Squirm (1976)

With Blue SunshineJust Before Dawn and Remote Control, Jeff Lieberman has proven himself a reliable creator of horror that doesn’t fit into any neat box. Speaking of not being neat, this entire movie will upset any clean freak, as it deals with worms that climb up from the dirt to destroy human beings. Lieberman was inspired to make this movie thanks to a childhood event involving the ground being electrocuted and worms coming out.

September 29, 1975. Fly Creek, Georgia. A transformer knocks into the ground and the worms are turned evil by 300,000 volts of electricity, including a shipment of 100,000 bloodworms and sandworms.  escape the truck. That’s when we meet our hero Mick (Don Scardino, CruisingHe Knows You’re Alone), just as he finds one of those worms in his egg cream — a cold beverage consisting of milk, carbonated water and flavored syrup, as a substitute for an ice cream float. Despite the name, the drink contains neither eggs nor cream.

(Thanks to reader MH for pointing out this typo.)

At least he has an attractive girlfriend named Geri, played by Patricia Pearcy from Cockfighter, who believes him when all the local yokels make fun of our man Mick. Before long, those worms are doing more than just pranks — they’re eating people, dropping trees on them and even crawling into someone’s face to possess them. Rick Baker used prosthetic makeup for the first time in his career on this film.

This movie used so many sea worms — ordering a quarter-million at a time — that they wiped out New England’s supply of Glycera fishing worms for the rest of the year. And if everyone looks freaked out when the tree crashes into the room while everyone is eating dinner, that’s because Lieberman actually launched a real tree through the window from a crane and as everyone runs, they really believed that they were running for their lives.

Think people love this movie? Pittsburgh musician Weird Paul made the album Worm in My Egg Cream all about the worm in my egg cream scene, with all sixteen songs titled “Worm in My Egg Cream.”

You watch this movie for free on Tubi.

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