© 1976 American International Pictures (AIP)

Squirm (1976)

The story arc of creature features is usually the same, be the adversaries killer bees, giant bunnies or rabid shrews, so it is really the human players and how they characterized that can make the film interesting or not. In Squirm we have killer worms, and although there seems to be the potential for some interesting human character, they quickly fall into stereotypes, and hard. Mick is a city slicker from New York who has come by bus to the small backwater of Fly Creek, Georgia to catch up with a girl he meet at an antique fair. There was a killer storm the night before he arrives, knocking out power to the entire town and drawing carnivorous worms up to the surface. The local sheriff takes an immediate dislike to the boy from the big city. (“I got a big plate of spaghetti here, boy. It may take me 10 or 15 minutes to finish it, and that is more of a headstart than you deserve, boy,” he says while stuffing he face with the wiggly pasta.) The girlfriend and her mother and sister all speak in outrageous Southern accents. The local antique dealer is eaten by worms, and the stoner sister of Mick’s girlfriend helps him do some detective work. “Far out! Just like in New York!” she says as he climbs through the window of the local dentist to compare dental records to a skull they have found. The mentally-challenged farm hand from the worm farm next door come between the couple, before getting his face bored into by ravenous creepy crawlies in a gross out scene that is one of the first special effects credits for Rick Baker.

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