film. One of the best MST has riffed. By them shortening it, they actually made it worse. I’m fine with noting how bad a film is but when your process amplifies the bad rather than showcasing it? You notice. Or at least I did. Some plot and character development was excised and many worm shots which I get but by doing so it leaves the film more barren than it actually is.

Note: Loving A Case of Spring Fever (1940), it is a MST standard and I’m glad they got to it. On the flip side. Had they spent that time on Squirm instead maybe the film would be better represented.

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Most likely the first MST movie that I saw before the episode, as I remember it being featured on Morgus the Magnificent in the early 90s.

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Mine too. This was in wider circulation than many MST finds. It was a staple back in the day and had a cult following long before MST profiled it.

On watching Squirm (1976) by itself? I would. It is a far different picture intact than what is on the show. I’ve struggled and toiled on a Top 500 List of the Best Films Ever. One of the criteria is flawless construction and soaring above the material and type. I’m not a horror fan. I enjoy great horror but much less and I tune out. Squirm in its entirety qualifies for me. It’s Tennessee Williams Meets The Bayou. While a genre film, complete you feel the sadness of the mother and the melodrama of the style and it fits easily with the worms which is fully explained in the 93 minute version. I’ve seen it several times and found it a revelation. If watched as it was in 76 and with an open mind. Enough so when I return to monster movies on the list, it may be included. A first for a MST subject. At least for me.

Sorry if I wasn’t clear. The episode itself isn’t as well known while the movie is a staple in monster movie circles. I attended the inauguaral When Animals Attack Weekend at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater in 2017 and Squirm opened the second night with Lieberman in attendance. The crowd was a couple hundred and they cheered when Lieberman said a few words. An hour later when SQUIRM appeared on the screen, you could hear applause all around. The film is respected and has an audience. There’s a reason Scream Factory put out a Special Edition reserved for the most beloved titles. It is a stellar monster flick with its own vibe. Again if seen altogether not chopped up and gutted. What MST fans see and what actually is there? Night and day. As a whole, Squirm works. And better then the MST version.

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I’ve no doubt you’re right, but I generally avoid R rated levels of content as a personal choice. Squirm doesn’t interest me not due to its artistic merit but because I am not interested in seeing the type of material that was cut out for the MST3k cut. To each their own, and I’m glad you find so much enjoyment and satisfaction with the film itself.

In a similar vein (possibly?) I kind of unironically like Time Chasers. It’s a decent plot mostly hampered by its budget, but considering what Giancola did with what he had, and he was, what, 19yrs old at the time? I honestly kinda dig it. And I’ve shown that episode to friends and have even had them get wrapped up in the plot and be curious to see what happens next.

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It truly depends on the individual. While looking at craft altogether, you see things independent of taste. Performances, mood, interconnection, complexity. And from one film fan to another, Squirm (1976) is a different animal than what appeared on the show. I too am not into gore or anything excessive for excessive sake. Though if it works and it becomes more than the parts? That’s something. And Squirm to me is a slice of 70s unease twinged with Southern Gothic spice.

As my friend Matthew says, “90 minutes heals all.” What he means is when it’s shorter certain things flow. Hot and Heavy makes sense in a shorter film. First Blood (1982), Death Wish (1974), Rolling Thunder (1977). Longer work lingers. Any excess wears out its welcome. Abiding you’re into it in the first place.

Oh I certainly agree with that. Shorter run times can work wonders. Longer run times rarely earn the minutes they take.

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Unless you’re Stanley Kubrick.

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And Kurosawa. But I would say a whole lot of directors benefit from shorter run times.

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While educational shorts where a person is lectured to by an imaginary entity are a dime a dozen, usually the subject is a child. As well as featuring an adult in such a position, A Case of Spring Fever employed the trope of a person making a rash wish and a supernatural entity granting it to show the dire consequences six years before It’s a Wonderful Life. In this case, a malicious sprite named Coily erases springs from existence. Once the shmuck recants his wish, he then goes about yammering about the wonders of springs to his golf buddies. It’s a wonder he didn’t get beaned with his own driver and dropped into a water hazard, weighed down with his own clubs. The fact that he kept talking while one of them was attempting a shot alone would have justified it.

The feature is one of those nature bites back movies that proliferated during the 1970s. In this case, a power line falling on a worm farm causes them to become aggressive flesh-eaters. As it was shot in Georgia, this means we get treated to some of the more obnoxious Southerner stereotypes. This is possibly meant to distract from how Yankee protagonist Mick (who bears a strong resemblance to Doctor Who companion Turlough) is a condescending jackass. Personally, I found the half-wit worm farmer more appealing, and he’s an obvious knock-off of Jack Elam’s character from The Girl in Lovers Lane.

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What was really missing here was the (official) antagonist repeatedly calling his rival “Hotshot.”

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Or “Dude.”

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I don’t like the worms new voice!!!

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The endless Mr. Beardsley callbacks. I hear Bill to this day. “MR. BEARDSLEY!!!”

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I remember watching it for the first time on the Elvira show back in the early 80s!

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The Elvira version kept the gore in the movie. I remember the scene with the worms eating into that guy’s face.

Ok Bruce, since you’re a fan of “Squirm”…lets hear you sing the song at the open of the movie! :laughing:

Like Joel…I paid money for “Laserblast” as a kid! :stuck_out_tongue: I liked it then…but…many years later saw MST’s version and realized, “Yeah, its crap!” :laughing:

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“I CAN HEAR THE DARK!!! IF I LISTEN HARD!!! WATCHING PEOPLE GARDEN!!! WAITING IN THE YARD!!! I CAN FEEL THE DARK!!! COMING UP THE STAIRS!!! WHISPERING IN MY KEYHOLE!!! I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE!!!”

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