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Following the success of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), there commenced a slow, steady release of low-budget films that attempted to do what Hitch pioneered — scare the crap out of folks with creatures that normally aren't considered all that frightening. There's Slugs, rabbits (in Night of the Lepus), Frogs, and bees (The Swarm, The Killer Bees). And perhaps the best of this sub-genre would be 1976's Squirm. Don Scardino stars as Mick, a city-dweller going to the small town of Fly Creek, Georgia, where he's supposed to stay with the Sanders family. His main reason for going, though, is his hope of getting close to redheaded Geri Sanders (Patricia Percy), who's also been flirting with the local handyman Roger Grimes (R. A. Dow). Unfortunately, the night before Mick visits a huge storm knocks an electrical pole loose, jolting the dirt and causing the local flatworm population to grow larger and more violent. But the only person who notices — at first — is Mick, and people like the town's sheriff (Peter MacLean) think he's just a city-boy starting trouble and making fun. That is, until the worms start taking over everywhere. Directed by Jeff Lieberman, Squirm was given a Mystery Science Theater 3000 spin at one point, and it's easy to see why it would fit — when the worms take over a house at the end they just look like painted spaghetti. That said, the characters are drawn a bit better than the stock "animal attack" archetypes (even the "bad" characters are given plausible motivations), while the acting's a bit better than usual and the direction is fairly sharp. That is… for a movie about killer worms. MGM presents Squirm in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) with monaural Dd 2.0 audio. Extras include a commentary by Lieberman (who says that the leads could have been Sylvester Stallone and Kim Basinger), the theatrical trailer, and a TV spot. Keep-case.

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