R.A. Dow and
American International Pictures
July 30, 1976
Natural horror was a subgenre that was starting to take off in the seventies but never actually spiked. It takes the realistic elements around us and exaggerates them. In Prophecy, a mutated bear is the antagonist. The filmmakers tied it into radiation and illegal dumping of industrial waste. It was mildly successful. These movies would try to play to a certain market. Usually making cuts to fit in with a PG to PG-13 rating. Kids could still go out and catch a few cheap frights.
A severe electrical storm brings down power lines in a small podunk town. However, this isn't just an everyday event. The immense power of the storm mixed with the electricity mutated and infuriated the insect community. Namely worms, millipedes, anything that is creepy and crawly. Mick (Don Scardino), a young man from New York City, comes out to the country to visit his yokel girlfriend Geri (Patricia Pearcy). Unfortunately, Geri lives right next door to the local worm farm. Yes. A worm farm. That's bad news because those ugly bugs are attacking!
The quality is exactly as expected. It's from the seventies and it didn't have the largest budget. It's fuzzy, muffled and poorly acted. The story isn't rocket science either. It's great if you don't really care to pay too much attention. However, it could come off as pretty boring for the younger crowd.
The horror has promise, but it's pretty elementary. It's an unfortunate product of those MPAA cuts. While there isn't any implicit gore or bloody scenes. There are scenes of slimy worms and close-ups of different insects screaming into the camera. It's bizarre but really off putting. It's also pretty scary to think of worms biting you. Gross. The scene with the worms eating a screaming Roger were pretty nasty. That might be due to the early genius of Rick Baker. But from there it just gets absurd.
The movie has it's quirks. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It wasn't the best movie, but it was good for the "natural horror" that it is. If you haven't seen it I wouldn't suggest that you seek it out. You're not missing anything with Squirm. It ranks right up there with Frogs, Prophecy and Piranha.