June 14, 2015

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Squirm

MST3K has a special place in both our hearts, it's kind of hard to believe we've never mentioned them here. But, when discussing movies to write up for the eco-horror theme Squirm came up and I just can't imagine watching it without the MST3K guys riffing over top of it.

The episode: This is a "Syfy" channel episode so it features Mike and new Crow with some Pearl, Bobo, and Brain Guy stuff bookending the episode (we always skim past those parts, shameful I know, we just don't have the love for them like we do Dr. Forester and TV's Frank). This episode also features our favorite short, Spring Fever. 

Spring Fever: This black & white short stars a doughy man we meet while he's fixing a couch in his living room. We hear his wife on the phone telling his friends that he won't be coming out to play”  because he needs to finish his chores. This is about the time he wishes he'd never see another spring as long as he lives, evoking the spring sprite Coily who promptly grants his wish. Two mins of life without springs is all doughboy needs to be convinced he was terribly wrong, and Coily agrees to set things right once again. This should be the end, but the sort continues for a good 5 mins more with doughboy boring his friends to near death with stories about how springs make the world go round while they play golf, drive back to the city from golfing, and stand in a driveway talking about golf scores. There isn't a flat joke from the MST3K crew in the whole bit, and it's well worth worth tracking down this episode if for nothing else.

The plot of Squirm unfolds something like this: The sleepy low-country town of wherever is about to know the amazing power of electricity. A downed power line near the local worm farm has flooded the ground with electricity, causing the worms on the farm to mutate. The town's teens are on the case, but the local sheriff won't listen to a word they say. Will they get through to him before the whole town is eaten by worms?

Yes eaten by worms: The monsters in this movie are giant earthworms played by centipedes with slimy cables stunt worms.

Reasons to watch: The ultimate illustration of local sheriff ignores local teens trope. Each accent that comes out of an actor's mouth is more amazing than the next (if your definition of amazing borderlines offensive). Some seriously impressive piles of worms (and by the end, impressive piles of baby-oiled cables being writhed by some slippery key grips...). The nightmare ending as abruptly as it begins, and we do mean abruptly. There's a few fantastic scenes with the spaced-out southern-hospitality-oozing mom. And finally, worms pushing a tree over onto a house.

Reasons to watch the MST3K version: Likely some epically boring scenes have been removed to fit the time slot, making this version more of a highlight reel. There's a hilarious takedown of the “shout someone's name over and over and over while searching for them” gag. The jokes are on point the whole episode through. If you haven't given the Si-Fi episodes of MST3K a chance, this is a pretty good place to start!

What we learned: If you're ever being attacked by giant earthworms, climb a tree and wait for day break. You're regional power company employee will surely be round to save the day!

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