Squirm (1976)

Yeah, this movie sets the state of Georgia back to its Deliverance days.

A guy goes down to rural Georgia to spend time with a lady friend and her family. Unfortunately a storm just brought down power lines in the forest. Now those power lines are pumping electricity through the mud and freaking out a bunch of worms. Plus the sheriff don’t like cityfolk and the worm farming neighbor has a thing for the lady friend and also don’t take kindly to cityfolk. Ultimately the worms don’t like cityfolk either, but then they don’t like anyone except for that one worm farmer.

Yep, it’s a movie about killer worms. They climb through the mud, come out the pipes, and burrow into people. They only attack in the dark, but with the power out in town, that certainly isn’t much of a problem. Eventually they even knock down a tree to crush a house as well as eat pretty much the whole town. It’s implied that hardly anyone survives by the end, so don’t go getting invested in the townsfolk; they’re jerks anyway. This movie was supposed to be set in New England originally. Can they have it back? We actually do have hospitality down here.

Also there’s the curious case of the worm farmer who gets the slimmer critters to dig under his skin. For some reason, this makes him murderously crazy and makes the worms not want to eat him, so hey, worm powers. That’s…cool. He also slithers and crawls around a lot more, and he even tries to bite someone, so obviously worms in the brain have some kind of crazy effect. I’d feel bad for him, but he got kinda awkwardly wannabe rapey with the lady friend while fishing, so nope, no hard feelings.

Now you may be curious how worms might be a menace, but let me tell you, there aren’t just a couple of these little guys; there are millions. Seriously. The production would get them shipped in sets of 250,000 and did this numerous times. They filled whole rooms with the buggers, so much so that it looks like a writhing mass of a wall in some scenes. If you don’t like your creepy-crawlies, well, you probably won’t like this movie.

Apparently so many worms were shipped in from one region that it actually killed the market. I wonder how many other horror films can say they contributed to economic and potentially ecological devastation? That’s gotta be some kind of record.

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