Follow TV Tropes


Film / Squirm

Go To
Will the movie be half as exciting as this poster? We won't say; it'd spawl the zoo-prize.

Filmed in 1976, Squirm is the tale of a Love Triangle between: Geri, a small-town Georgia girl; Mick, the city boy who wants to "examine her antiques"; and Roger, the local boy who's dissatisfied with his lot in life. More importantly, it's about the gigantic swarm of electricity-maddened earthworms that seek to tear them apart...literally.

It was directed by Jeff Lieberman, who also did the backwoods slasher Just Before Dawn, drugsploitation flick Blue Sunshine, Satan's Little Helper and wrote the screenplay to The Neverending Story III Escape From Fantasia.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Squirm provides examples of:

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Alma is constantly making snide remarks to her older sister. Roger also gets his share of mean comments.
  • Anti-Climax: The power lines were repaired so the worms just kind of go away.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Needless to say electrocuting an earthworm will not turn it into a psychotic monster that tries to kill everything in its path. Also, unlike their cousins the bloodworms, they generally don't have teeth...or let out high-pitched screams.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: The squirming worms in question are called bloodworms, whose bite can be painful to humans. Their ranks also seem to include common earthworms as well.
  • Behind the Black: Geri walks down a hallway and right into the arms of the worm-faced Roger, who was standing the middle of the hallway, but just offscreen.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Roger was pretty unhinged before, but being infested with bitey worms that crawl under his skin seems to have driven him completely off his nut.
  • Chekhov's Gun: As Alma smokes pot, she accidentally falls inside the open chest which she was sitting on. When the wave of worms threaten to swallow her, she hides in there and reveals herself to be alive in the ending.
  • Creepy Child: The song used for the opening credits is slow, with minimal music.
    I can hear the dark/If I listen hard...
  • Deep South: VERY much so.
  • Dumb Muscle: Roger is clearly lacking in mental faculties, but he's just as plainly capable of snapping Mick in two on his knee.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Essentially the only way the worms or Roger could ever actually kill anyone.
  • Fish out of Water: Mick, a college boy from a big city visiting a Deep South town, which is mistrustful to strangers.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Mick breaks into a dentist's office to determine if the skull that he is holding really is Mr. Beardsley's.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Mick walking half a mile to the rice mill and carrying back plywood with his bare hands instead of just using the station wagon for transport.
    • Less dramatically, he expects to walk into a diner in the Deep South & be able to order a proper egg cream when there's no power, and thus no refrigeration. Of course, this also begs to question why the diner is even open in the first place. (Answer: Ice blocks, and where else do you expect folks to sit around all day gossiping?)
  • Improvised Umbrella: A man is briefly seen at the beginning of the film running through a thunderstorm using a newspaper as an umbrella.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Song in the opening.
    Watching in the garden/Waiting in the yard...
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Bloodworms (polychaete worms, genus Glycera) only burrow underwater or in the intertidal zones of beaches, not on dry land.
  • Modern Minstrelsy: This film contains some of the most egregiously stereotyped Southern accents committed to film. Compare the Sheriff's noticeable but subdued accent to how most other "Southern" characters have an exaggeratedly twangy drawl that sounds like a banjo learned to speak English. The Sheriff's actor is actually from Georgia (the movie's setting), while the bulk of the cast are native New Yorkers (or, in R.A. Dow's case, from Massachusetts).
  • Musical Spoiler: The end credits song plays on the radio when Geri first gets home with Mick.
  • Noisy Nature: Who knew worms could roar?
  • One-Word Title
  • Police Are Useless: The sheriff is immediately antagonistic towards city boy Mick, and while he humors him and Geri and follows them to the first body (which goes missing), he then refuses to lift a finger for anything after that, even when they barge in saying that they know who the first victim is and that they've found another (and also that Roger was injured and has gone missing).
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Besides his own experiences with worms, Lieberman cited as inspiration a widely-publicized incident from 1975 where the town of Floyds Knob, Indiana was invaded by millions of millipedes who were driven from their homes by drought. The millipedes were reported to be moving in such thick masses that they blocked traffic in the town's streets and driveways (unlike the worms in the movie though, they passed through without causing any serious damage or harm to humans).
  • Sanity Slippage: Geri's and Alma's mom isn't all there at the start of the picture, and she just keeps getting worse throughout.
  • Shirtless Scene: Mick takes off his shirt and uses it as a torch. Geri has a couple, also.
  • Shower Scene: Geri has one and attempts to have a second later, but the water doesn't come out.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Roger, convincingly and disturbingly so.
  • Suspiciously Stealthy Predator: Who would've thought that worms could be crafty enough to hide underground (despite it being electrified) any time the characters have a chance to burn or report them?
  • The Swarm: The worms in the climax are a sea of squirming and all-devouring little bodies.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When night comes and the worms invade the diner, a diner patron very blatantly grabs the girl next to him and hurls himself and her into the mass of worms.
  • Truth in Television: The train transformer story Roger tells actually happened to the film's director Jeff Leiberman and inspired the movie.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Now you're going to be the worm-face!"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's not clear if Naomi is alive at the end of the movie in the MST3K cut. The un-MST'd version shows that she was killed, when Mick finds a human-shaped figure in her chair covered in worms.
  • The Worm That Walks: Roger sort of becomes one as he gets more and more worms under his skin.

Whisp'ring in my keyhole:/"I know you're in there..."